The world’s attention is now focused on Rupert Murdoch, his media empire, and the collapse of News of the World. The phone-hacking scandal surrounding Murdoch and News Corp is of course making front page headlines, but some hard questions are worth raising.

First, a few obvious caveats. There is now an investigation underway concerning all this so one must guard against presumption here. It remains to be seen how all this will turn out. Also, if illegal activities were undertaken, I am not here seeking to justify those.

All I really wish to do here is expose some glaring cases of hypocrisy and double standards. And they can be found here in abundance. One simply has to compare the recent case of Julian Assange with this situation. While there are some obvious differences, both involve the unethical and at times illegal obtaining and dispersion of information.

Yet the mainstream media (rightly referred to as the lame-stream media) bent over backwards to turn Assange into a saint. He could do no wrong, and the Left sought to turn him into one of our greatest heroes ever. I even heard a quite confused Christian seek to compare him to the prophet Jeremiah!

But he is nothing of the sort. He is simply an ego-maniac and a raving lefty who hates America and who, by his own admission, wants to do as much damage to America as he can. Thus the reason Julian was treated as a hero and deified, while Murdoch is treated like a zero and demonised, is quite simple: The MSM loves Julian because he is a left-winger who hates America, whereas the MSM hates Murdoch because he is conservative and supports America. This explains much of this blatant hypocrisy.

As one commentator has asked, “Why do people make a distinction between ‘leaks’ and ‘hacks’? Talk about splitting hairs! In both instances, people exploited stolen information, for their own gain, and to the detriment of others.” Yes, and in the case of Wikileaks, actual lives were put at risk. But I hear no moral concerns about that coming from the Left.

And consider other equally appalling scandals, such as ClimateGate. The MSM barely even raised a whisper about this. This case of blatantly unethical activity went largely unreported by the MSM. So the Left and its media spokespersons are quite happy to engage in selective outrage.

Only those things which are contrary to their leftist agenda seem to get a mention. And when it is a conservative like Murdoch, you can expect to see all guns blazing. But when a sacred cow like climate change is the focus, you can bet any stories adversely affecting the alarmists’ agenda will go unreported. As one commentator said on another site:

“Possibly the most mind-numbing example of gross double standards is this pearl from New York Times columnist Andrew Revkin, defending his paper’s decision not to publish the ClimateGate emails: “The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here.” Surely unbeatable? For the love of Pete, isn’t that the main traditional function of investigative media – to alert the public to things ‘never intended for the public eye’? Never mind we are considering the greatest attempted channelling of wealth in peacetime this planet has yet seen. Yes, it’s rich.”

Quite so, and what about Saint Julian who also acquired unethically, if not illegally, documents with “all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye”? Why did the NYT and all the other media outlets not also then have a blackout of this material?

Instead they broadcast it far and wide, and celebrated Julian as some sort of international hero, if not a Christ-figure. All this has a word for it. It begins with ‘h’ and ends with ‘ypocrisy’. But the Left and their media allies never have been too bothered about gross double standards and blatant hypocrisy.

And there will be further implications of this secular-left war against Murdoch. Israel will also feel the ramifications of all this, since the Murdoch press offered solid support of Israel over the years. So the left and the MSM now have double reason to drag him down, since they tend to hate Israel as much as they do the US.

As I say, Murdoch is no saint, and those involved in illegal activity will and should be dealt with by the law. But I can go along with Brendan O’Neill here when he writes about “Murdochphobia”. He too highlights the double standards going on here.

He says, “It isn’t surprising that Murdoch-bashing often sounds eerily similar to conspiracy theorising – because, like conspiracy theories, it too is underpinned by its adherents’ own profound sense of dislocation and angst. It was largely the left and the cultural elite’s inability to make inroads with the public which led them to conclude that some other, super-sinister force must have us in its dastardly grip.

“It is no coincidence that the liberal-commentariat view of Murdoch as the controller of minds and the dictator of agendas really took off in the 1980s: because it is directly proportionate to the declining fortunes of the Labour Party and of mainstream left-wing thinking in general. If you were to draw up a graph to illustrate this, you would see that the axis marked ‘Belief in Murdoch’s awesome power’ goes up just as the axis marked ‘Influence of mainstream left-wing thought’ goes down.”

