Is Cameron cosying up to Murdoch with his BBC bashing?
Two disclosures in the past few days have revealed how these covert relationships can — and do — have a significant effect on the governance of Britain. The two disclosures are also further evidence of the lengths to which British politicians are prepared to go to win the support of Rupert Murdoch, editor in chief of a media empire which he says himself has become the “globe’s leading publisher of English-language newspapers”. The first example is a note of two hitherto secret conversations between Murdoch and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in January 1998 and July 2002. In the initial conversation the Prime Minister says he is “instinctively sympathetic” towards Murdoch’s plan to establish a new European interactive digital satellite television service. And in a follow-up conversation, Murdoch says in return his newspapers “would strongly support” the British government’s demand that Saddam Hussein should be required to destroy his weapons of mass destruction, press support which Blair was desperate to retain during the long build-up to the American-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
Here we have a secret document which has only just been released under the Freedom of Information Act providing an open and shut illustration of collusion between a British Prime Minister and a media magnate. Blair is indicating that he will try to stop the European Commission blocking Murdoch’s latest television venture and the subsequent pay back is Murdoch promising Blair the support of his newspapers. These are not just any newspapers but include the two with the largest UK circulations (Sun 3.1 million and the Sunday News of the World 3.2 million). And when taken together with The Times and the equally influential Sunday Times, these four newspapers command a 42 per cent share of the national newspaper market.