As the Rupert Murdoch scandal drags on, we are certainly getting a high calorie intake of phony innocence on the part of the public, and self-righteous drivel and comprehensive deceptions practiced and peddled by the pundit class. Whether News Corp’s breaches of ethics and law are minor or significant in its hacking of phone records has become secondary to the phenomenon of public spectacle. In other words, entertainment and situation comedy, albeit tragic, like O.J. Simpson, Clinton/Lewinsky and Michael Jackson.
The next step would be to foist Andy Coulson, Rebekah Brooks and selected others to sit down with Dr. Drew Pinsky and his celebrity Rehab. Perfect for these histrionic low-tier celebrities, and its ceaseless luridness would fit seamlessly into News of the World’s more feel-good offerings on their projected catharsis into re-born ethical fledglings. Their addiction problems are probably more profane than Pinsky’s standard fare but likely to claim the same dosage of wrath and horrible confusion.
The affable though contrived Dr. and his aggressively indifferent staff would be a fitting juxtaposition. With all the deaths of Rehab alumni- Starr and Conaway- the Murdoch crew could be in for a dangerous gig. Think of it as paying Rebekah Brooks to be an informant. This kind of public, invasive detox also has a twist: Dr. Pinsky has an interest in the outcome of their treatment being captivating to viewers, which is likely not in their interests. Nonetheless it would be entertaining to view these basically sick, violent and disagreeable failures vomit out their guts and despair for our pleasure.
The Plan B would be to coerce James Murdoch to do an episode of Undercover Bosses. ….
But the power of the media. It may go back to Walter Lippman, a foreign and domestic policy critic and an important theorist of liberal democracy.He asserted that what he called a “revolution in the art of democracy,” could be used to manufacture consent. In other words, like Egar Bernays, to bring about agreement on the part of the public for things that they didn’t want by the new techniques of propaganda.
Lippman’s theory was that in a democracy there are classes of citizens; importantly the first of all the class of citizens are those who take some active role in running general affairs, a specialized class that’s a small percentage of the population. The rest, excluded from the elite group, the vast majority, they are what Lippman termed the bewildered herd, of which all efforts have to be done to protect ourselves from the potential trampling and rumblings of the bewildered herd. To be tamed through triviality, sports, celebrity, anything to divert attention, of which the role of the press was to assume an importance of measurable significance.
CHOMSKY: Well, yeah, right. But actually, the New York Times to my surprise wrote a very favorable review, or what I’m sure they took to be a favorable review. They assigned it to Vincent Canby, who’s kind of an old-time New Dealer, he was the big cultural critic at the Times forever, and he wrote a review which I’m sure everybody at the Times took to be very favorable. It said something like, oh yeah, really interesting guy, wonderful film, so on and so forth. Then it said, obviously there’s nothing to what he’s saying, of course it’s all nonsense — but it was very sympathetic….
…Then it got really interesting. It said, though what he’s saying is all nonsense, nevertheless the leading idea is worth taking seriously, even though it sounds crazy. And the leading idea, Canby said, is that the government is only responsive to the fifty percent of the population who vote, not to the fifty percent who don’t vote, so therefore we ought to try to register more people. He said, yeah, this sounds pretty far out in left field, but nevertheless we shouldn’t discount it totally, something like that.4 It just flew by him completely — he didn’t see what the film was about. I mean, the most illiterate T.V. reviewer in Tasmania didn’t miss the point like that, it’s only in the United States that it has to be completely missed. And that’s what it means to “think properly.” Read More:http://www.chomsky.info/books/power02.htm…
Whether the Chomsky world view or that of the Frankfurt school has merit is basis of discussion. Perhaps more pertinently in the Murdoch case is his strange little world he created for a large chunk of Britain’s political and entertainment class. Kind of a cross between Brave New World and Kafka; People wonder what does Murdoch think of them, Does he even think of them? What does Murdoch know or care and how could one find out? Like Kafka, there can be no appeal. Maybe the British political Kahunas should appear on Pinsky’s. If Murdoch was paying cash to politicians its like giving money to an addict and sending them into the wilds where they will score and use.The ghost of the Marquis de Sade shadows these hearings: After all, why are these prestigious politicians ( Louise Mensch what an ironic name) willing to strike such saddening postures of deference. As some pundits have remarked, it may be to gratify a sadism on Murdoch’s behalf or a latent and profound masochism within themselves. Yes, this spectacle is all about the naughty bits.
…Chomsky:In fact, it’s extremely important for people with power not to let anybody understand this, to make them think there are big leaders around who somehow get things going, and then what everybody else has to do is follow them. That’s one of the ways of demeaning people, and degrading them and making them passive. I don’t know how to overcome this exactly, but it’s really something people ought to work on. Read More:http://www.chomsky.info/books/power02.htma
Terence Corcoran: Before we review the governance attacks on News Corp., another observation: News Corp. also appears set to become a case study for a morally unhinged overview of corporate organization and responsibility. Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management in Toronto, wrote in The Globe and Mail the other day that Mr. Murdoch cannot disavow responsibility for the hacking at News Corp. tabloids. Dean Martin compared Mr. Murdoch to Colonel Oran Henderson, the brigade commander who said he wasn’t responsible for the Vietnam War execution of up to 500 women and children at My Lai….
…The New York Times, a newspaper that traffics in stolen WikiLeaks emails as opposed to hacked phone records, produced a story that claimed the British hacking scandal — involving a dozen or so News Corp. employees out of some 50,000 — was a reflection of the company’s “crony board” of directors. “This is a board that qualifies for an ‘F’ in every category,” said Nell Minow, a director of an outfit called GovernanceMetrics International, a professional harasser of corporations that do not meet high standards of ESG — ESG being the new post-CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) acronym. It stands for “environment and social governance.”…Read More:http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/07/22/terence-corcoran-unfounded-attack-on-murdoch/