Having looked at a couple of different perspectives on Rebekah Brooks’ religion, I think that I would have to conclude that the only valid religious identity I could attribute to her would be: Murdochism, or possibly Murdochology.
I would base this partly on the idea that large organisations tend to operate a little like cults, and as I noted in my last post on the topic of Ms Brooks religion, News Corporation, has been noted to operate a little like a cult by others.
In this Murky context I am inspired to look to Sun Tsu, who would have advised identifying Murdoch’s strategy, and his strategic objectives.
Given Murdoch is these days not as forthcoming about what he thinks in political terms, it is perhaps more important to look at what he and his ‘news’ organisations have done, in political terms. It is tempting to look for a ‘right wing’ agenda in the way Murdoch and his companies have behaved, however this is not as clear cut as might be imagined. For although he clearly sided with Thatcher, and supported Major, he also supported Blair, though some would argue that Blair only got him onside, by pandering to his rightist views. Earlier in Australia he also supported John McEwen, and his party now known as the Australian National Party, and ‘News Limited’ briefly supported the Australian Labour Party before returning to type so to speak.
In the US reporting, suggests that he supported Hillary Clintons campaign to retain her New York Senate Seat in 2006, and Obama, in his 2008 presidential, campaign. Though recently he has provided $1M to the Republican Governors Association, $1M to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and served on the board of directors of the libertarian Cato Institute, founded by Edward H. Crane, who remains president and CEO, and Charles Koch CEO of .Koch Industries, Inc, Various reporting has suggested that Koch funds the ‘Tea party’ movement with Murdoch, who’s Fox news, provides free air time to the ‘Tea partyists’. I treat this last information with a little caution, as the sources are not mainstream papers, this of course doesn’t mean this is not true either.
There does seem to be a rightist leaning in this narrative, however to my mind the more significant agenda would seem to me the courting of power, and Seeking influence. McNight (2010) “Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation: A Media Institution with A Mission”, ‘Historical Journal of Film, Radio & Television, identifies four themes in Murdoch’s operations:
a) free market ideology;
b) unified positions on matters of public policy;
c) global editorial meetings;
d) opposition to a perceived liberal bias in other public media.
To these I would add:
a) Copyrighting ‘News’, (It’s in the titles of almost all his companies) or put another way controlling news.
b) Courting power of whichever tint, though his personal agenda tends towards ‘free market’ which is nominally seen as a rightist agenda, though my instincts say this is incidental to Murdoch personally. Rather it is the las point I add which I believe is most significant
c) Obtaining and sustaining power.
These items represent Murdoch’s strategic objectives, though in practice it is the last of these that I believe has come to dominate, since all the others lead to establishing and sustaining that one objective. This is quite similar to what drives a cult, though the leader is often more obviously charismatic, than Murdoch seems to be. However this is his public charisma, and cult leaders charisma is usually more potent in a personal sense, which may well be also true for Murdoch. However I firmly believe that for Murdoch it is the sense of being able to guide or direct the reporting of events, and so direct the event’s themselves.
I do not believe the crowing of his most disreputable British paper the Sun on Saturday 11 April 1992 was an accident, nor do I believe it reflected only the editorials staff’s view. “It’s The Sun Wot Won It” Seems more like the crowing of someone who had sought great power and believed rightly or wrongly that they had it in their hands.
And in the end this was Ms Brooks religion, she tied herself to the coat tails of the power agenda of Murdoch and his companies, the power to guide events, a sense of omnipotence.
In this context seeing all three in front of a Select committee today was somewhat satisfying, it seemed apparent to me that James Murdoch seemed to want to try and take control of the agenda at every opportunity. He wanted an opening Statement, he wanted to dictate the pace of the questioning, he wanted to deflect questions away from his father. All were put down, and he was told to wait his turn on more than one occasion. I thought that some reporting on his ‘performance’ was over generous, implying that he appeared ‘confident’, which was true he did appear confident, but unfortunately it was confidence without substance, he dithered extraordinarily at points, and answered very little.
Murdoch senior looked old, and frankly I found it hard not to imagine, that he was struggling seeing the trappings of the empire he has connived so hard to build, disintegrating around his ears. Ms Brooks to my mind seemed to have decided to appear as bland and uninteresting as possible, in lots of ways it seemed as though she wasn’t really there at all, which suggests that we were not seeing the real Ms Brooks.
As for Murdoch getting a pie in the face: well it made the security look bad, but other than that, it seemed to me just to drive home the point that, for the moment at least, Murdoch et al are on the receiving end of slapstick humour and are just generally the butt of the Joke.
It remains to be seen whether Cameron can survive his association with Coolson, Brooks, and Murdock. At least one bookie was giving odds of 16:1 that we would have a new PM by Sunday. Horses with longer odds than that have won the Grand National, and he has a lot of fences to jump yet.