Rupert Murdoch takes voluntary redundancy at News …. Murdoch’s anti-beard psychosis explained … why his sons Lachlan and James have grown beards … the demise of Roger Ailes … Julie Bishop and Tanya Plibersek support Julia Gillard-destroyer Kevin Rudd … Great bores continued …
Baton change at Murdoch empire
Rupert Murdoch’s two sons, Lachlan and James, chief heirs to the family’s $500 billion media empire, are both sporting large bushy beards.
So what? I hear you cry.
Rupert Murdoch hates beards. He loathes them. He won’t work with any executive who has a beard. He won’t hire journalists with beards either. Murdoch has an anti-beard psychosis.
[Dictionary meaning of psychosis: “A severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality.”]
By growing beards, Lachlan, 44, executive chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox, and James, 43, chairman of Sky TV and CEO of 21st Century Fox, are making a statement to their father.
Basically, they were saying: “We are in charge now, Dad, your time is over. And look, we’ve grown beards to prove it.”
On the eve of the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, Rupert Murdoch walked into the chaotic newsroom of his newly-completed headquarters in Mort Street, Canberra, where his fledgling national daily, The Australian, was being published.
“Who wants to go with me to Tokyo to see the Olympics?” he asked.
Cedric James, business writer or news editor [I can’t recall which] jumped to his feet and told the proprietor, “I’d like to go. When are you leaving?”
“I’m catching a plane in a couple of hours but you will have to shave off that beard if you’re travelling with me,” Murdoch replied.
James, known as “Ceedlums”, repaired to the men’s toilet with a razor blade. Minutes later he emerged beardless but dripping blood where hair had been scraped off his cheeks or torn out.
“That’s better,” said Murdoch and they raced to the airport to catch their flight to the opening ceremony in Japan.
It became commonplace for senior Murdoch executives in Sydney to tell all ambitious newsmen that the boss hated beards. One highly talented all-rounder complied: Ian McKinnon shaved off his beard and a couple of months later he was promoted to chief sub-editor of The Daily Telegraph.
Furthermore, when Murdoch acquired Channel Ten he introduced a house rule that all on-camera presenters had to be clean-shaven. No exceptions.
Rupert’s Brexit exit
Murdoch’s forced redundancy from the global media empire started with his bizarre engagement and subsequent marriage to broken-down Texan model Jerry Hall and ended with Brexit, the British referendum decision to leave the European Union.
Murdoch, the ultimate insider, was suddenly an outsider: the English Tories, the City of London and pro-European industrialists turned on him with a vengeance.
His favourite newspaper The Sun managed to mortify Buckingham Palace by claiming that the queen favoured Brexit. (“QUEEN BACKS BREXIT – Bombshell claim over Europe vote – EU going in wrong direction, she says” The Sun, 9 March 2016).
Buckingham Palace lodged a furious complaint; the Independent Press Standards Organisation found the headline was inaccurate; The Sun published the IPSO ruling on Pages 1 and 2; but published an editorial on Page 10 stating: “Does the queen back Brexit? We’re sure she does. We stand by all of it”; and editor Tony Gallagher said: “We don’t accept that we made an error at all.”
Murdoch has made himself persona non grata with the Tory government of Prime Minister Theresa May, his close relationship with the ruling party in tatters.
When David Cameron first became prime minister he appointed Murdoch lieutenant Andy Coulson as his director of communications in No 10. Coulson, a former editor of the guttersnipe News of the World, gave Murdoch direct access to prime ministerial decision-making on media policy.
However, snared in the News Corp phone-tapping scandal, Coulson was fired from No 10 before being convicted on criminal charges and jailed.
Murdoch continued to support Coulson’s co-accused Rebekah Brooks who was acquitted at the Old Bailey, and he has rehired her as CEO of News International. He rebuilt his influence in the Cameron Cabinet by supporting Education Minister Michael Gove, a former Times journalist, and senior Tory MP John Whittingdale, chairman of the parliamentary media committee.
When Cameron was ousted after the shock Brexit vote, he was banished to the backbench, and Theresa May sacked Gove and Whittingdale, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. At a stroke, Murdoch lost all his chief contacts in the Tory government.
His frightful marriage to Ms Hall, now 60, in March this year was the last straw for his eldest children and the board of directors of his UK, US and global companies. The 85-year-old was welcome to make a fool of himself but not of them. The sons grew their beards.
The Ailes catastrophe
Roger Aisles, the evil genius behind America’s Tea Party channel, Fox News, once had a beard. Now he doesn’t have a job either.
Last week he lost his multi-million-dollar position as chairman and CEO of Murdoch’s Fox News in New York after his career was sunk by allegations of sexual misconduct.
Gretchen Carlson, a former beauty queen and Fox presenter, recently sued Ailes for millions of dollars claiming he had propositioned her and subjected her to repeated sexual harassment.
A former Fox executive told Forbes magazine that Ailes’s MO (modus operandi) never varied in advising female staff: “Tits up, hair back.”
Women presenters were fired when they reached 50, the anonymous producer told Forbes, and transparent desktops were de rigueur so the legs of younger female presenters and reporters could be seen.
Noticeably, the bearded Lachlan and James Murdoch issued a joint statement insisting that “we continue our commitment to maintaining a work environment based on trust and respect”. You could almost hear the cheers from their respective spouses – Sarah Murdoch, nee O’Hare, and US-born Kathryn Murdoch, nee Hufschmidt who works for the Clinton Climate Initiative.
