Saturday, September 02, 2006

Rupert Murdoch's Victims

The first death known to me, that was precipitated by a Rupert Murdoch headline, occurred in Sydney in March,1964, when a schoolboy committed suicide. More of that later. These days, the casualties resulting from military invasions championed by Murdoch are numbered in the thousands, though he is not the sole agent of destruction. One of his former TV producers in the Middle East, Serene Sabbagh, resigned from Fox recently because of its "bias and racism".


What tipped Sabbagh over the edge was the bombing of Qana._"As a mother of three, watching the images, the raw images of children being pulled out of the rubble and then I switched to Fox News to hear some of their anchors claiming that these little kids that were killed, these innocent victims that were killed, were human shields used by Hezbollah. And one of the anchors went as far as saying they were planted there by Hezbollah to win support in this war. And it was unbelievable. For me, that was the breaking point"

On August 6, Serene Sabbagh and a colleague sent a joint letter of resignation to Fox News: "Not only are you an instrument of the Bush White House, and Israeli propaganda, you are war mongers with no sense of decency, nor professionalism." A verdict which is widely echoed. "Fox News has had reporters running around northern Israel chronicling every rocket attack and every Israeli mobilization, but has shown little or no interest in anything happening on the other side of the border", noted Andrew Gumbel in the UK's Independent.

News Corp had "walked away from professional journalism and crossed over into dutiful propaganda", wrote another analyst," a dangerous new chapter even for Fox News". The whole organization had shifted beyond warmongering into deep censorship, where it "purposely cordoned off topics of discussion In fact, I could not find a single, authentic, independent expert on Arab politics and history who appeared on Fox News to discuss the roots of the escalating violence. Not one."

In the editorial pages of Murdoch's antipodean flagship, The Australian, the bombing of Beirut is presented as "Israel doing Lebanon a favour" and restive Arabs are described as "Nazis". None of this should be surprising, as Murdoch revealed to the Hollywood Reporter that his media ventures are "not as important to me as spreading my personal political beliefs" (November 23, 2005). And these beliefs are dangerous. Murdoch's influential Weekly Standard advocates the pursuit of "regime change in Syria . and a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Why wait?"

It does not seem to figure in Murdoch's personal accounting that over half a million civilians are now dead or disfigured as a result of the wars he has already promoted. Instead of reconsidering his politics, like other lapsed neocons, Murdoch is still blazing away with his tools of the trade: hate, lies, fear and censorship.

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