Reuters is reporting that Rupert Murdoch is doing everything he can to win approval to buy the 61 percent of Sky he doesn’t already own. Regulators won’t let him at the moment. They fear the “influence Murdoch could wield through the ownership of Sky News.” They’re right to do so. I wouldn’t want to overstate things, but if you love your civilization, you’ll do anything, everything you can to stop him.
I know, “…if you love your civilization” seems hyperbolic. But all you need do is look across the pond to see the damage Murdoch has inflicted on the United States. In the US, consumers of Murdoch’s Fox “News” will fight for their right to be wrong. They’ll do it because Murdoch convinces them their opinion is every bit as important as someone else’s facts. After awhile, you’ll hear people discounting facts in favor of opinions as though that’s perfectly reasonable. Eventually, they’ll go so far as to deny science, itself, in order to stay safely in the club. It’s like trying to convince the Pope that Jesus never existed. Even if he agreed with you, he would never admit it. He’s got way too much to lose…
Murdoch accomplishes his goals by empowering and emboldening the worst aspects of the weakest thinkers. He sells fear and anger. He tells the weakest thinkers that, secretly, they’re the smart ones and they should shun the “intellectual elite.” Secretly, they have the truth and everyone else is deceived. That empowers them. He causes them to believe that, secretly, they’re the majority. All they need do is step outside and say what they think and they’ll find their kindred. All too often, they do. That emboldens them.
Mind you, Murdoch’s Fox “News” doesn’t come right out and say any of these things. It’s more subtle. It’s insidious. Certain messages are reinforced a thousand times a day by implication and insinuation. Fox uses every trick in the book to deceive the gullible – and they’ve even made up a few of their own. They cite “some” as a source. (“Some say…”) Many stories are factually accurate, though factually incomplete. Often, it’s the bit that gets left out – an “editorial decision” – that moves a story from “truth” to “not truth.”
I think the sentence that chilled my blood the most while reading this article was this: “Last week, Fox pledged to maintain and fund a fully independent Sky-branded news service for five years, and on Tuesday it upped this offer to run for 10 years.” I’ll bet. Murdoch ran Fox “News” at a loss for years before finally turning a profit. He doesn’t mind. He knows it takes time to undermine a culture. He’s patient.
And it won’t just be Sky News, either. After Murdoch gets started, a network of supporting players springs up in various formats. I know many conservatives who insist they never watch Fox “News” without ever considering that they’re watching people who, themselves, are watching Fox “News.” Call it Fox “News” by proxy.
Keep Murdoch out if you can. He’ll only do to you what he’s done to us. Not to put too fine a point on it, Donald Trump is the culmination of twenty years of Fox “News.” I’ll tell you this: if you relish the notion of having your very own Trump as PM, give Murdoch what he wants. I don’t advise it, though. Not if you love your civilization…