Saturday, 9 July 2011

The News of the World is no more [updated]

It seems the News of the World will print its last edition tomorrow in the wake of the phone hacking scandal. Where this puts the News Corp. bid to take over the rest of BSkyB will not be known for a few weeks [update 13 July 2011: News Corp. has withdrawn its bid for BSkyB ahead of a debate in Parliament calling on it to do just that].

It seems the News of the World paid £100,000 in bribes to Metropolitan Police officers to hide the fact that it was hacking the phones of the families of murder victims. With the real risk that the police might be forced to to get involved, and the takeover deal might be stopped altogether, bosses at Murdoch's media empire seem to have decided to sacrifice the newspaper in order to save themselves. They also appear to have destroyed evidence in advance of any kind of raid.

Richard Seymour argues that this is symptomatic of a wider crisis of the British media and the establishment as a whole. He describes it as perhaps 'the best thing that happened to the media in years.'

It is certainly true that Murdoch's newspapers have been key to supporting the wars in the middle east and perform a similar role in relation to the cuts now. Murdoch shores up the establishment and is a powerful instrument for trying to make working class people believe that we should pay for the economic crisis. His publications are consistently anti-worker, anti-trade union and seek to divide the working class on lines of race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, disabilities and so on.

A defeat for him is a victory for us and a defeat for the British government and indeed the Labour Party too. Cameron is weakened and the scandal exposes the political connections which exist at the top of society and which are used against us: the media, the government, big business and the police.

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