Friday, 22 July 2011

Quick thoughts on Murdoch

As I write this, I'm on the A74, heading towards Tarfside via Dundee. A weekend of camping and drinking means that I won't be blogging for the next couple of days.

I have scheduled a post for tomorrow to tide you over. However, in the meantime it's worth making a quick comment on the ongoing News International scandal. (I refuse to describe anything using the suffix -gate, as it's meaningless.) In particular, on why I haven't said much about it or taken much interest in it.

Firstly, no doubt the original actions - hacking a dead girl's phone, deleting her messages, etc - were abhorrent. However, as Adam Ford has noted, this wasn't due to any inherent evil at News of the World so much as of the marketisation of sensationalism. If NotW hadn't done it, someone else would have. Moreover, as tempting as it is to single out Murdoch as a cartoon villain, it's folly to presume that taking down one individual will alter the fundamental nature of capitalist mass media. News outlets aren't selling stories to us, but us as an audience to advertisers, and that determines the way the market functions.

The other point worth noting is how much has been buried by this affair. The further privatisation of the NHS, a public services white paper, the continuing wars in Libya and Afghanistan, the possibility of plunging into a new economic crisis, etc. This scandal isn't the potential end of the government, it's a circus. At the end, an illusory "bad apple" may be removed from the barrel, but capitalism prevails.

That's the point we need to remember. Capitalism won't reform itself, and though they've been shoved from the front page the key struggles of the class war continue. We need to carry on fighting them, and not let ourselves get side-tracked.

We can, however, take a break from it all for a while and recoup our energy. That being said, I'll bid you adieu until I return from Scotland.

Update: Links and formatting added at 19:56 on 24/07/2011.
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