If you’ve ever watched Fox News, you’d know it’s entertaining, but extremely frightening to see rabid, right wing opinion and prejudice passed off as news in the US. Well watch out. It could be coming here. James Murdoch’s (son of Rupert) latest pronouncements, as reported in today’s Australian newspaper, argue that Britian’s commitment to a state funded fourth estate is destroying democracy. It sent chills down my spine and made my blood boil (if it’s possible to feel cold and hot at the same time).
Read it yourself, but I’ll quote a couple of paras from the article (originally reported in The Times) to get you going:
He (Murdoch) said the “chilling” expansion of the BBC meant commercial rivals and consumer choice were struggling. In particular, the “expansion of state-sponsored journalism” in the form of the BBC News online was “a threat to plurality and the independence of news provision, which are so important to our democracy”.
Mr Murdoch, who is the chief executive of BSkyB, 39.1 per cent owned by News Corp, said he believed broadcasters such as Sky should be freed from the longstanding requirement to produce impartial news.
Crikey. Let’s have partial news then. What do you call it? Infotainment? Bias. Ratings driven news? Oh, I forget. That’s what we have already. Let’s forget about a public broadcasting system built on a set of professional standards. Let’s forget about newspapers of record. Let’s just have a free-for-all, driven by the market.
If that’s what James Murdoch thinks is a happy outcome of democracy, then he and I live in different universes.