Fox News’ distortion of Ron Paul’s victory was a despicable act

Republican Congressman Ron Paul


For British readers of The Slog, apologies if some of this seems a tad distant, but it has direct relevance given the unfolding phone-hack/Newscorp-BSkyB merger/David Cameron/Andy Couson connection.

The issue for Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is a simple one: will Newscorp – if allowed to go ahead with the acquisition of the remaining 61% of BSkyB shares – abuse the potentially dominant position this will give the Murdoch family in the UK television market?

In the US, there is a Republican politician and staunch libertarian called Ron Paul. He constantly berates the Establishment for deficit accounting, propping up foreign dictators, overly great media power, and the Fed in particular for devious monetary policy and banking favouritism. He dislikes big multinational business, distrusts big government, and has never – not once – voted for any measure he thinks out of line with the original ideals of the Republic’s founding fathers.

He’s a sort of right-wing Vince Cable. And so Rupert Murdoch has it in for Ron Paul.

Despite the fact that the GOP Party machine doesn’t like Ron (he being principled an’ all) at the yearly CPAC get-together he regularly trounces the Party’s preferred candidates.

At the CPAC popular test-the-water vote last week, he beat Mitt Romney out of sight for the second year running. It was a very popular result, but Fox News – a Newscorp Company – switched the cheering footage with one of very mixed booing and applause. Then Fox anchor Bill Hemmer commented as follows:

“Well, in the end Ron was the winner, but maybe that wasn’t the reaction he was hoping for”.

American commentator Robert Wenzel described the bulletin as “the most incredible act of news deception ever caught in smoking gun style”. Perhaps Jeremy Hunt should watch the video, which – if he chooses to – he can see here.

But it is of course debatable as to whether Mr Hunt needs to see any video. The track record of Rupert Murdoch is, after all, extremely well known:

* Lied to the Times trustees about his intentions for the paper in 1968. (Times headline today: ‘Bieber fever sweeps Britain’.)

* Turned The Sun into a despicable tabloid

*Rabidly Republican and anti-Royal, his reporter Glenn Mulcaire paid for this obsession with a jail sentence for hacking Prince William’s mobile phone. Now Murdoch’s lawyers are trying to obstruct the police in their desire to question Mulcaire further

* Runs a protectionist media monopoly in Australia

* His senior UK executives continue to back-track about who was or wasn’t involved in phone-hacking at the News of the World

* Following a long tabloid record of celebrity harrassment, now finds his senior Newscorp staff about to face charges of serial privacy invasion against UK citizens

* Has given employment to a senior policeman suspected of subverting the course of justice

* His Premiership sponsorship has destroyed the grassroots soccer game in the UK, and made England a third-rate international soccer power

* His son James is heavily implicated in an unhealthy lobbying relationship for the BSkyB merger to go ahead – using his CEO Rebekah Wade’s closeness to David Cameron in order to organise clandestine meetings with the UK PM

* Has pioneered internet paywalls, and helped render the Australian online access market the most expensive in the world

* Has generated doubts in the US about his social network site Myspace’s alleged illegal provision of sensitive information for Federal government departments.

The BSkyB bid should have been referred to the MMC immediately. That is hasn’t been yet is suspicious. If it isn’t rejected, it will be a disgrace – and a stain forever on the reputation of the Conservative Party.