Our Common Good

Walden Media is unique in Hollywood in possessing the will and the expertise to effectively promote the cause of education reform. Its conservative Christian CEO, the billionaire donor and strategist for right-wing causes Philip Anschutz, has built what may be the only media empire ideologically inclined and powerful enough to assemble an all-star, all-union cast to carry water for an anti-union crusade on 2,500 screens in wide release (though apparently not strong enough to get that cast to admit it). “Won’t Back Down” is, as even teachers’ union leader Randi Weingarten admits, an emotionally charged and well-crafted piece of propaganda. For neophytes to the debate — and Walden executive Chip Flaherty has described these people as the film’s target — “Won’t Back Down” will send warm “Stand and Deliver”-meets-”Free Willy”-style fuzzies fluttering around the otherwise cold phrase “school choice.” The company hopes the film’s emotional wallop will linger long enough to drive downloads of the film’s activist tool kit and enlist new foot soldiers in the education reform movement. But the thing is, “Won’t Back Down” is no more useful in understanding the real politics of that movement than Walden Media’s adaptation of “Charlotte’s Web” prepares audiences for careers in chicken farming. But that’s not the point — Walden is aiming for the heart, not the head.

Tensions within the world’s most powerful media family were dramatically laid bare on Thursday when Elisabeth Murdoch set out her own vision of media leadership, emphasising humanity over profit and criticising her father’s News Corporation for operating with an absence of values.

Giving the keynote MacTaggart address at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, Rupert Murdoch’s second daughter also explicitly contradicted her brother James, chose to praise the BBC, and argued that the Olympics experience demonstrates that television is a force for storytelling rather than a route to political power.

Speaking in public for the first time about the phone-hacking affair, which prompted her to fall out with her brother a year ago, Elisabeth Murdoch said that News Corp had to ask “significant and difficult questions about how some behaviours fell so far short of its values” in the wake of what happened.

She said the lesson from the affair was that any organisation needed to “discuss, affirm and institutionalise a rigorous set of values based on an explicit statement of purpose” - in contrast to News Corp’s traditional mode of governance based on executives second-guessing what Rupert would do.

The cri de coeur from the 44-year-old, who runs Shine Television, the News Corp-owned maker of programmes such as Masterchef and Merlin, will be interpreted as a bid for power at her father’s company - although her friends insisted she had no desire to lead the company her father built, which spans from Fox News in the US to the Sun in Britain.


Elisabeth Murdoch took aim at her younger brother James in an extended passage that referred to his own controversial MacTaggart lecture given three years ago.

That speech ended with James - weeks before the Sun switched to the Conservatives - observing that “the only reliable, durable and perpetual guarantor of independence is profit”.

Elisabeth said that while loss-making media organisations had their independence “massively challenged”, her brother’s statement nevertheless “left something out”.

Making little effort to soften the rift with her younger brother, she added: “Profit without purpose is a recipe for disaster.”



Report: Rupert Murdoch has resigned as director of a string of companies behind The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times - The Telegraph


Today’s most amazing tweet…
Love it when irony bites people in the butt.
Rupert Murdoch griping about Twitter abuse, when he hacked into hundreds of peoples’ private phone records? Give me a break!!
The only real “abuse” here is what you’re subjecting us to around the world with your drivel from Fox News, Sky News, New York Post, and your many other smaller affiliates.
That’s verbal and mental abuse to the extreme!


Today’s most amazing tweet…

Love it when irony bites people in the butt.

Rupert Murdoch griping about Twitter abuse, when he hacked into hundreds of peoples’ private phone records? Give me a break!!

The only real “abuse” here is what you’re subjecting us to around the world with your drivel from Fox News, Sky News, New York Post, and your many other smaller affiliates.

That’s verbal and mental abuse to the extreme!


By Charles P. Pierce

On a day when the full voice of the British government told the world that the media empire of Rupert Murdoch is a truthless, reckless enterprise, the journalistic equivalent of a hazardous waste dump, this story about the EPA guy who resigned really rather leaps with hobnailed boots on my very last nerve.

The Brits have give everyone who doesn’t work for a Fox News cover now. Nobody has to pay attention to what they say ever again because they are part of an organization unworthy of attention, let alone respect. Their little hobby-horses can be mocked, their little crusades ridiculed. And, certainly, the government of the United States can treat them like the half-assed crooks that they are.