He continues, “Of course it’s true that Murdoch is influential, and it’s also true that in the 1980s and early 90s his British papers supported Thatcher and, far more reluctantly, John Major, before switching their allegiance to New Labour in 1997. Yet the notion that he exerted an authoritarian ‘malign influence’ was simply a way for left-wing thinkers to dodge getting to grips with some profound shifts in the British political landscape at the end of the twentieth century.

“It wasn’t Murdoch who stole working-class tabloid readers from Labour and handed them to the Tories; Labour had been losing working-class support for years before the ‘Murdoch invasion’. Labour’s support amongst the manual working classes (many of whom read tabloids) fell from 62 per cent in 1959 to 38 per cent in 1983. Bashing Murdoch became a way for Labourites to avoid analysing their own disarray.”

Even of more concern is the hypocrisy over phone-hacking. This was an old party trick of the previous Labour government. As Myles Harris informs us, “In the hysteria there has been no mention of Britain’s most prolific phone hacker, the government, or that it was the previous Labour administration – now pointing the finger at News International – that gave birth to its worst excesses. Since the year 2000 British officials have been given almost unlimited powers to hack into the phones, Emails or open the letters of anyone they think may not be acting in their interests. A total of 253,557 applications were made in 2006 to intercept private communications. Nearly all were approved. 600 public bodies can monitor people‘s private communications and in the same year 122 local councils asked to spy on 1600 individuals. While councils have come under pressure not to abuse such powers, there is no reason to think numbers in general have fallen to any degree since then.

“The legislation is drafted in such a way that officials don’t have to have a precise reason for spying on you. It may be they think you are an Arab terrorist, but it can also be because you have tried to get your child into a school to which educational bureaucrats have forbidden you to apply. Your e-mail can also be hacked by local council officials for putting your dustbin out on the wrong day. The police can peep at it if they think you are insane. A schizophrenic discovered this when the police suddenly demanded the key to this poor man’s totally harmless but encrypted e mail. He refused and was imprisoned for months then transferred to a mental hospital.”

To report this is of course not to justify it. I am not here making the case for phone-hacking. It is merely to point out the utter folly of those on the Left wailing about phone-hacking as if it is only the domain of Murdoch and conservatives.

And of course leftwing politicians here are also trying to capitalise on this. Bob Brown wants an inquiry into the media in Australia, and Julia Gillard said journalists should stop reporting “crap”. In both cases what they really mean is they want those elements of the media which criticise their views – including issues like the carbon tax – to effectively be silenced. They don’t want a media review, they want restrictions on – if not censorship of – any opposing voices.

But as I said at the beginning, my intent here is not to exonerate any wrongdoing or illegal activities. When the full inquiry is completed, any wrongdoers should get their just deserts. But what I am greatly concerned about here is the rank duplicity by the MSM and the Left. Their expertise at selective moral outrage is becoming as predictable as it is tedious.

[1545 words]

18 Replies to “RupertGate”

  1. I was really fascinated by the story of the poor schizophrenic man who was put into gaol and then a mental hospital for not handing over the key to his encrypted e-mails. I have to admit that my first thought was “aren’t they lucky to still have mental hospitals”, but that is probably too simplistic. Generally speaking it is usually the ‘left’ who scream loudest about having freedom of speech and of having total liberty – that is, until someone voices an opinion which does not agree with theirs!
    Joan Davidson

  2. The underlying evil to both the Assange and Murdoch case is the way trust and loyalty are breaking down within society as a whole. Communication will have to be conducted in whispers, or on slips of paper, for we will never know whether an Assange or Murdoch is listening.

    David Skinner, UK

  3. Thanks for this post Bill,
    In all of this, I’d not quite appreciated that difference. (Assange/Murdoch)

    The unfairness I’d spotted was that such a meal is being made of Murdoch – yet of the media groups over here, his organisation are responsible for fewer incidents than some others.

    From research shown on Cranmer’s blog (Google Cranmer blog, or Archbishop Cranmer Blog)

    Trinity Mirror: 1663 incidents by 139 journalists
    Mail Group: 1248 incidents by 95 journalists
    News International: 182 incidents by 19 journalists

    Yet seems only NI did any wrong if you watch or listen to mainstream news. (Probably for exactly the reasons you describe above)

    Sue Dallibar, UK

  4. Of course, the ABC will escape Senator Brown’s media inquiry.
    Jereth Kok

  5. And there is one big difference between Assange and Murdoch: Murdoch has expressed contrition for his company’s wrongdoing. Assange continues to justify himself.
    Jereth Kok

  6. Many don’t seem to get that this is just another Alinsky style “never let an opportunity go to waste” moment.

    Murdoch looks compromised and is in trouble legally so it is a perfect opportunity for the left to attack his whole empire; including Fox News, News Ltd in Australia etc, and all the other “hate media” that don’t parrot the leftist party line.

