“Murdoch wants to turn Sky News into right-wing news channel like Fox” (contd. p94)

John Rentoul

jeremy hunt pic ap 368630573 300x242 Murdoch wants to turn Sky News into right wing news channel like Fox (contd. p94)The Daily Mash sums up the “With One Bound Both Jeremy Hunt and Rupert Murdoch Were Free” dilemma for many of us:

One of the greatest Guardian reader conspiracy theories of the last 20 years was under threat last night after Rupert Murdoch agreed to sell Sky News.

Dozens of left-wing people across north London warned their lives would be rendered hollow and meaningless unless Murdoch was given free rein to turn Sky into an ultra-right wing news channel pumping Christian free-market hate ideology into the homes of millions of lower middle class sheep.

I vaguely agreed with the “Who ever thought Rupert Murdoch would get his way?” sarcasm that greeted the terms of the deal. Until I went in to the Commons to hear Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, make his statement. Now, I am a Hunt-sceptic as much as I am a Murdoch-sceptic. All this talk of him as a possible future Conservative leader leaves me puzzled. But the fixture was a no-contest.

Ivan Lewis, Labour’s culture spokesman, asked some perfectly reasonable questions. Hunt then rose to point out that Lewis had not said whether the Opposition were for or against the deal.

Other Labour MPs made points of varying degrees of rhetorical overkill (honourable exception: Kerry McCarthy, who hit on the nice trick of simply reading out a constituent’s email, thus giving direct expression to popular scepticism). But Hunt’s response was simple: it didn’t matter what his motives were, as he had acted on the advice of the regulator, Ofcom.

Labour were completely unable to summon up the beginnings of any sort of case against the deal. Not even Chuka Umunna.

The real argument against Murdoch taking full control of Sky-Minus-Sky-News has been advanced only by Andrew Neil: it is that the cash generated by SMSN could be used to fund an anti-competitive price war in the newspaper market.

That is an argument to which The Independent and Independent on Sunday are sensitive. It is not only Guardian readers who have reasons to be wary of Murdoch. We have been here before, having to fight against the price-cutting of The Times in the 1990s.

But Hunt could hardly have over-ruled the advice of the independent regulator on the basis that Murdoch (father, son or daughter) might use SMSN to subsidise a newspaper price war in future. Any proprietor with deep pockets might start a price war at any time.

Hunt’s decision was the right one.

Photograph: AP

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  • tomkyle

    Phoney baloney. How could you narrow the focus to apprise yourself of the motives of a player who is embroiled in the politics of many, many countries? But he is involved in and backs businesses that are not making money: but they do access the movers and shakers that he is truly focused on. He is The Digger motivated by power: money is merely the means to the end.

  • tomkyle

    You are truly bonkers. I’m guessing as this is your first post that you are a troll. Otherwise you could not have attempted such a contentious and nonsensical assertion without any supporting evidence or intelligence. You are just ‘putting it out there’ for the reactionary and reflexive.

  • ineluctable2u

    Blair was the first cat that got the cream. Cameron is simply trying to emulate him bereft of any policy ideas of his own as he is… We are really talking about a pair of superficial PR and empty talking heads that have brought untold harm to our troops in the field and our workers at home. They simply don’t genuinely care and have introduced policies to prove it. The only decent thing that Blair’s regime introduced was the minimum wage and that was thanks to the far more honest and straightforward Gordon Brown.

  • ineluctable2u

    What as in “eyes wide shut”? Come on now. Murdoch has used his money to buy a sizeable bit of American media. Not to make money but to promulgate right wing claptrap masquerading as unbiased and honest news! How can you be so naive in your view? It is stunning.

    Look at Sky. Or do you imagine this is some unbiased and perhaps even vaguely ‘liberal’ outfit?

  • Richard_SM

    Yes, and the Observer supported the Iraq War as well. And your point was?

  • Richard_SM

    But nowhere near as illogical as this:

    I don’t have a problem with the BBC, but that doesn’t make you right.”

    That certainly puts you ahead of the field in the ‘Chump of the Month’ award with that one. I wish you luck, but I doubt you’ll need it.

  • David Lienard

    My point is that Murdoch’s influence is unelected. As such it is undemocratic, And in America Fox News is so blatantly extremely right wing biased that if he was allowed to introduce a similar news outlet here he would have even more influence and because of his semi Fascist sympathies he would create an unbalanced news service!!!

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