But no.

Consider what happened here. This guy said these things two years ago. Nobody said anything, not even the local reporter covering the story. But a career whackaloon like James Inhofe opens his yap and lets the bats fly forth, Fox picks up the stupidity, and the guy resigns. My question is why did Lisa Jackson even care? Why couldn’t she simply have said, “Look, goober, we don’t have to pay attention every time you decide to gin up the rubes who watch your network, and we don’t have to care what Inhofe says, either, because his brain was used as a placemat at Golden Corral 10 years ago. Go sit over there on the Group W bench with the birthers and the UFO guy. We’ll get to you some time in 2017.” What is the political price to be paid here? Nobody who gets his urethra in a knot over something like this ever is going to support the president anyway. I don’t understand it and I never will.

Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/armendariz-resigns-8521588#ixzz1tn2FS2D5

Rupert Murdoch admitted there had been a “cover-up” of phone hacking at his flagship British tabloid newspaper and apologized Thursday for not paying more attention to a scandal that has convulsed his media empire and rocked the British political establishment.

And he admitted that he had shut down the best-selling News of the World out of “panic” in the face of public fury about the revelation that a murdered teenage girl had been a victim of phone hacking.

Murdoch, who owns the Sun and the Times in London, as well as controlling the Wall Street Journal, New York Post and Fox News, said his News Corp. had been a victim of the cover-up, not the perpetrator.


Circle your calendar, or set the Tivo, because PBS’ award-winningFrontline series has scheduled a documentary on the “News of the World” phone backing scandal that’s been roiling Britain’s ruling class for the past year.  In “Murdoch’s Scandal,” scheduled for March 27th, “correspondent Lowell Bergman tells the story of the battle over the future of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch’s reputation and his family’s fortunes.”  After James Murdoch resigned as CEO of News International, Bergman appeared on “The Takeaway” (Public Radio’s morning show) and explained it is so important to get to the bottom of this scandal and why it could top Watergate in the Political Hall of Shame:

“We’re talking about the involvement of every prime minister in Britain for the last quarter century,” says Bergman. “Equivalent of the White House, the FBI and the largest press organization or media organization in the country, all colluding, money changing hands, cover-up and all kinds of black arts in between.”

h/t: Aunty Em Ericann at NewsHounds

Using contentious barbs and comedic relief, Rupert Murdoch deflected attempts by angry investors to remove him as chairman of his News Corp empire at the company’s annual meeting on Friday.

[…] The report alleges that the Koch brothers’ companies routinely paid bribes to get contracts abroad, that they essentially usurped petroleum from federal lands, that they knowingly exposed consumers to benzene poisoning, and that they did business with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as recently as 2007. The Koches are perhaps the most far-right figures in American politics that do not actually wear white robes; their father was among the founders of the extremist John Birch Society.

But the cries of outrage won’t likely do any good. Their companies do $100 billion a year in business and each of the bothers is worth $20 billion. In the United States, which is ruled by its business class the way medieval England was ruled by the Norman aristocracy, being a billionaire is most often a get out of jail free card. Some troglodyte from the Wall Street Journal that CNN kept serving up to us for economic analysis actually once said on air that there is no point in punishing financiers guilty of securities fraud legally, since they are being taken out of the game and won’t be able to play the markets any more, and that is all the punishment anyone needs. It was like listening to a squire explain why his lord did not deserve to be drawn and quartered for his crimes because just not being able to visit the royal court was condign punishment in itself.

Those innocent of recent history are being overly breathless about this revelation. You want a billionaire trading illegally with Iran and a happy ending? How about numerous examples?

There is Iran-Contra, in which Ronald Reagan had his underlings steal T.O.W. missiles and missile launchers from the Pentagon warehouses, sell them illegally to Iran, take the black money paid by Ayatollah Khomeini to Reagan and launder it through Swiss accounts, and send it to right wing death squads in Nicaragua trying to overthrow the left leaning Sandinista government. The Right wing beatified Reagan and named an airport after him, and nobody ever brings up Iran-Contra any more. Rupert Murdoch made Oliver North, one of the conspirators who shredded the US constitution, a millionaire by putting him on television to tell us war fairy tales. read more


I love that Rupert still has to deal with this shit.


   Last November, News Corp. dropped $360 million to buy Wireless Generation, a Brooklyn-based education technology company that provides software, assessment tools, and data services. “When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the US alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs that extend the reach of great teaching,” Murdoch said at the time.

