Expect everything- but change

Rupert Murdoch- no longer scary

It’s hard to get through an hour – never mind a day – without coming across some media scribe daring to think the unthinkable.

As the News International commentators desperately try to avoid feeding on their own corpse, the Guardian is leading the charge into a previously-unthinkable situation- that of a Brave New Murdoch-free Media world.

It might prove to be a better place but I would sincerely doubt it, as there will be no change as to how the media, in particular in Britain, does its business.

Remember the other institution in the not-too-distant past that was too big to fail?

The collapse of Lehmann Brothers sent shockwaves around the world, because for once a vested interest was allowed to drown in the pit of its own greed and stupiditiy.

We were told that never again will a bank be allowed to get into such a position.

Having displayed the same traits, there is every chance now that News International will go the same way, and if last week’s flight of the shareholders continues it could become the media equivalent of a run on the bank.

The once all-powerful Murdoch will be left with nothing- no company, no power and no respect (his reputation doesn’t matter because he never really had one worth defending).

But despite all the “never again” waffle around the collapse of Lehmann’s, little has changed.

Banks are still taking huge risks and passing them on to their customers. Needless to say, they only pass on a fraction of the profits from these risks, and they are more than happy to allow other investors and taxpayers to foot the bill when it all goes wrong.

So too with the media. Murdoch, whose media outlets had precious little credibility to begin with, has now completely lost his air of invincibility.

His continued clumsy attempts to manipulate not just the media, but also the police and politicians have made him so toxic that even those he put in power are running away from the mushroom cloud of poison that surrounds him.

Still, nothing has changed. Confining themselves to covering the collapse of Murdoch’s empire, the press do not speak of regulation or investigation of practices across the board – only in connection to News International.

Because in truth, they do not wish to have the whole sorry story of how they do business dragged out into the light.

If they did, it would mean the end of the “source close to the player/celebrity/victim”.

It would mean an end to hanging around outside hospital smoking areas offering cash to nurses and cops in return for information.

It would mean an end to taking a single sentence and spinning it harder and faster than a Major League baseball pitcher.

It would mean writing about actual news, instead of making stuff up on a whim. And that would be nigh-on impossible.

The media, and in particular those active in the tabloid newspaper sector, have created a monster made up of millions of readers who crave news about Cheryl Tweedy, Ryan Giggs and Gordon Brown’s sick child.

It is a ravenous monster that needs feeding every day.

It cannot be caged, and it isn’t even in their interest to do so. Hence the lack of desire for real change.

So what will happen?

It’s very possible that Cameron will resign, as will Murdoch junior. Brooks could well go to prison for a while along with a few others.

And Murdoch himself will go quietly into the night, becoming the Bernie Madoff of the media, whose empire was built on a lunatic Ponzi scheme of ever-greater lies and deception.

But change and regulation in journalism will be notable only by their absence, and we will return to the insanity of allowing the media to do what they always did, all the while expecting a different result.

And like the banks after Lehmann Brothers, News International will become a footnote in history, a cautionary tale of what can happen when you sail too close to the wind.

Then it will be business as usual again.

One response to “Expect everything- but change

  1. Pingback: Expect everything- but change | Journalist.ie·

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