So, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has pulled away from bidding to buy satellite company British Sky Broadcasting as a result of the phone-hacking scandal.
If opponents think that this is a knockout blow to their ambitions, then they are seriously deluded. Any sensible commentator who tell you that NC always get what they want. The BSkyB bid has only been put on the backburner for now….
At present, the executives at NC are acting like wounded animals and are planning their fightback. Witness the row over obtaining the health records of former prime minister Gordon Brown’s children in the Sun newspaper today. Many commentators sympathised with Brown on this. However, as a public servant, surely he had to accept that he has no right to keep those details private. Rival newspapers were equally divided, particularly when many columnists hated him when he was also the Chancellor of the Exchequer. As well as this, the opposition to NC remains extremely fractured.
As I posted before, Murdoch is not necessarily an evil man, and many of his business practices have long been suspect (so has many other businessmen). But on one level, his actions alone have helped transform Britain’s media landscape. Nobody else has come even close to what he has achieved. Now, and in the future, many media companies have to accept that they will need to work with NC to reach as many people as possible.
The most funniest thing to come out of the last few days was when many of the same politicians who licked Murdoch’s shoes over the last few decades are now (unsuccessfully) trying to stick the boot in (as seen in this cartoon from the Independent). Cameron, Clegg and Miliband will probably wait for the current row to die down before allowing NC to buy BSkyB in the future.
You still don’t think the bid would happen? Watch this space.
Meanwhile, the politicians in Westminster may again be looking for their plans to bringing in a restrictive privacy law. Not only that will further curtail what is left of investigative journalism in the UK, but it will also reduce the ability of both the media and the public to expose the wrongdoings of our public servants.