   News Corp.’s entrance into the education sector raises broader education policy questions, says University of Arizona education professor Kenneth Goodman. Having a multinational corporation in charge of assessing kids’ reading skills, he notes, shows that “decision making in education is so far removed from people who have anything to do with kids.” And like many educators, he is suspicious that Murdoch will bring his conservative ideology to his education ventures: “They’d like everything to be privatized.”

   Already, Murdoch’s phone-hacking baggage is hurting his bottom line. In late August, New York rejected its plans to contract with Wireless Generation. The reason, according to the state’s comptroller: “vendor responsibility issues involving the parent company of Wireless Generation.”

Murdoch, Right Wing, Republican SHIT.


Wilting Jack O'LanternRupert Murdoch

-Headline of the Day-
“News Corp. Ex-Employee Said Contacted in U.S.”

Crikey! Things may get very bad for a certain Australian gazillionaire very quickly — or, as they say down under, “Rupert Murdoch could find himself in a tin of Alice’s biscuits right spot Roger Winkly.” Something like that anyway.

It seems the feds would like to have a word with “a former [News Corp.] employee of a U.S. unit who claims knowledge of illegal activity at the company.” The said former employee, one Robert Emmel, a former account director at News America Marketing In-Store LLC, has firsthand knowledge of “hacking and possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”

A News Corp. spokesperson is blowing this off as trivial, but keep in mind that distortion is what News Corp. employees do. (Bloomberg)

-Mad Tea Party-
The Tea Party came to shake this up in Washington!

Click to embiggen

Boy, did they ever… (McClatchy)

-Bonus HotD-
“Perry’s Problem: Move To The Right On Social Security, Move To The Bottom In The General Election.”

Rick Perry’s numbers have been dropping like a stone since his Social Security views started getting coverage.

Seems people like socialism a lot more than Republicans think. (Talking Points Memo)

What are Rupert Murdoch, David and Charles Koch, Adolph Coors, Richard Mellon Scaife, and other billionaire advocates of unbridled capitalism after? They certainly are not worrying about sending their kids to college or paying their medical bills. Then what are they seeking? A psychiatrist might be better qualified to answer the question, but let me offer an amateur’s hunch, which arises from six decades of watching our legislatures, regulatory agencies, judiciary, public lands, mass media, and schools come under the influence, and often under the total control, of the richest Americans. What the free-enterprise billionaires are greedy for is not money but power, and not merely the power to take care of themselves and their families, which would be reasonable, but the power to have anything they want and do anything they want without limit, which is decidedly unreasonable. Anyone who has shared a house with a two-year-old or a fifteen-year-old has witnessed such a craving to fulfill every desire and throw off every constraint. Most children grow beyond this hankering for omnipotence. Those who carry the craving into adulthood may become sociopaths—incapable of sensing or caring for the needs of other people, indifferent to the harm they cause, reacting aggressively toward anyone or anything that blocks their will.

Roger Ailes, Fox News, Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Dick Armey, Freedom Works, Tom Donohue, Chamber Of Commerce,Tony Perkins, Family Research Council, Pat Robertson, Christian Coalition, Edwin Feulner, Heritage Foundation, Arthur Thompson, John Birch Society, Rupert Murdoch, News Corp, Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform, David  Bossie,Citizens United,Tim LaHaye,  Kenneth Cribb, Council for National Policy, James Dobson, Phyllis Schlafly, Edwin Feulner, Steven J. Law, American Crossroads, Family Research Council,Family Talk Radio, Eagle Forum, David Keene, American Conservative Union, NRA,Tim Wildmon, American Family Association, David Barton, Wallbuilders, Noble Ellington, American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, Edward Crane, Cato Institute

All of these people and their organizations pose a serious threat to the American people. They target women, senior citizens, minorities, homosexuals, non-Christians, and American workers. So which person or organization is the most dangerous to democracy? The common thread throughout the list is the Koch brothers. They have ties to many of the people and organizations on the list and share many of the same goals. If one were to remove the Koch brothers from the equation an important source of funding and leadership would be eliminated from the conservative sphere. The Koch brothers are by far the biggest threat to American values and institutions. The truly evil thing about this group is that NONE of these monsters are elected by the people. Yet they have more power and influence over our elected officials and system of law and government, than we do.