Q - What do you call a media empire that has been deliberately used to shape public opinion in favor of the Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libyan wars?
A - A Weapon of Mass Destruction
To me, that's not an overstatement. According to PressTV, Murdoch admitted that his "media empire had done its best to shape public opinion of the wars". Given this, and also that FOX News was the most watched news network for coverage of the Iraq war between 2003 and 2006 (according to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), it's clear to me that the Fox News outfit has earned its distinction as perhaps the first Weapon of Mass Destruction of the Media Kind (related to WMD of the Financial Kind, the derivatives that caused the foreclosure disaster).
Fox has uniquely been able to influence the masses of viewers as well as decision-makers that these wars have been good to fight. And they have been -- for News Corporations' profits. And at the expense of thousands upon thousands of Iraq, Afghan, now Libyan, Pakistani people's and US soldiers' lives.
I think it's a general universal law that your ends determine your means, so if one of the main ends of the Murdoch empire was to promote military aggression in the Middle East for the sake of economic and cultural dominance (this has also been shown through Murdoch's comments and practices over the years), then it came as no surprise to me whatsoever that his media empire would use means characteristic of police and military aggression to pump out their own Texas tea (in this case, sensationalist and outright inhumane material to sell New of the World).
Hacking into phones. A classic surveillance tactic with a history of use and abuse against war resisters, human rights activists, and revolutionaries. It may be a new low of barbarism to have used this tactic against a family desperate to find their missing child.
But such are the consequences of the marriage of military, corporate, and media empire.
And of course there's the war at home that Fox has waged on people of color, especially African-Americans and Latinos -- through its gleeful airing of the likes of Glenn Beck, Patrick Buchanan, and Bill O'Reilly not to mention the host of new younger pundits who spew the same crap. The Center for Media Justice monitored Fox radio in the mid 2000s, and Color of Change has recently tracked the many racist trangressions of Fox broadcasting and has a Turn off Fox online campaign. One thing's for sure - Fox does not subscribe to the generally liberal delusion of a colorblind society.
The horrors of their racist, deceptive, and violence-inciting coverage must end.
This could be accomplished by say, completely dismantling of the Fox "News" empire. Short of that, we need to continue to confront the racism, the threats, the lies, and undermine Fox's authority to pass as "news". Strip it of its political influence, and starve it of its advertising resources.
Murdochalypse is a good beginning to this end.
A couple years ago, most of us would have thought Murdoch was too big to fail. But he overstretched his empire, and in this moment I can't resist quoting Jimmy Cliff - "The Harder They Come, The Harder They'll Fall -- One and All"
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the entire War Times project
Jen Soriano is a Pinay writer, communications strategist, and musician based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She is communications coordinator for the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, an alliance of mass-based organizations connecting local struggles in the U.S. with international movements for human rights, economic justice, and global well-being. She is also a co-founder and board chair of the Center for Media Justice.
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