What Will It Take?
Sale of Z Videos
Criminalization of Dissent
American Civil Liberties
Gaza Boats Seized
Wasting $13 Million
What Happened to Children First?
Bruce E. Levine
The Student Debt Bubble
Nicolas J.S. Davies
The Obama Doctrine
The Power Couple
Laurence h. Shoup
Bread and Roses
The Monopoly of Manipulation
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Murdoch, The Miners, and the Monopoly of Manipulation
In a country where two out of every three newspapers in major cities are owned by Rupert Murdoch, and which possesses the unenviable mantle of the most highly concentrated media ownership in the Western world, it is no surprise that public discourse on all things related to big business and the shadow it casts over society tends toward the lowest common denominator. According to the minions of Murdoch, the sole threat to human existence—re-affirmed on a daily basis—are “boat people” destined for the shores of
Since the election of the Labor Government in 2007, proposed reforms have generated hysteria from the business elite. Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp has maintained its position as media
attack-dog par excellence. Foremost has been opposition to the Resource Super Profits Tax (RSPT) and the proposed responses to climate change—the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), “shelved” by the Kevin Rudd-led Government, and its successor, the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Murdoch’s Newscorp, in true fashion, supported the election of the Rudd Government after 11 years of John Howard’s conservative rule. This is not the first time the media mogul has mounted an aggressive agenda against an incumbent after initially leaping on the bandwagon of change.
In 1972, Gough Whitlam, Labor Party poster child of progress, after 23 years of post-war conservative rigidity, was swept to power on the slogan of “It’s Time.” The campaign summed up the general mood of an Australian public tired of the Vietnam War, of conscripting its teenagers in death-lotteries, and of the paternalism of our presumably loving overseer, Uncle Sam. It was also an Australian public convinced it was time for many other reforms, aside from ending conscription and freeing draft-evaders, offering free universal higher education, a raft of progressive legislation for women, and recognizing
Most disconcerting for our benevolent masters in Washington—whom members of the Whitlam Government had labeled “maniacs” and “corrupt” due to their bloody campaigns in Southeast Asia—was the government’s pre-election promise to “buy back the farm.” By this they meant an end to subservience to (mainly
Subversion of Democracy
Earlier that year, 75 Murdoch journalists went on strike over one of Murdoch’s papers, the Australian, becoming “a propagandist sheet” and “a laughing stock,” presumably before laughing-stockery became his mainstay. On the 20th anniversary of what has become known as the “constitutional crisis,” Murdoch suggested that historic accounts and speculation of his involvement in the events of 1975 do not do him justice and that his behind-the-stage puppetry and consequent subversion of Australian democracy was actually far more extensive.
This time, unfortunately for the forces of real democracy in
The Australian Mining Industry, tied parasitically to the growth of
The debate about the RSPT in
According to Andrew Hughes, an
The Murdoch-led attacks have led to an alliance of big business interests between media and mining that has flexed its political muscle over the last year. The Sydney Morning Herald, a broadsheet produced by Fairfax Media—the other approximately 30 percent of the Australian print media not owned by Murdoch—reported that $22 million was spent by the mining industry to “bring down” Prime Minister (former) Kevin Rudd: “The industry’s national body, the Minerals Council of Australia, spent $17.2 million, mainly on TV advertisements; BHP Billiton spent $4.2 million; Rio Tinto just over $537,000, and a smaller lobby group, the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, just under $274,000.”
Moreover, significant financial contributions from various mining corporations were made during the same period to the parliamentary opposition, led at this time by archconservative Tony Abbott. Abbott was fundamental in the overthrow of the former leader of the opposition, Malcolm Turnbull, who supported the Rudd Government’s CPRS. Speculation has been rife that Abbott’s push for leadership was the result of significant lobbying from the energy sectors. The money spent on the campaign to oust Rudd brought significant returns: the tax remains, although it has adopted a new name, but it now will seek only three-quarters of the original intended amount, leading many within the mining community to suggest their investment has provided returns above and beyond expectations. The mining community has also begun a TV advertising campaign entitled “Australian Mining: This Is Our Story” whereby they portray the various life stories of their employees.
The daily attacks from the Murdoch media and other conservative sources, particularly on radio, have created an atmosphere that was largely unknown in Australian society, similar to that created by Fox News’ inflammatory rhetoric and the Tea Party “movement” in the
Although hastening to depict itself as a grassroots organization, the U.S. Tea Party has been exposed as being backed financially by various right-wing think-tanks, lobbies, and billionaires. An article in The Sydney Morning Herald revealed Australia’s own version of the Koch Brothers, Senator Corey Bernardi—climate change denier and anti-Islamer extraordinaire—was heavily involved in the establishment of six different anti-Carbon Tax “grassroots” organizations, also pioneering “pro-market” and “traditionalist” values. Bernardi was the subject of recent controversy for his offer to aid Geert Wilders’s visit to
Never has the Murdoch press been so supportive of the rights of working people. One could even suggest the Australian Tea Party keep their eye out for advertisements for Marxist baby clothes appearing on the back pages of Murdoch’s tabloids. The Convoy, initially claiming to include thousands of trucks, cars, and buses destined for Canberra, managed to produce barely a couple of hundred, many of whom struggled to articulate a rational argument as to why they were converging on the capital.
Discussions of Murdoch’s capacity to influence his editors and his paper’s perspectives usually adopt what could be described as the anti-conspiratorial theory—that Murdoch, with his extensive media operations all over the world, clearly could not have the capacity to supervise and influence the content and character of his various papers, particularly here in the “arse-end of the world,” as former Prime Minister Paul Keating lovingly referred to Australia. Mungo MacCallum, writing in the Monthly, sums up this perspective: “…these days Murdoch regards his Australian operations as pretty much on the fringe and allows his editors the kind of independence that their predecessors only dreamed of. An obvious example of this is Murdoch’s support of the use of short-term stimulus packages to combat the global financial crisis, while his Australian economics writers (Michael Stutchbury in the Australian, in particular) have been highly critical. Also, Murdoch declares himself a true believer in climate change, but the Australian has become a haven for skeptics and deniers…”
What MacCallum doesn’t recognize is that the stimulus package the Rudd Government initiated came from the public coffers to support the private sector and is thereby an upwards transition of wealth, particularly in a country with a regressive taxation system. What he also doesn’t comprehend is that Murdoch’s supposed belief in climate change certainly does not correspond to his support for responses to climate change—given that they are directed at the interests of his class allies in big business and also himself. Furthermore, having Murdoch’s editors attacking from a class perspective on these issues—with Murdoch himself claiming he believes otherwise—leads people like MacCallum to assume that Murdoch stays at arms length of his papers’ ideological persuasions.
Like most powerful men in charge of large corporations, Murdoch presumably chooses or oversees the employment of his staff, particularly at the higher echelons. Those people are chosen because they already support Murdoch’s class prerogatives. Given the hierarchical nature of corporations where decisions come from the top—or are overseen or overturned from above—leads one to the conclusion that Murdoch’s staff are Murdoch’s staff because they largely agree with Murdoch’s ideology, with few exceptions. However, one must avoid such logic, given such assumptions presume acts of a conspiratorial nature. Assuming that rich people look after rich people’s interests patently borders on delusion, doesn’t it?
Brendan Libertad is an activist, aspiring labor historian, and a musician with the anarcho-folk band, A Commoner’s Revolt.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; email@example.com; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; email@example.com; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: email@example.com; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.