We are rid of Murdoch and that is worth celebrating | Henry Porter | Comment is free | The Observer
To watch him was both fascinating and debilitating. Never before had I quite understood friends in New York who dread dinners with Murdoch, because he is liable to tell you at length about his company’s new iPad app or give you a tour d’horizon of new and old media. Like many autocrats, he’s a bit of a crasher, astonishingly incurious and profoundly lowering. But the part where my ears pricked up during his evidence was when he started talking about democracy, because while democracy and free speech nearly always form his alibi, it is in these areas that he has done most damage.
His frequent claim on the word democracy was striking. While speaking about privacy, he said: “If we’re a transparent society, a transparent democracy, let’s have it out there” and: “A privacy law is always proposed for the protection of the great and the good… not for the people who make up our democracy.”
He also told the inquiry that “meeting politicians is part of the democratic process”; “local newspapers have a great history of contribution to our democracy”; and “a varied press guarantees democracy and we want democracy rather than autocracy”.
The use of the first person plural, the “we” and “our” of these utterances is highly objectionable, because Murdoch is obviously not one of us. He is an American citizen who does not pay taxes in Britain and does not vote here. It is no more his democracy to preach to us about than it is Vladimir Putin’s