Sunday, 17 July 2011


This is what happens when dissent goes mainstream. Those Scousers and many others who stopped buying - or never actually bought -  The Sun showed the way. Those many people in media-watch groups who said that News International was corrupt kept us focused. All the people who baulked at how huge and monopolistic the Murdoch media empire, News Corporation, had become were right to trust their instincts. And now the empire is rattled, the charmed relationship with international brands is damaged, the craven fore-lock touching relationship with British politicians is trammelled. Even Wall Street, which rules the world in real terms, takes notice and American politicians are asking questions.

Is this a good day for democracy? Is this a blow for freedom? Does it mark a new dawn for the world? Much purple prose in the print and web-based media would have it so. Certainly any day a major corporation is brought down a peg or two is a good day for people on the planet. The cavalier manner in which Murdoch's News International sacked their News of the World staff illustrated just how evil corporations can be. The trigger was the adverse reaction of advertisers - other corporations such as Ford - as they freaked and pulled their advertising. So, in the corporate world view of Murdoch and his ilk, the obvious plan, given that the brand is toxic, is to ditch the staff, close the operation, open again under a new brand, maybe even take on the old staff, with worse terms and conditions. 

There's the rub. Will these events mark a genuine shift in the power corporations have in the world or will it simply be a case of 'take the hit and get on with business as before'? 

The successful outcome for the planet would be a dismantling of the corporation and a weakening of its power over government and police.

Dissenters have always noted that the cosy relationship between media moguls and politicians was bad for democracy. It's essentially a bullying relationship, with politicians terrified of upsetting the moguls. Industrial moguls have the same effect, threatening to move their production facilities elsewhere and cowering the politicians into favourable tax breaks, weak environmental provisions and anti-citizen employment terms and conditions. 

Check out large food multiples and their ability to get out-of-town shopping centres eased through planning when everyone knows they devastate the human scale of towns. The grimmest of the lot are the arms manufacturers who not only profit from death and destruction but who so spancil the US political system that individual Senators can't breathe without checking it doesn't upset them. 

Were it not for dissenters Murdoch would not be quaking. Were it not for the people who, even quietly, said 'hang on a minute, can this be right?' no inquiries would be under-way, no corrupt and negligent police officers would be quaking, no corporate magnates would be ditching their most senior lieutenants, their consiglieri, wringing their hands in public and appearing before parliamentary committees to answer questions.

It is a struggle for power and in a small way citizens hit home by making Murdoch face dissent in the mainstream.

No comments:

Post a Comment