by Ben P
Wed Dec 14th, 2005 at 04:43:44 AM EST
from the diaries. What do you think? I have added a poll.-- Jérôme
I'm not naive enough to think this will make even a modest impact on the media baron's business, but I do think that it represents an important symbolic gesture - and also, in its own small way, a method of shutting out Murdoch's voice from one modest internet forum. What does this boycott entail?
I envision no links to or mentions of any media source run by Murdoch: in particular, Sky, the Times, and the Sun. Murdoch, is one of the greatest threats to genuine democracy in the western world, internally. I could go into various reasons why I think this, but generally I think he is an authoritarian plutocrat obsessed with wielding disproportionate and undemocratic influence on the political processes of the various countries within which he operates. I think he as achieved this goal with relative success in two nations, Great Britain and Australia, and with less success in a third (the United States, although he has some success here). I also don't think it is accidental that the two English speaking nations where his presence is minimal generally have more progressive body politics (NZ and Canada). It is also quite clear that the editorial line of his media outlets, especially the ones he deems most important, do not have significant editorial independence. If they did, would it be credible that all 241 outlets he owns worldwide would have editorialized in favor of the Iraq War? I don't think so.
One major criticism I can see to this strategy is that it is fundamentally illiberal. I don't think this is particularly significant criticism, and I do not think "unilaterally disarming" is a sensible tactic in the combat that is ideological politics. We simply don't have the luxury.
A second, more significant criticism is that it is important to know how important segment of opinion thinks, even if we disagree with it. Well, indeed, yes: but if you want to understand the British right, the Telegraph and the Mail (or even, the Express) are both more widely read than the Sun and the Times, as well as more reflective of grassroots Tory opinion. Both are strongly anti-Europe, but this does reflect an important segment of British thought. But unlike Murdoch's empire, I do not think either paper's is as reflective of a large scale effort on the part of one man to surrepticiously and decisively frame the public debate in ways that reflect his own predilictions and desired outcomes. Basically, and this I address to Jerome in particular, my goal here is to substitute the Telegraph for the Times (as the tabloids are less important in the nature of this site's discourse) as the "go to" source for British conservative opinion.
To conclude, it is my belief that one of the most important goals the "blogosphere" can have, especially for those who define themselves somehow as "left of center," is to use the potential power of this medium to shift public discourse in a way that is favorable to more progressive political solutions. This is certainly Murdoch's understanding of media, and he has used his power quite effectivelty to embed his brand of rightist, authoritarian neo-liberalism. We should do the same, but to different ends. And this strikes me as one relatively easy, small step in doing so.