Sunday, July 31, 2011

An American Low Down On Murdoch's Crumbling Edifice

Rupert Murdoch's "humble" moment at the DCMS select committee hearing earlier this month ( expansively spreading his hands along the table like a nervous novice trying to learn stride piano in a New Orleans bar) only served to shine an unflattering & unforgiving light upon his rotten empire. The New Yorker magazine takes a look at the phone-hacking scandal, setting out the context & background for a US readership ( ).
Anthony Lane's piece goes through instances where Murdoch's papers lied, deceived & manufactured stories to boost circulation figures. Lane doesn't mention Hillsborough when describing Kelvin MacKenzie, but nonetheless pens a damning portrait: "When it comes to ethical discrimination, MacKenzie makes [Piers] Morgan look like Ronald Dworkin. Students of of the period should consult 'Stick It Up Your Punter!,' by Peter Chippindale and Chris Horrie, much of which is consumed by MacKenzie's reign. Here you will find, for instance, details of the interview with Marcia McKay, the widow of a British sargeant who died in the Falklands and was honored with a posthumous Victoria Cross, the highest British award for gallantry -- an interview compromised by the fact that she never actually spoke to the Sun. Or, there was the mission to out Peter Tatchell, the Labour candidate for the London constituency of Bermondsey, who was finally snared by the headline 'RED PETE "WENT TO GAY OLYMPICS" '. MacKenzie was informed that Tatchell had not, in fact, attended the Gay Olympics in San Francisco, but, undaunted, the editor simply inserted the claim between single quotation marks and ran it anyway. It suited MacKenzie's bellowing homophobia, which, in turn, was consonant with his racial fears. 'Botha has said the days of white power are over in South Africa. What he doesn't say is what's going to happen when the darkies come down from the trees, ' he said. That was reported in the New Statesman, in 1985, by Peter Court, who had briefly worked as a graphic designer for the Sun."
MacKenzie has been conspicuous by his silence since his brilliantly-timed Guardian article which sang the praises of Murdoch just days before the Milly Dowler revelations ( ).
Must be getting uncomfortable for him in that sewer as he continues to hunker down & hope that he can soon surface.   

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