What if Murdoch was a progressive?

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M.C.
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What if Murdoch was a progressive?

Postby M.C. » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:54 pm UTC

I've tried thinking about it a few times, but every time I find myself lost in a trillion variables. My question for you is this: What would the world be like if Rupert Murdoch was a progressive? Would elections have gone the other way? Would he be as successful? What would become of Fox and News Corp?
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CorruptUser
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Re: What if Murdoch was a progressive?

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:27 am UTC

Wait, define "Progressive". Because that could mean any number of political ideologies.

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Re: What if Murdoch was a progressive?

Postby bosonicyouth » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:43 pm UTC

I imagine it would have to approximately mean socially liberal (civil rights, anti-war, etc). If it were to mean left-wing we'd run into a paradox since a private individual who owns such a massive proportion of the world's media couldn't reasonably call themselves a left-winger.

But then we still run into problems. For a media corporation to be successful on the scale of News Corp requires:
- pro-business, pro-free market editorialising
- cozying up to the state to influence monopoly and anti-trust legislation
- scapegoating, fearmongering and general other-ing (it works)
- invasive amounts of advertising

These are all characteristics more or less proportional to the size of a media corporation. None of them I would call progressive even in a social liberal sense. This is the basic gist of manufacturing consent.

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Re: What if Murdoch was a progressive?

Postby Sharlos » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:49 pm UTC

He'd be broke.

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Re: What if Murdoch was a progressive?

Postby iChef » Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:06 am UTC

I think Sharlos hit it on the head. Fox News has a steady build in audience ready to eat up exactly what Fox is dishing out. They get higher ratings than any other TV news outlet in America. If demographics switched around over time and Fox was able to make the same amount of money or better doing a left slanted network I would make a bet with anyone that they'd do it in a heartbeat. Before Fox was launched the news media for decades had been accused of having a left wing slant (whether this is true or not is left as an exercise for the reader). Fox stepped in a filled a void on television that in retrospect seems too obvious to miss. Right wing taking heads were dominating radio at the time, wouldn't these same customers LOVE more of the same thing? Only on TV which is a much more popular medium (read: you can charge more for ads).

With the way we have freedom of the press in the States the government can't fully control all media completely, so this is the game they are currently playing.
IN order to get the good scoops and inside details you need to play nice with important people in government or they will shut you out as a news agency. But you still want to do some hard hitting stories and expose scandals, that sell papers/ad time. So you cozy up to one of the two parties to gain access and slam the opposing party to sell papers to the people who agree with your side. Your competitors do the same thing only in reverse. You end up with two sides taking pot shots at each other and stirring up drama, which sells LOTS of papers, commercials, books ect... and eventually if everyone feels like it some real reporting and or law making might get done by accident if there is time between the talk shows and the huge pointless rallies.
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Re: What if Murdoch was a progressive?

Postby stevenf » Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:07 am UTC

Politics is fickle, inconstant, prey to passing fashions and subordinate to financial muscle.

The electorate is apathetic, naive, misdirected by 'bread and circuses' and gullible to a breathtaking degree.

The published and broadcast media, the major link between politics and electorate, are facile, partisan, the playthings of the rich (like Murdoch) and are indifferent to ethics, reason or good sense/taste.

On the other hand, things change. Suppose, for the sake of discussion, that things deteriorated to such a degree that even the foam-flecked right began to notice that there was a problem. The vicious populist atavism for which they are known might change direction - I suspect they could be quite easily swayed by clever propaganda. Imagine the left having to restrain the attack dogs of the right who had just had their own Road to Damascus moment - and in the USA they are all armed to the teeth too.

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Re: What if Murdoch was a progressive?

Postby podbaydoor » Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:13 pm UTC

stevenf wrote:The published and broadcast media, the major link between politics and electorate, are facile, partisan, the playthings of the rich (like Murdoch) and are indifferent to ethics, reason or good sense/taste.

The business side, the administrators and business executives, maybe. There are thousands of reporters and even editors on the ground who are passionate for creating stories and telling them, for conveying the truth of the world, for informing, for fulfilling their function as the link between their audience and the world. I would like you to accuse the four NYTimes reporters who were captured and recently released in Libya, all experienced war reporters and award-winning, of being facile and partisan. Go on, do it.
tenet |ˈtenit|
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tenant |ˈtenənt|
noun
a person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.

stevenf
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Re: What if Murdoch was a progressive?

Postby stevenf » Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:02 pm UTC

Dear podbaydoor

How long have I got to familiarise myself with the detailed CVs of the four journalists you mention?

It is possible that you have alighted upon four paragons of spotless virtue but I remain sceptical. Having followed current affairs on a daily basis since the mid sixties I have become less and less trusting. In those areas of knowledge where I claim some advantage, the standards of reportage are distinctly lacking and I think it fair to suppose that similar limitations apply in other fields.

The opportunity for effective narrative, analysis and opinion is very limited - perhaps the blame is to be shared with an audience with the attention span of a gnat.

Being on the frontline, getting killed or captured or tortured, is not direct evidence of virtue. Fortitude and daring perhaps but how often does it reflect folly?

