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The BBC Asks: Is Rupert Murdoch Satan?

Maxwell, Murdoch's first
public critic; died in 1991.
An article on the website for the BBC carries the headline "RUPERT MURDOCH - A PORTRAIT OF SATAN" and goes on to "assiduously record... [his] relentless rise ... and his assault on the old 'decadent' elites of Britain."

The piece, written by Adam Curtis and showcasing a voluminous amount of videos of Murdoch-related BBC broadcasts over the years, is careful to note right at the beginning that, "Rupert Murdoch doesn't like the BBC. And sometimes the BBC doesn't seem to like Rupert Murdoch either," so there is a relationship involved that could bias the story. The BBC had an ax to grind, and they ground it right against old Rupert's neck.

Curtis proceeds to trace the evolution of the BBC's coverage of Murdoch over the years, starting a long time ago, way before he became a household name in this country.

"Murdoch first appears," Curtis writes, "in the BBC archive in a short fragment without commentary shot in 1968. It shows him ambling into the City of London on his way to see Sir Humphrey Mynors who was head of the City Takeover Panel

"Murdoch was going to ask Sir Humphrey for permission to take over the News of the World. Then he is interviewed afterwards.

"The News of the World was a salacious rag, but it was run by Sir William Carr who was a member of an old establishment family. He had already received a hostile bid from the publisher Robert Maxwell. Carr hated Maxwell because he was not British (he was Czech).

"Then Murdoch arrived. He wasn't British either, but he told Sir William he would buy the paper but they would run it jointly together.

"Maxwell warned Sir William not to trust Murdoch. He told him - 'You will be out before your feet touch the ground.'

"Sir William replied - 'Bob, Rupert is a gentleman.' "

Neither was Maxwell, as we all now know. He became "one of the greatest criminals in British business history," the article related. Maxwell died in somewhat mysterious circumstances in 1991: He fell off a boat and drowned, which some believe was an act of suicide, which could never be proven. It could have been an accident or an assassination; in fact, a cottage industry of sorts has sprung up around Maxwell's death.

But back to our focus: As it turns out, according to the BBC article, old Rupe isn't a gentleman, which I think was once illegal in some parts of the U.K. Maybe I am wrong.

Anyway, "Maxwell was right in his warning. Within three months Murdoch forced Sir William Carr out - and took over complete control. Carr died in 1977. Murdoch offered to pay for a memorial service. But a proud Lady Carr refused."

All this had consequences for Mr. Murdoch in England, the article continued.

"The British establishment decided Murdoch was not a gentleman. And then he did something much worse. He announced he was going to publish the memoirs of Christine Keeler in the News of the World. Keeler was a 'model' whose liaison with a government minister John Profumo in 1963 had ruined Harold MacMillan's government.

"But since then, Profumo had redeemed himself in the eyes of the establishment by going off to work for a charity in the east end of London. So when the News of the World published the sordid details of the affair, the whole of London society was scandalised. Murdoch was unearthing a scandal that should have been dead and buried, and destroying one of their own. [Emphasis, yours truly.]

"And, they said, he was doing it with the sole interest of lining his own pocket. Murdoch was seen as sleazy and destructive.

"And this is where his monstrous image began."

The article also discusses criticisms raised about the man in what the Curtis calls a "Panorama" called "Who's Afraid of Rupert Murdoch?" (Many issues raised are common knowledge to those who follow the Murdoch story.

"...  he takes over intelligent newspapers and turns them into trash. As the ex-editor of the New York Post says - "he took it towards a readership we believed didn't exist"

"...  his critics say he turns the news reporting in his newspapers into a propaganda wing of his chosen editorial line, and then uses that to destroy politicians he doesn't like and help elect those he does. (WHO? MURDOCH? NO WAY! I ABSOLUTELY DRAW THE LINE HERE, IN BIG CAPITAL LETTERS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!")

"It describes the scandal in America when Murdoch got a massive favourable loan from the US government just after he had endorsed Jimmy Carter in the New York primary. Murdoch denies there was any connection. [I'd kind of believe him on this; I mean, Murdoch endorsing Jimmy Carter? Can't see it, but then again, he did get a "massive" loan out of the deal...that would probably be the only reason we'd ever see such an endorsement from Murdoch.]

"...  it reports the outrage in New York over the sensational way his newspapers reported the serial Killer Son of Sam. Headlines personally overseen by Murdoch that seemed, it was alleged by other journalists, to turn a brutal killer into a celebrity.

"...  And it gave the American liberals a chance to reveal that they too now hated Rupert Murdoch as much as the British elites. "He is a force for evil" says the head of the Columbia Journalism review rather smugly."

I will add my own two-cents here: "When a James Bond villain is actually modeled after you, it may be time to look in the mirror and do some self-evaluating."


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