Rupert Murdoch has ruthlessly bulldozed Tony Abbott into slashing government funding for the ABC, Australia's most abundant source of generally accurate and fair news reporting, entertainment and general interest for nearly a hundred years.
Murdoch was following in the footsteps of his father, Sir Keith Murdoch, who tried for many years to bully former Prime Minister Robert Menzies into doing the same thing — selling and commercialising the ABC. But Menzies knew how important the ABC was to Australians, particularly in the years of the wars with Germany and Japan. He knew its importance and popularity in Australia and any attempt to commercialise it would be fatal to his or any other government.
No other source in Australia could possibly provide the level of services the ABC offered both in wartime and peacetime. Links with the BBC in London produced such events as the Normandy invasion in real time broadcasting. In peacetime, the ABC was the first choice for international cricket and the Olympic Games.
Keith Murdoch had to be satisfied with one licence to operate a commercial radio station in Melbourne and, later, two television station licences — one in Melbourne and another in Brisbane.
But the Murdochs, father and son, were greedy as always. For two generations they have wanted everything: to control all the news as they chose in their own way and to publish it and gain the political power that came with it, and to make vast sums of money through advertising.
Rupert Murdoch's Foxtel in Australia and Fox News in the U.S. are carrying on the family tradition, with Rupert's two sons hanging on to take over at the appropriate time.
Foxtel uses our taxes – yours and mine – to provide services snitched from the ABC free of charge to present it on the Foxtel service. It has been revealed that it costs the ABC – and therefore taxpayers – $6 million a year for the privilege of broadcasting its content on Foxtel.
Is this fair? Murdoch's Foxtel steals programs from ABC-TV without any payment, then forces Abbott to cut ABC costs! http://t.co/nKpiuMc6Uy— Rodney E Lever (@rodneyelever) December 1, 2014
For Rupert, the news and information and entertainment services come from his 21st Century Fox, not only to fund American TV, but to also support the money-losing side of his publishing empire in Australia and the United States.
In England, his papers still make a profit, but their future operations may lie in the hands of an incoming Labor government when the continuing police investigations are concluded. Also at risk are his huge TV investments in the UK and Europe.
In the U.S. his future is governed by the continuing investigations being carried out by Scotland Yard and the FBI as they continue collecting evidence into who paid the bribes to secure favors from government officials.
In the meantime and for a foreseeable future, Rupert's U.S. Fox TV operates mainly by a cable network spanning most of the American states.
As long as Murdoch is allowed to use the U.S. cable system he will be able to continue and expand. Cable operators pay fees to Murdoch's Fox for the services provided while the cable system itself is in the final control of the U.S. government through the Federal Communications Commission.
The worst result would be a conviction that would have enormous consequences for his companies and his shareholders.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License