A long time ago, in a street in Wapping far far away…It is a period of of civil war. Rebel journalists, striking against mass-sackings, are seeking their first victory against the Murdoch Empire. During the battle, Journalist spies managed to steal secret plans for the Empire’s ultimate weapon. The clandestinely built and equipped printing facility at Wapping The evil lord Rupert Murdoch, obsessed with being a tyrannical arse-hat dispatched over 6000 newspaper workers to the unemployment lines ….
This was how Rupert Murdoch really got his name known to us over here in the early 1980’s, and it signalled the beginning of a really rather nasty relationship in this country between politics, the police, and an overwhelmingly powerful media mogul. What Murdoch did was actually quite necessary for the established press in the UK – the onset of digital printing was a sea-change in publsihing, and the old linotype printers had no hope of keeping up. However, what was really telling about the episode was the way in which he went about things.
Let me say this straight off. I cannot stand the hate-filled, negative, cynical, pathetic and condescending level of journalism that he propagates through almost every media outlet he controls. The man is – in every sense I can think of – exactly equivalent to the Emperor character in Star Wars.
Fortunately the venemous little hate-toad is in a bit of a pickle at the moment – a situation I’m thoroughly relishing. Even better than the closure of a long-running bastion of shit-flinging last Sunday is the potential for this hacking saga to spread like a cleansing (and preferably destructive) fire throughout the whole NewsCorp business. This morning on Radio 4 they were talking about the fallout from the phone hacking scandal – it seemed to me a little premature. I can’t help thinking it’s equivalent to the first couple of atoms involved in a nuclear chain reaction discussing how bad it’s going to be in the microseconds after the initiation, but before the main charge has gone off. There’s a whole lot more to happen yet before you can start talking about how much fallout there’s going to be – let alone where it’s going to hit worst.
Murdoch’s little empire is in a very tight spot indeed, not because the (relatively insignificant) UK wing of News International is on fire (and no-one seems to want to help put it out), but because it would appear to have awoken the beast.
I for one am sitting back with the popcorn to see what this little shitstorm grows in to. I have no doubt that the offices of NewsCorp are currently resounding with the noise of shredders, angry phone calls, the shuffling of lawyers, and the gentle ‘plinking’ noise of IT techs trying to attach magnets to all the data storage drives. This is going to run and run for months, if not years. I might take up downhill cycling and carpentry just so I can safely navigate down a giant 3D model of what the newscorp shareprice graph will look like in a years time.
The insidious wires of blackmail-derived control which Murdoch’s empire had spun throughout our political and law enforcement organisations have been cut – it’s open season on the the old bastard and I for one hope someone bags him.
So how far into the Star Wars analogy are we? I honestly don’t know – but this time at least I think we can all agree that the release of the prequel material has the potential to be just as horrific and terminal to the franchise as George Lucas managed.