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(GreenLeft)Rupert Murdoch’s global media empire just got bigger after the British government approved his takeover of the British satellite pay TV group BSkyB on March 4.

Not even evidence raised in the British parliament of his minions from the notorious rag News of the Worldhacking into the phones of politicians and other prominent figures (including members of the British royal family) slowed down this latest takeover.

Perhaps these dirty tricks are part of the reason why the British government approved Murdoch’s BSkyB bid — he’s got so much dirt on them that they are terrified of offending the emperor.

If it isn’t the dirt files that worry them, it’s the power of mass brainwashing that Murdoch wields through the countless rabidly conservative newspapers and TV stations he runs, such as the notorious Fox News network in the US.

The March 4 British Independent reported that British Labour is just as likely to “kneel at [Murdoch’s] altar”.

It referred to a leaked memo from Labour leader Ed Miliband’s “media guru” Tom Baldwin, which “argued that Labour should not go out of its way to antagonise Murdoch”.

It has become common for the leaders of the major parties in Britain to seek audiences with emperor Murdoch (who is also a regular White House guest) before they go to elections.

The Independent said former British prime ministers “Tony Blair and Gordon Brown went out of their way to [please Murdoch]. In the mid-1990s, Blair flew to Australia partly to reassure Murdoch that he had no plans to change the rules on media ownership.”

We’ve seen Australian politicians do the same. Before he won the 2007 election, former Australian Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd made sure he paid his respects to Murdoch in his New York headquarters.

In October, Labor PM Julia Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott also had audiences with Murdoch.

As the world cheers the deposing of one despotic regime after another by the wave of people’s power uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, let’s not forget that corporate tyrants like Murdoch still rule the world from the West. They need to be toppled, too. (…)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

 

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(TechDirt) The NY Times continues its drive to irrelevance. As we get ready to hear the details of the NYT’s plan to lock itself up online, its lawyers are apparently seeking to shut down people promoting its works. Jonathan Paul, a former web editor at the NY Times, set up a Tumblr blog account last summer, which he used to promote what he felt was “beautiful and unexpected imagery” found on the NY Times website. He did so very much in the spirit of promoting those works, including full credits and links back to the original works at the NY Times. It built up a decent audience of people, driving many of them to the NY Times website. And, in response, the NY Times sent its lawyers to shut down the blog, claiming that it was copyright infringement (found via Mathew Ingram). Paul notes that the blog actually had a decent following within the NYT, and his former colleagues had encouraged the project and helped promote it as well, fully realizing that it was helping their own work get more attention and driving more traffic to the NYT. And then the lawyers stepped in. One more example of why just because you can do something from a legal standpoint, it doesn’t mean you should — and another reason why you tend to make really bad business decisions when you let the lawyers decide to act, without understanding the actual business implications of what you’re doing.

from the how-backwards-can-you-be? dept

(Media Lens) Historian Howard Zinn (1922-2010), would be remembered above all for his humanity and warmth, were it not for the crystal clarity of his insight. In ‘A Power That Governments Can’t Suppress,’ he wrote:

‘There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people’s thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.’ (Zinn, A Power That Governments Can’t Suppress, City Lights, 2007, p.267)

Until very recently, no system of power seemed more invincible than the corporate media. One hundred years ago, industrialisation handed a near-total monopoly of the means of mass communication to a tiny elite with the money to buy and run the printing presses and, later, TV studios. The tendency to see the future in the present generated dystopic visions of ever more sophisticated technology empowering ever tighter control: thus George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Read More

(eagainst) Since the Greek crisis appeared in the headlines of the western liberal or conservative newspapers, a cheap pro capitalist propaganda against Greek workers swept all the information networks. It all started last year, where many newspapers, especially the tabloid ones, accused the entire Greek population of being “lazy and immature”. Of course, the reasons are very obvious… social struggles! Anti-government protests and anti-capitalist action took place all across the country. It was just one year after the uprising of 6/12/2008 which was the spark for a massive reaction against police brutality and violent repression, the most powerful social unrest, since the Polytechnic uprising of 1973. Greece is also a country that has suffered dictatorships and brutal suppression against pro-democracy and left wing activists. All these undemocratic actions were shamelessly backed by the US and the blood thirsty imperialist, Winston Churchill. BBC, CNN, the quasi fascist Telegraph, the Daily Mail and most of the American online tabloid news networks (especially the vile Newsweek and Fox News) do everything possible to obscure the reality, the causes of this popular anger. “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” (Malcolm X)

Read more: http://eagainst.com/articles/reuters-propaganda/