Freedom of the Press


    Rupert Murdoch is reported to be interested in buying the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune


In the Guardian Saturday, the alert reader might have spotted this, buried in a deceptively bland story about Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp buying the LA Times and Chicago Tribune out of bankruptcy for a song:

The paper said a deal might require a waiver of federal laws that block ownership of newspapers and TV stations in the same market. Murdoch’s Fox network has stations in Los Angeles in Chicago. Tribune also has interests in television stations, some of which carry programming from News Corp’s TV channels or operate as Fox affiliates.

That’s nice.  Nothing can be wiped away so easily as a quaint little law against the partisan political monopoly of the American “free” press.”  Notice how even such an antediluvian, pre-Reagan law still reflects the language of the lobbying class; a community becomes a mere “market.”  Thus, the anti-informative rantings of one delusional billionaire’s mendacious Clown Show can be deemed, as they have so often before, perfectly alright to become the only media voice, in both print and broadcast, in the spirit of our Founding Fathers.

Across the news media spectrum, from once-local papers to once-local TV and radio stations, one voice and political perspective is moving in for the kill.  News Corp, Sinclair Broadcasting, and Clear Channel (currently being looted by none other than Bain Capital) treat news as a cost of doing business their way, and are not opposed to wasting money in so doing, since they get back their investments a hundredfold when the policies they try so laughably hard to put over are implemented.

And, as pure propaganda outlets, even the crummiest newspaper or cheesiest TV station can save a lot of money by dropping actual reporting altogether to replace it with the nonsense that rolls off the right-wing Wurlitzer each day, while perhaps adding a few James O’Keefe wannabes to harass local liberal politicians and organizations might lend an air of verisimilitude to the whole shady enterprise.   Viola.  Small profits now, and big payoffs later.

The pattern is distressingly familiar;  right-wing conglomerate announces its intention to purchase longtime local media institution in its death throes;  in order to “save” the foundering news source, rules protecting media diversity rooted in the First Amendment are conveniently “modernized.”  The “saved” news outlet instantly becomes a low-quality mouthpiece for the 1%, echoing the many sister companies it joined.  Move on to the next city; lather, rinse, repeat.

For Murdoch, it worked in New York, so why not Chicago and LA?  After all, it wasn’t like he alone was monopolizing all the news as he does, basically, in Australia and came quite close to doing in Britain before the Recent Unpleasantness and Britain’s  anachronistic but thoroughly delightful “fit and proper” standard shattered his Citizen Kane fever dreams.

It’s unlikely that the pathetically dwindling shadows of the LA TImes and Chicago Tribune that Murdoch so oddly covets will do anything different for his bottom line than did his addlepated “deal” for the Wall Street Journal did, in the short term.  But this moral mongoloid isn’t thinking about the short term.  Murdoch isn’t in the business of journalism; he’s in the business of ending it, and once Chicago and LA are in the same boat, hard to starboard, his dream becomes that much closer to reality.




  1. Teddy says:

    Both those metropolitan areas would be better off without those papers than with them in Rupert’s hands. The laws should stay in place; one wonders what promises are being made in the Oval Office today, as Rupert seeks to get the ownership rules waived.

  2. cocktailhag says:

    I don’t think they’ll even have to bother offering, say, Michelle a cooking show or anything else so obvious. The FOX-ification of the media is now baked in the cake, and it’s decidedly a bipartisan confection.

  3. nswfm says:

    If ThatAssholeMurdoch® gets his grubby mitts on the LATimes, THIS MEANS WAR! Why isn’t that lying SOB on JAIL already?

  4. Austin says:

    Would you be equally outraged if George Soros was one of the buyers?

    • cocktailhag says:

      To the best of my knowledge, Soros has not proven himself to be the purveyor of self-serving and fact-free propaganda, as Murdoch has. Fox News viewers are more misinformed than people who watch no news at all, as has been shown in several studies. Soros has no media presence or influence at all, except as an all-purpose false equivalency on, well, Fox.
      Laws against controlling too many media outlets are so obviously needed, just because one lying sack of billionaire shit like Murdoch can fool so many people so much of the time. I’m surprised you don’t get that.

    • avelna says:

      When was the last time George Soros and Co. were caught
      eavesdropping on numerous individuals and hacking the voicemail of a 13 yr. girl who was kidnapped and murdered (among other illegal activities?)

    • RUKidding says:

      Wow. False equivalency, much? Watch a lotta Fox “Nooz” do ya?

  5. RUKidding says:

    Thanks for the info, Cocktailhag, as I was unaware of this nasty grab by the despicable pirate Rupert, the Dreadful.

    I used to live downundah and love me Aussie mates, but boyohboy, they’ve hatched out some nasty grubby 1%ers down there. Not that Team USA has any bragging rights in that regard.

    Au revoir LA Times… it was nice to know ya back in the day.

    Gonna become a useless rag like everything else these days.

  6. cocktailhag says:

    It’s actually been pretty useless for quite a while; they even employed Jonah Goldberg as a columnist for a while back in 2003 or so. Murdoch’s just picking over the carcass.

    • RUKidding says:

      True. Like most print newspapers, the LA Times ain’t what it used to be and hasn’t been in some time. That said, as far as the Left Coast press went, it had some redeeming features and some decent reporters.

      With Pirate Murdoch at the helm: buh-bye!

      The WSJ was always a very conservative, pro-capitalism uber alles rag, but it, too, had redeeming features and did some actual, uh, reporting, albeit from their conservative biases. Nowadays, it’s just drek and doesn’t provide much useful information.

      That’s what’s so terrible. Murdoch just turns everything to crap. I PINE for the days of actual real truly “conservative” reporting… at least there was some fact-y-ness going on.

      With Murdoch: fahgeddaboudit. Just bullshit, hype, spin, gossip & lies. ptoui!

      • cocktailhag says:

        The WSJ had a lot of great business reporters, and gave them a lot of freedom to write books, too. Some of the best business exposes I’ve ever read were by current of former WSJ reporters.
        They’re probably all former now; the worst thing about Murdoch taking over so many papers is that he drives away talent, leaving business to do whatever it wants without a bunch of nosy reporters peeking over the transom. I guess that’s the point…..