    The left is at WAR with anything critical of its agenda. The sooner conservatives get that the better.

    Damien Spillane

  7. Bob Brown the prophet of the Dictatorship of reasonableness.
    Wayne Pelling

  8. Thanks guys

    Ann Coulter offers some gems here on this story:

    “If only Murdoch’s minions had hacked into the phones of George Bush, Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld, liberals would be submitting his name to the pope for sainthood. But now the rest of us have to watch while the mainstream media pursue their personal grudge against Rupert Murdoch for allowing Fox News to exist. They demand his head for owning a British tabloid where some reporters used illegally obtained information, something The New York Times does defiantly on a regular basis.”

    “The entire mainstream media are fixated on Murdoch’s imagined role in the Fleet Street phone-hacking story – the only topic more boring than the debt ceiling – solely in order to pursue their petty vendetta against Fox News, which liberals hate with the hot, hot heat of a thousand suns.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  9. In addition to the excellent article by Ann Coulter, Cal Thomas also offers some clear thinking on all this:

    “The response to this by the British and American mainstream media reeks of hypocrisy. Whatever one thinks of the morality of paying for news stories, the British press, under Labour and Tory governments, have been doing it for years. Fleet Street was built on cash for gossip. American media are slightly more sophisticated in pursuing “exclusive” stories.”

    “People who broke the law by hacking into phones should be punished, but this is more about liberal attempts to destroy Fox News, which liberals hate because it communicates ideas, issues and opinions that were mostly unavailable, or ignored, until the network launched in 1996. Fox News has not been implicated in the British phone hacking, but that won’t stop its enemies from trying to make the connection.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  10. And it is not Murdoch we should be worried about but George Soros. Talk about media influence.

    “Soros funds at least 180 media-related organizations — from groups dedicated to to getting government funding for journalsim to tiny blogs and hard-Left media outlets. These are operations that promote pretty much everything conservatives love to hate: abortion, drugs, the gay agenda, illegal immigration, unions, nationalized health care, getting rid of the dollar as the reserve currency and attacks on conservative Supreme Court justices. Throw in an anti-Israel and anti-American theme, and Soros groups have something for everyone on the Right to dislike.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  11. It’s amazing that Julia and Bob are looking to do what they can to censor the media, yet when it comes to censoring filth, “that goes against freedom of speech!”

    It disgusts me that you can’t even drive down the streets of Dandenong without seeing billboards advertising brothels, yet to simply proclaim that you don’t agree with the “settled science” of climate change then you’re suddenly a target for the censors.

    Mario Del Giudice

  12. Just to let you know, Bill. You’re last townhall link isn’t working.
    Mario Del Giudice

  13. But @David Skinner, we may not now whether a Murdoch or Assange is listening/reading your communications but we *do* know that the government is (and has been for quite a while). Anyone, particularly a Brit, has his head in the sand if they don’t realise that they are constantly being watched & their information scanned. The UK is the most ‘watched’ society in the world with Australia and the US not too far behind. Go back to any of these countries more recent ‘Privacy Acts’ and amendments and read them – it makes it harder for the public to get information and the punishments greater for abuses but consolidates the government’s right to invade your privacy as they please for whatever reason they deem to be acceptable. Your spouse is not able to change the address details on your mobile phone contract, but the government can listen to, read anything and change anything they please at any time. Our lives are no longer our own.
    Garth Penglase

  14. Exactly @Mario Del Giudice. The only time the left champion free speech is when it’s used to promote their agendas. All other times no-one is (in their opinion) “qualified” to say anything.

    Murdoch’s a wily old bird. He’ll eat his humble pie today because he knows that it’s better to draw the arrow and heal the wound quickly than to leave it fester. That’s why he shut the paper down. Painful but quick. And then he’ll come back with a vengeance. He sidestepped the Australian Labor government’s attempt to hobble/thwart him years ago and helped engineer their demise before moving onto bigger and better things. This is a detour for him.

    Garth Penglase

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