Bloomberg News is making a revealing documentary about Rupert Murdoch and has asked former News Ltd executive Rodney E. Lever to contribute his thoughts.
BLOOMBERG NEWS, the USA online financial service in fierce competition with Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, a few years ago produced an hour-long video that gave Murdoch credit as a hard-driving, hard-nosed businessman who had spent a lifetime creating massive wealth for himself.
That video was partly hosted by Mungo MacCallum, whom I knew in Melbourne many years ago when he was a reporter on the now defunct Melbourne Truth newspaper. Murdoch shut down that paper and fired its entire staff when his mother complained that the paper was upsetting her wealthy friends.
The United States makes heroes of ruthless business barons. But when they crash, they disappear into oblivion.
Now Bloomberg is working on another Murdoch epic.
This one will be a deeper analysis of his character. I have been interviewed in some detail for this new feature.
Bloomberg has also interviewed John Menadue — a distinguished diplomat, social commentator, private secretary to former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and, for a short time, my boss at News Limited, when I was the Queensland general manager, until he too resigned from the company.
And where is Rupert now? Somewhere ‒ probably in his office in New York ‒ or wherever else he has a telephone at his fingertips to call the former editor of the New York Post, Col ‘Pot’ Allan, who is now the effective editor of the Daily Telegraph in Sydney and provisional head of all the other Australian papers.
Rupert calls every day about what is going on in Australia.
He wants to know the headlines and the political stories. That’s all he cares about. That is how he runs his life now, keeping himself out of sight, giving the dirty work to others.
Australia is very much on his mind, because he will probably flee here eventually. It will be all he has left.
Scotland Yard in London has a team of detectives at work probing the activities of News Corporation all over the world, and no doubt with the cooperation of the FBI. Rupert’s executives in the head office in New York are nervously chewing on their fingernails while they figure out what to do and how they might get rid of him.
Should they walk out? Should they call a special board and shareholders meeting to have Rupert removed from the company by a unanimous vote? Unlikely, for Rupert’s own holding and those of his family might make that impossible.
On the other hand, Rupert could fire them all and replace them with himself and Lachlan and James. What a schemozzle that would be!
Waiting in the wings is his greedy ex-wife Wendi, who wants to tear up their pre-nuptial agreement and grab at least half of the entire wealth he has amassed in his years of success. Not only has she hired New York’s best pre-nup lawyer, but she also knows where the bodies are buried and where the secret tax-free money is stashed.
The trash newspapers around Australia are showing the strain, as they throw everything they can at the Rudd Labor Party. The election of an Abbott coalition (which is not really a coalition these days when the old Country Party doesn’t exist anymore, now they have a National Party which is just a Liberal Party by another name).
Australia has never seen such a ruthless attack on its population as exists in the current election period. Many of our voting punters are so busy with their lives and keeping their jobs and looking after their families that they have little time to study politics in the three-year period between elections.
For four weeks every three years, they are bombarded with a lot of bull — false promises, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die lies and similar junk. So often we don’t get the government we deserve. Instead we get the government with the best spin and the most money to spend, and months later we realise with anger that once again we have been conned.
The Murdoch Media Monopoly is using every weapon in its power and every lie they can manufacture to distract the voters.
Those of us who remember back to the election of 2007, when the country finally threw out the Murdoch directed Howard government after ten years of lazy, slipshod self-serving economic management, and involving Australia in wasteful and useless wars and a refugee problem that they could not control and resorted to vicious, sickening lies. Have they anything else to offer now except slippery talk?
This election campaign seems to be all about the prospect of saving Rupert so he can come back here when the British and American governments use their combined power to bring his infamous career to a screeching halt. A Coalition government would welcome him. A Labor government would not.
In all truth, whatever the outcome on September 7, the Government does have a record in today’s considerably devilish climate of producing good results and mostly good management. The change in leadership was unfortunate and forced on them only by the thuggish behaviour of the Coalition and the plots dreamed up by evil-minded people like Malcolm Thomas Brough and Christopher Maurice Pyne.
In the term now ending, the Coalition’s activity has been one of attack, attack, attack! In a dreadfully difficult Parliament, the Labor Party under Julia Gillard did achieve an enormous amount of good things, while the Coalition benches offered nothing but abuse and insults.
Its treatment of Australia’s first women prime minister was an embarrassment to Australia all over the world. It was childish, ugly and sickening. The Coalition could have recognised the problems of a hung parliament and contributed something useful that would have given them a real claim to be a serious government.
Now, with only days to go, it is coming out with nonsensical ideas giving the voter little chance to scrutinise. If it does get elected it will be the worse for all of us.
Finally, here is a secret. I have already voted pre-poll. But you’ll have to guess which side I voted for.
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