Don’t (Just) Shoot the Messager

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Remember the banking crisis?  You would have thought that was the end of the good times for those financial institutions.  Er, not really.  Its not that the banks themselves had to try hard to change what seemed inevitable.  They are laying low alright, but will play a long game. Here in Ireland, a change of government was sufficient to move the focus away from the banking crisis.  That change has moved us even further away from the root of the crisis – the ideology that smooths the way for a deregulated and privatised economy.

The banks were never the real problem, per se.  The banks did carry the can though.  Fianna Fail and the Greens paid the party political penalty, but that is a minor side show.  The political and economic system remain.

So, lets not get too excited about the erosion in influence of one media mogul.  Even one as powerful and influential as Rupert Murdoch.

News International did indeed play a central role in conditioning the public on both sides of the Atlantic.  Together with the Thatcher/Regan axis, it encouraged the working class to believe it was a middle class and that anybody who didn’t or couldn’t was a ‘scrounger’.  Progressive politicians and Trade Union leaders were ‘Red this’ or ‘Red that’.  All Union leaders were ‘Barons’.  There was simply no alternative. There was no such thing as society. The end of history was to be championed.

Was News International unique in the media?  Of course not.  With few notable exceptions, the media were on message.  What is important, however, is that legislation was smoothed through enabling the control of large swathes of the media to the favoured press ‘Baron’.  In return, said Baron would tweak the conditioning in favour of politicians and/or political parties who not only fitted in to the ideological thrust, but as a bonus to the baron would ensure his business dominated and his shareholders reaped the dividend.

I am enjoying putting the boot into Murdoch as much as anyone else, but he must not just be a scapegoat here.  There are other Barons.  The media, like the banks may ride this out and slide their way back to the job at hand.  The political ideology remains.

Unfortunately, there are far too few parliamentarians in positions of influence who could drive control of the media and the banks properly into a position where the interests of the greater number of people are served.  I hope that those who are in the political institutions and in the progressive media ensure that this current manifestation of the crisis in capitalism doesn’t die like the News of the World.

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