I received a junkmail from an organisation called Avaaz who are using online activism to try and change the world. They say “Avaaz empowers millions of people from all walks of life to take action on pressing global, regional and national issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change. Our model of internet organising allows thousands of individual efforts, however small, to be rapidly combined into a powerful collective force.”
This particular email seeks to “end Murdoch’s criminal empire” accuses it of “destroying evidence of crimes” and wants to “end Murdoch’s reign of fear and smear over our democracy”. Avaaz are intoxified with their power “our 160,000 letters last week were critical in getting the deal referred to the Competition Commission” yet they don’t see that they are just as bad as Murdoch and they are using the same methods as him.
What Avaaz are trying to do is to exert undemocratic power, usurping the politicians who are democratically elected. To do so they are quoting unsubstantiated tittle tattle as fact, whilst boasting about their power. Looks just like a red top tabloid to me. And they are seeking to be just as big a threat to our democracy.
Meanwhile back in the real world our Prime Minister, David Cameron has announced two public enquiries on the whole matter. Two parliamentary committees are investigating. The police have a huge team on the job and the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has referred the Murdoch BSkyB bid to both the Office of Fair Trading and to Ofcom. It looks to me like due process is underway and that the facts will be unearthed upon which sensible decisions will be made. Unlike the lynch mob mentality that Avaaz are propagating.
Which brings us neatly to the closure of the News of the World, the most widely read English language newspaper in the world. Something that the activists are clapping themselves on the back about when really they have shot themselves in the collective foot. We need a popular press to maintain a healthy democracy, not everyone lives on social networking websites, and plurality of that press is also important so that a wide range of views are represented. The News of the World, under a new editor, had spent 5 years cleaning itself up after the royal telephone hacking scandal. All the bad guys had been swept out and the place was squeaky clean. Yet now 200 people have lost their jobs when they have done nothing wrong. And the nation has lost an extremely important news outlet. Obviously closing it down suited Murdoch’s strategy and the activists just gave him the excuse that he needed.
The big problem we have in the UK is not Rupert Murdoch, it is the BBC. They control directly 47% of the entire UK news reach. And they use it to propagate their leftie, statist, liberal ideology. To the point where it has become considered to be the political norm with any opposing view seen as aberrant. As a democracy we need a strong countermeasure to this and Murdoch wants to give us this. Something we should be glad of.