I will adhere to my views until I encounter objective evidence to counter them.

Stevenf

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podbaydoor
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Re: What if Murdoch was a progressive?

Postby podbaydoor » Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:20 pm UTC

It seems to me that you're settled into your glib, cynical assumption of the media. On one level, I can admit that some of the things you say in your post are probably true of some parts and some individuals in the field. But as a working journalist myself (though admittedly a new one), I've encountered lots of journalists who really believe in what they're doing and try to follow their ethical guidelines, despite the dictates of the corporate types who are running the show. I really take exception to your contention that every single journalist out there risking their lives to bring you stories of Somalia, Libya, Russia - which only until recently you wouldn't hear much from except through the bureaus that send reporters at great risk and expense - is utterly "indifferent" to ethics, reason, and good sense. No. As individuals, we are not. Tell that to a journalist who gets raped while covering Egyptian politics, and then goes back because the story isn't over yet and it needs to be told. Every day talented, highly educated writers turn out reams of good writing, which may admittedly be hard to ferret out in the noise of all the mediocre writing turned out at the same time, but given the rigorous portfolio requirements of any establishment that remotely cares about real journalism (I ought to know, I've been searching), your contention that we're all devoid of reason and good taste is simply the facile claim, even infuriatingly silly.

Maybe it pleases you to paint all of us with your self-righteous narrative, I don't know.

tl;dr I can agree with some of the things you said, but then you stuffed it full of stupid claims untrue of all the people I know, and completely confused actual journalists with business corporations.
tenet |ˈtenit|
noun
a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy : the tenets of classical liberalism.
tenant |ˈtenənt|
noun
a person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.

stevenf
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Re: What if Murdoch was a progressive?

Postby stevenf » Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:12 pm UTC

Many professions go in harm's way. I have had a gun drawn on me by a man who had served a long term in an institute for the criminally insane for murder. Alone in a remote rural hovel in the dead of night, save for a man with uncontrolled acute hypomania, I have had a woodsman's axe buried in a door frame a few inches from my head. I have been subject to other less dramatic incidents that were also unsettling. It's not a contest - at least not for my part.

We appear to agree that the chief vexation is the suits. Of which profession is that not true?

What can we do to allow the professions to shine despite the suits?

How can excellence be best promoted?

I offer the suggestion that journalism might again cleave to the Reithian principles - "The term 'Reithianism' describes certain principles of broadcasting associated with Lord Reith. These include an equal consideration of all viewpoints, probity, universality and a commitment to public service. It can be distinguished from the free-market approach to broadcasting, where programming aims to attract the largest audiences or advertising revenues, ahead of - and, in practice, often contrary to - any artistic merit, impartiality, educative or entertainment values, that a programme may have."(Wikipedia) The principles are sometimes abbreviated: '- to inform, educate and entertain'.

It's for want of encountering the right kind of journalist that I hold the views that I do. If you are at the start of your career then I challenge you to prove me wrong. Become eminent for all the right reasons - inform, educate and entertain, don't get shot up or worse. The suits may be your paymasters but the public need you to be excellent despite that.

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Re: What if Murdoch was a progressive?

Postby PeterCai » Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:25 pm UTC

If there's no fox, there will be some other right wing medias, simply because there's a market for it.

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Re: What if Murdoch was a progressive?

Postby podbaydoor » Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:24 pm UTC

@stevenf:
I also dislike the current state of requiring media outlets to turn a profit, the free market approach. However, your Lord Reith left out proposals for keeping journalists fed and buying their equipments. Who is funding these efforts to "inform, educate, and entertain"? (At the moment I doubt the American government will - first, conflict of interest, and second, the Republicans appear to be allergic to the very idea).
tenet |ˈtenit|
noun
a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy : the tenets of classical liberalism.
tenant |ˈtenənt|
noun
a person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.

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Re: What if Murdoch was a progressive?

Postby Dark567 » Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:18 pm UTC

podbaydoor wrote:@stevenf:
I also dislike the current state of requiring media outlets to turn a profit, the free market approach.
They certainly aren't required. The Minnesota Post, St. Louis Beacon, Washington Independent are all non-profit. C-Span although owned by a for-profit company, provides services much like a non-profit. Profit and non-profit coexist. It's just that for whatever reason, people have seemed to decide they prefer the for-profit media more, probably due to its sensationalism.

On Murdoch, he almost certainly isn't as conservative as Fox News is. He openly supported Clinton in her senate campaign and allowed his papers to endorse Obama. He runs a business attempting to meet consumers demands. He will cater to any view point that makes his business stronger, whether its selling tabloids, a business paper, or right wing propaganda.
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Re: What if Murdoch was a progressive?

Postby stevenf » Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:23 pm UTC

Reith's ideas are best viewed through the prism of the world view that held sway at the time, they are much harder to hold in focus now.

I hope that we can move toward a communitarian future in which the limitations of the neoliberal free market capitalist hegemony that we are presently 'enjoying' are diminished and the commons, equality and rising social capital, which must underpin a civilised world order, can gain traction. In such a future the things we both hope for may be possible.


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