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The Heart of Rupert Murdoch

I think it was Tiberius who said (and pardon my Suetonius if I'm wrong) "Let them hate me, so long as they fear me."

It worked. For a while.

The only trouble with this maxim is that once someone displays that one little spark of courage it often reminds people of their better selves and the spark becomes a fireball when people refuse to shit their pants at the mention of your name any more. Once the fear is gone there's nothing left but hate. And maybe anger. Usually anger. Fear is a funny thing - as soon as people realise there was nothing to be afraid of they either laugh or they get very, very angry. (Try jumping out at someone in a darkened room if you long to test this. You'll either be hailed as a prankster or punched in the face.)

That's the problem facing Rupert Murdoch right now. Everyone knows he's been operating a Westminster protection racket since the Thatcher government.

Take David Mellor, for instance. He made an ill-advised comment that the British gutter press were out of control and said they were 'drinking at the last chance saloon'. Subsequently Mellor's mistress published a tell-all in the Murdoch tabloids and he was one of those notoriously sleazy Tories who went down spectacularly in 1997 to a chorus of 'OUT, OUT, OUT' from his constituents. By this time Murdoch was no longer preoccupied with destroying dissenting voices in the Tory cabinet - he'd had his eye on Blair since 1995 and had shrewdly identified Tony as exactly the kind of slick, shallow media whore who would allow him to keep his influence over British politics.

Or Clare Short. Clare had the nerve to point out that tits in the newspaper were not really newsworthy. She was nicknamed 'Killjoy Clare' and caricatured as the kind of hatchet-faced socialist hag that no man would really want to sleep with. She just didn't like tits in the newspaper because she was 'fat' and 'jealous'. Poor woman. She was only a long serving and respected member of parliament, a party whip and an important dissenting voice on international affairs - she must have been fucking heartbroken that she didn't have the looks to be treated as a disposable piece of baby-oiled meat.

This charming piece of misogyny happened under the editorial watch of Rebekah Brooks, who trots through this latter day Vanity Fair like Becky Sharp on steroids. Except with Becky Sharp you could cheer for her chutzpah and feel secure that what you were reading was, after all, an entertaining and satirical piece of fiction. Becky B? Now she's just scary.

For example, take Jerry Hayes, former Conservative MP. Hayes, a closeted homosexual, was keeping an eighteen year old boyfriend, at a time when the gay age of consent was still (absurdly) twenty one. This was in 1997, when Murdoch had decided that the third-term and hopelessly out of touch Tory government was no longer capable of winning the election. Besides, Jerry wasn't popular, being on the left wing of the Tory party.

Consequently...
TORY MP 2-TIMED WIFE WITH UNDER-AGE GAY LOVER.

According to The Guardian he later thanked then feature writer Rebekah Wade for the way she'd handled the story.

She'd written the fucking thing. He knew she was responsible for the story.

He was the victim.

And he thanked her.

Yeah. Chilling, as The Sun is so fond of saying.

The question on everyone's lips at the moment is What Does This Woman Know? She must know something even more scandalous than the unbelievable shitstorm already swirling over Britain - it's the only possible explanation for her remaining in her job as CE of News International. Right?

Well, maybe. Or maybe it's simpler than that. And sadder. Murdoch refers to her as his 'Fifth Daughter'.

I was making my way through this blog post by the wonderful Adam Curtis and came to the Panorama segment from the early 1980s. In it someone (Can't remember who, I'm afraid, but it's worth a watch) explains that Rupert Murdoch has no friends outside of his blood relations. None. Not one. He only has people who are useful to him. His only friend was his wife, Anna. Anna and Rupert's thirty one year marriage ended in 1999.

So maybe that's the real hold Rebekah Brooks has over Rupert Murdoch - she's his friend. His only friend.

Maybe I'm crediting the old bastard with too much heart, but how sad and ironic would it be if he'd finally learned to love. And that the object of this love was one of his own rotten ilk - a stone-cold sociopath who doesn't have friends, just people who are useful to her.

Horrible thought, isn't it?

Comments

( 4 monkey screeches — Screech at me )
sjkasabi
Jul. 10th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty intermittently on lj at the moment, but when I do get on I always hope I find something you've written before the baby wakes up or the tram arrives or whatever. Just sayin'.
annajaneclare
Jul. 10th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
Aw. Thank you - that's nice.
drbunsen
Jul. 18th, 2011 11:22 am (UTC)
That was an excellent post. I am reminded of Mr Burns and his constant sad quest for connection.
drbunsen
Jul. 18th, 2011 11:22 am (UTC)
And when I say constant of course I mean intermittent >_>
( 4 monkey screeches — Screech at me )