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Rupert Murdoch, people's friend

From:     blp
Category: Art
Date:     22 April 2008
Time:     07:10 AM


If you ever need to throw up quickly, there's a great bit of footage showing R Murdoch declaiming on 
how criticism of tabloid newspapers is really just disguised class hatred - the kind of stuff some of the 
more mixed up Marxists on Mute Magazine or Spiked occasionally produce, apparently with a 
straight face. You know, cigarettes, special brew, morbid obesity, cheap flights to illegally built 
Spanish environmental catastrophes, illiteracy, pub fights, father-daughter incest, hell, why not throw in 
BNP membership - all authentic and indelible marks of proletarian identity, dislike of which is the 
clear identifier of the crypto-aristo capitalist running dogs against whom the force of the dialectic itself 
will one glorious day rise up to create a fairer, um more civilised um society um. Sorry, I really have 
gone off on a tangent. 

Murdoch's entirely self-serving liberationist rhetoric has subsequently, gratifyingly, backfired beautifully 
on the man at a cost of billions, as detailed here

Seems that, at exactly the same time as he was trying to expand his televisual empire in China, 
Murdoch dimwittedly gave a speech expounding the virtues of new communications technologies for, 
er, felling tyrannical regimes. Oops, he subsequently effectively said, I wasn't thinking of China I was 
thinking of Russia and the Berlin wall; then spent several years proving to the Chinese that he could 
be a friend of tyranny (Rupe, we never doubted ya), slagging off the Dalai Lama, kiboshing Chris 
Patten's book on his time as Hong Kong governor, removing the BBC from his Chinese Star TV 
offering, sucking up as only a moral vacuum can to members of Deng Xiaoping's family and finally 
delivering this necrotic piece of cold, excremental, euphemistic slime in a speech in China, copies of 
which were distributed to every Chinese official of note:

"...nations retain their own social and moral values that the media must take into account. China is a 
distinctive market with distinctive social and moral values that Western companies must learn to 
abide by."

You vill learn to abide by ze zocial und moral falues of zis zociety!

But all this moral abnegation was for nothing. Vice Premier Zhu Rongji invited Murdoch over solely to 
take the piss, suggesting that, just as he'd become American to do business in the US, he might now 
like to consider becoming Chinese. And Murder-rock's massive Chinese investment had to be 
marked down as a straight negative on the balance sheet. 

What does it all mean? Murdoch's cavortings with the Xiaopings show, if it was ever in doubt, that 
members of communist elites are no more immune to the trappings of basic, vulgar luxury than any 
other, so perhaps this is all just about power relations. What's beautiful about the story is the way it 
gives the lie to the idea, expressed in Murdoch's original self-sabotaging speech, that capitalism 
untrammeled is a force not of amoral voraciousness, but for good. Specifically, he informed us that, 
thanks to the incredible boarder transcending reach of the latest comms media:

" the extraordinary living standards produced by free-enterprise capitalism cannot be kept secret."

No, and nor can Murdoch's overweaning desire to have that openness and eat it. 

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