Saturday, July 23, 2011

Whither the National Post?

With all the press coverage of the downfall of Rupert Murdoch, the single worst piece of analysis was published in the National Post. I'll admit that the title, "It Couldn't Happen to a Sleazier Guy" drew me in. Good gossip on a man who made a fortune selling bad gossip was something I was looking forward to. But Jeet Heer's article was an astonishing disappointment. Essentially his thesis is Murdoch's news holdings tend to be right wing, therefore he's a scumbag:

Although he dabbled with left-wing politics when young, the mature Murdoch has had a remarkably consistent political profile, one that informs his vast array of media holdings ranging from the Sunday Times of England to The Australian to the Wall Street Journal and Fox News in the United States. With the exception of Murdoch’s Chinese holdings, which tend to defer to the wishes of the Communist Party, all of Murdoch’s media outlets are organs of right-wing populism.
For shame! How dare he give voice to right wing ideas? No smear job would be complete without accusations of racism:

The characteristic stance of a Murdoch newspaper is that of defending putatively
“normal” tax-payers against various supposed parasites and weirdos, an eclectic and elastic category that includes union members, gays, almost all foreigners, uppity women, and racial minorities.
But worse! The Sun has a long-standing habit of referring to the French as “frogs,” . . . How offensive. Seriously, even when the facts don't fit the smear - Murdoch's wife is of Asian descent so the racism charge doesn't quite stick - Heer just uses it for more 'evidence.'

Murdoch is something fouler: an intelligent man who has found a way to make money trafficking in racial animosities he himself doesn’t necessarily share.
The entire article was a hit piece based merely on the fact that the author didn't like the fact that Murdoch wasn't true to left wing orthodoxy. I can't believe the National Post would print such garbage.

Don't get me wrong, I don't know enough about Murdoch to have an opinion. I do know the cell phone hacking and corruption of his flagship tabloid was shameful and someone, probably several people, should go to jail. But that doesn't mean that every paper or news outlet in Rupert Murdoch's control should be tarred with the same brush.


Graham Sproule said...

Although there are a number of Murdoch publications I would never read, I do believe that much of the furor against him has been because of Fox News and other perceived 'right-wing' publications he holds. Why else would all the focus be on Murdoch's companies when many other papers on Fleet Street not own by Murdoch also engage in the despicable practices of yellow journalism?

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