Murdoch senior stayed silent.
Culture of sexism
The Ailes debacle has produced a plethora of stories from reputable media executives that News media operations are cesspools of sexism.
In Sydney, for example, there have repeated stories that senior executives behaved like predators promising promotion to those women who gave them sexual favours. Women just out of high school were pressed into sexual encounters in order to gain cadetships and one particularly nasty lecher insisted on sex with a female reporter before promoting her. After the unwelcome deed was done he said triumphantly: “Wait until I tell X [name redacted] that I got here before him.” The woman was mortified and shamed.
What puzzles me is that Rebekah Brooks, a former editor of The Sun and The News of the World, and Michelle Guthrie, an in-house counsel for Murdoch in London, Singapore and Hong Kong over a 10-year period, saw nothing of these activities. Both were Murdoch favourites and enjoyed his support and protection during their long careers at the top of Murdoch’s executive payroll. Ms Guthrie is now managing director of the ABC where she has hired Josh Faulks, former deputy chief of staff to Attorney-General George Brandis, as the ABC’s head of partnerships and policy.
Richard Finlayson, head of ABC TV, said Faulks will “ensure that we have open and constructive relationships with our stakeholders and partners in the sector”.
In other words, he will liaise with the Murdoch family which has a controlling stake in Australia’s only pay TV network, Sky News.
Murdoch’s anti-ABC campaign will intensify in the pages of The Australian, Sky News will continue to pillage ABC-trained staff and high-paid lobbyists will demand that the Turnbull government forces the ABC to create a pay wall around its successful iView service. Also expect Murdoch to demand an ABC merger with SBS and the ABC to start accepting advertising to reduce its annual public budget.
Next stop? Privatisation of all public broadcasting.
Kevin 07 becomes K 016
Tanya Plibersek, darling of Labor’s so-called “hard left” and the mainstream media, has given a rousing endorsement to Kevin Rudd to become the next UN secretary-general.
She has called on the Turnbull government to “support a distinguished Australian for an international role”.
“Mr Rudd has been foreign minister,” she said. “He has served with distinction. He has been prime minister, of course. He is well-known in the international community as an expert on a range of policy topics.”
Plibersek’s endorsement echoes the support given by Julie Bishop, the “death stare” foreign minister. The country’s two most senior female politicians, Julie Bishop (Liberal) and Tanya Plibersek (Labor), both supporting the principal destroyer of Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female prime minister.
Rudd’s bloodstained record
Rudd doesn’t deserve a skerrick of support for the prestigious UN post. He would be a warmongering, pro-imperialist and pro-Zionist disaster. His unexplored role in regime change in Libya which has reduced that oil-rich nation into an ISIS-run failed state should be enough to rule him out of any UN role.
He supports the US-led encirclement of China whose leaders he has called “rat fuckers”, economic and political warfare against Russia and he also appears to support regime change in Syria and North Korea. He seems ready to serve Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, whoever wins the US Presidency in November.
But Bishop and Plibersek have chosen to lobby for Rudd rather than Helen Clark, a senior UN administrator and former Labor Prime Minister of New Zealand. Most Australians prefer Clark to Rudd any day.
Every recent book on contemporary Australian politics rates Rudd as a shocking PM and a sick-minded intriguer.
Senior Canberra journalists Kerry-Anne Walsh, Nikki Savva, Aaron Patrick and prominent politicians Greg Combet and Wayne Swan all described Rudd as a maladroit, secretive, temperamental head case.
Rudd’s anti-Gillard vendetta inflicted untold damage on the Labor brand and deep scars that are not yet healed. In any party that was serious about its rules of behaviour Rudd would be heading for the “Labor rats list”.
His vile intrigues against Ms Gillard gave a green light to Tony Abbott and his reactionary cronies (Alan Jones et al) to start a public campaign to “Ditch the Witch”.
How to end the Rudd contagion
This week Rudd deliberately upstaged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as he chaired his first full Cabinet meeting since the federal election. The sick-minded Rudd ensured that HE was the centre of attention not Turnbull. And he succeeded.
The only possible way to stop the Rudd contagion from polluting public life is that tried and tested procedure: on the tick of midnight, full moon, a sprinkling of garlic gloves and chicken blood, a sharp wooden stake and a single blow with a hammer.
Great Bores 7
I’m sick to death of all this political correctness stuff and so is Donald Trump. That’s why I am supporting him. You can’t say anything these without being bombarded by the PC squad. It really pisses me off. In the old days you could call an Abo a black bastard and a migrant a reffo and no one gave a stuff. At school I remember we called two German kids Krauts and Jew-killers. They cried the first time but then they got over it. I think they changed schools. When my daughter married an Iraqi Moslem I had to tone things down a bit. But Ahmed is a great bloke and they have three terrific kids. Now I won’t hear a bad word against him or Moslems and Ahmed and I both support the Western Sydney Wanderers. That’s where I disagree with Trump. He is a billionaire loudmouth who doesn’t know what’s he talking. I wish he’d just shut the fuck up.
Quote of the Week
If I was the prisons minister, I would build a big concrete hole and put all the bad criminals in there. ‘Right, you are in the hole, you are not coming out. Start learning about it.
– Adam Giles, Northern Territory administrator, part Aboriginal and full-blooded leader of the Country Liberal Party (CLP), in a 2010 address to the NT parliament