Rupert Murdoch was never Keyser Soze
Childish media and creepy politicians created this myth
By deciding that Murdoch was both omniscient and wicked, the Current Affairs Department took an approach to reporting certain areas where they're now paying a heavy, possibly fatal price in their credibility.
For years these areas were seen as the obsession of nutters and extremists, and it was assumed they could be safely ignored. I'll mention three in particular, which the BBC regarded as issues to ignore, or on which it must take a strong campaigning stance – or a bit of both: Europe, immigration and the environment. In each of these cases a bit of wry British detachment would have been prudent, it didn’t have to take sides, or duck.
The Beeb avoided immigration because of the (genuine) historical racist overtones: however immigration really ceased being a racist issue after May 1 2004, when the largest wave of immigration the UK has ever seen began – and which was almost entirely white.
Now Ed Miliband's guru recognises the damage, and has called for the restriction on the inflow of labour. Europe (and the Euro) were seen as a noble cause, a stance which glossed over the lack of consent, the democratic deficit, and the relegation of Westminster to a compliant Parish Council, as well as the inevitable failure of the Eurozone.
There's no reason an editor should view any of these as "right-wing" issues, but they will now be owned by the political right, because well-meaning editors refused to bring them to us intelligently. The Murdoch Myth – in which editors thought they were fighting a "Good War" against the tycoon – had a large part in that decision. They thought like children, and presumed most of us think like children, too.
It's all so head-bangingly stupid.
Similarly, over the period "Murdoch" became the Bond villain the politicians must curry favour with, politics became increasingly managerial. Instead of proposing bold or imaginative ideas, the political class became obsessed with the media - which was just one more thing to manage.
The Mythical Murdoch has been like Santa: some people need him to exist, to be a metaphysical embodiment of evil, because looking at the world in such simplified terms is comforting and convenient. And this Myth wasn't created by us - we expect media tycoons to be a bit mad. It was created by politicians and the media, and the politicians in particular have spent two decades building it up. ®
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