Wednesday, 20 March 2013
There is no 'Free'Press
Over the past few days we have witnessed a torrent of comment from our beloved 'free' press attacking the somewhat piddling little reforms passed in the Commons.
Lets first of all get the reforms out of the way, they are insignificant in the scale of things, I doubt very much if Murdoch and any of his acolytes lost a millisecond of sleep over the percieved threat to the freedom of the press!
The Royal Charter was simply an excuse for a bunch of self indulgent parliamentarians to slap each other on the back in the chamber,before they sloped off to lick Rupert's arse in private.
'We have a Free Press'-I don't think so!
The last time anyone in this country seriously challenged the power of the rich by using a newspaper was John Wilkes when he published 'The North Briton' that upset Lord Bute and George the 3rd.
Wilkes was declared an outlaw and even imprisoned,but it was all a bit of a stooshie that really was a falling out amongst a bunch within the ruling elite.
Wilkes posed as a bit of a radical at the time,and the London mobs were fired by the slogan 'Wilkes and Liberty',but quite soon the MP for Middlesex became a magistrate in London, put down the Gordon Riots with considerable violence and strongly disapproved of the French Revolution.
The simple fact is that a free press would imply the it was pluralist and represented all strands of opinion,that as well as impartial reporting of events,the press would act in an investigative way and hold the executive to account!
Instead of which it has always been the property of the rich and powerful, and as Thompson once said"a licence to print money"(he was in fact talking about owning TV stations-same difference)
Newspapers represnt class interests as surely as aristocrats own thousands of acres of our land and oligarchs own everything else.
Consider for a moment who is making the most noise against the Royal Charter- The Sun and the Times owned by News International(prop.R Murdoch), The Mail- Associated Newspapers(Rotheremere) The Express Group,The Telegraph group(owned by the Barclay Brothers, and so it goes on!
We are of course reminded that the Mirror is on the side of working peop0le-oh sure,Trinity Mirror is a group owned by it's readers?
Then there is the Independent and the Guardian,alleged bastions of radical thought.
Well it's true they employ a few radical journalists,but essentially they are the human shields for newspapers that uphold the status quo.
There have in the past been newspapers that supported organised labour, the Daily Herald was once owned by the TUC, but it succumbed the a savage circulation war and was eventually turned into the bland Sun that itself became the vicious and ignorant Sun of Murdoch.
There was also Reynolds News, a Sunday owned by the Co-op movement, but it too was killed by being unable to attract advertising.
So our 'free press' is really a creature of powerful owners with a specific political agenda,in the 1930's Lord Rotheremere ran a campaign in his Daily Mail-'Hurrah for the Blackshirts'-supporting Sir Oswald Mosley's fascists.
Today how 'free' is the press that requires Blair to rush to Murdoch to get his endorsement,which of course he later changed to support Cameron, and now it would appear the old 'newspaperman' is frolicking with Nigel Farage.
As long as newspapers and other media outlets are owned by a handful of wealthy interests then there is no freedom.We like the illusion that our media is democratic,but of course that is an illusion.Opposition voices may get a hearing,but the dominant voice is always that of the establishment.
If you want to hear people like Len McCluskey or Bob Crow then the only place you'll find them is in the minuscule circulation papers like the Morning Star.
Of course the democrats will chant-we have a free press,look we let the Morning Star publish, and look too we let opposition voices put their case in occasional articles in 'mainstream' newspapers.
Why the Chronicle & Echo even allows that eccentric old radical Dickie.J. a monthly column to rant almost at will!
We will not have a free press until the ownership of the media is distributed fairly amongst all sections of the community, and its scope and influence is not dettermined by the whim of an individual owner of the powerful advertisers lobby.
It is perhaps a salutary fact that in the middle of the nineteenth century the New York Times published articles from Germany written by none other than Karl Marx.