Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

Murdoch: Or, When They Do It to Themselves

Image representing Rupert Murdoch as depicted ...

Rupert Murdoch - Image via CrunchBase

    I love dead poets, and dead philosophers too. Thank goodness for liberal arts educations and their classical referents. They won’t make you rich like an MBA does, but they help to make important sense of the world.
    Aristotle’s definition of tragedy is among the truest of insights: people and institutions that have the world by the tail and nothing, including foes and competitors, can stop them. Until, of course, they do it to themselves.
    In the wake of this discernment lays a wealth of history, literature and its cast of sorry characters that have no one to blame but their own idiocy. The Greeks were best at pointing this out in countless tales and myths, signposts of sorts along the road to hell, and the latter not necessarily paved with good intentions. The Good Book, on which so many Americans rely in our own time, has notable reference to that: Pride, it says, goeth before a fall.
    How true: who can forget Oedipus, Medea, Creon, Hamlet or the House of Agamemnon. And that’s a very short list. I beg you now to think of Tiger Woods. Roger Clemens. Anthony Weiner and too many other pols for which space here does not allow mention. Or Toyota. Who could have toppled them? And don’t forget Glenn Beck, which leads one to think with pleasure what Rush Limbaugh is driving himself toward.
    Woods’ life was so good he thought he could have two of them, one completely out of sight; what a guy. And Roger-dodger really did it to himself when he nonsensically demanded to testify before Congress, thusly setting himself up for a trial now underway. Uh, Rog: Abandon all hope, ye who enter there. Say if you will that a heightened competitive spirit is a good thing but keep in mind it has its limits: did he think that when Congress balked at his lies, he could just throw a fastball at their heads and walk away the winner? Best not to try that with the tough judge presiding in his case: Clemens will be the one called “Out!”
    One can even muse on religion, which in our part of the world has succeeded in giving God a bad name. Its faults are many, not the least of which has been the illusion of knowing the mind of the Almighty and thereby authorized to speak on its behalf.
    Perhaps its greatest sin has been the inculcation of guilt in the body social. This is a problem whether you’re Protestant, Catholic or Jew. Appropriate guilt has its uses, but the inappropriate kind has been stock in trade for certain prophets, priests and theologians who are merely snake oil salesmen. It all began with misreadings and misinterpretations of Genesis and thereafter the whole of a Book that teaches quite something else.
    Then they did it to themselves, and society caught on. The greed, graft and ungodliness from philandering televangelists to priests who abuse children, have turned believers on their heads and occasioned a thorough review of the nature of faith and its morals. So is there now a decline in the great church? Well, yes: it overplayed its hand and thereby did itself in. Stripped of its power, religion now has opportunity to be what it was really meant to be: just love toward all, service to each other–and stop being so damned judgmental.         And now we turn to Mr. Murdoch, he of the vast news and communications empire, who gave us Britain’s scandal-sheet called News of the World, which cooked up a scandal of its own and is now shuttered; and TV muck-raking that we know as Fox News. Given that we’re not yet privy to what he will do, in time, with the Wall Street Journal, it occasions Jefferson’s unforgettable warning in the face of political lies in his own time: “I tremble for my country when I ponder that God is just.”
    People who work for Rupert at News of the World apparently took him seriously at his worst and thought that if Fox can pull the wool over the eyes of so many unthinking Americans, they could take it up a notch and restore British supremacy by hacking the voice mail of child murder victims and England’s war dead.
    This caused Murdoch forthwith and post haste to get on a plane to London where his scion, James, who thought to inherit dad’s empire and extend family mischief another generation, was unable to staunch the bleeding at that newspaper. It was high comedy to see Rupert scurrying to do something besides cause trouble for our planet.
    And don’t be fooled by what seems his loyalty to staff: everybody got fired except the person who should have been, exec Rebekah Brooks. Truth is, were she to get the pink slip it would open the door to fuller investigation of everybody who really matters in Murdoch’s world, including the government and its current prime minister–and they ain’t gonna let that happen.
    This has put at risk his expected takeover of a satellite TV communications giant, or what had been dubbed his “nuclear option.” Now it’s he who is going nuclear and a total blow-up of all he’s worked for may be imminent.
    Isn’t this fun? Ah, yes, total good fun to see him, at last, squirm the way he’s had all the rest of us on the hot seat for so long. Maybe he thought he was “too big to fail.” Well, Rupie, think again.
    Fox News, by the way, always trying to pin whatever’s wrong in the world on Barack Obama, has wanted very little of this story. They’d rather we go back to talking about Anthony Weiner. I watched one morning to see when and if they would bring up Murdoch’s big problem. Nope. So I waited till the top of the 11 a.m. news. Nope again. Next day they said they would have no comment because, you know–blah, blah, blah. Sorry guys, no excuse will do.
    Murdoch had it all. Nobody could have brought him down. Then he met Aristotle, and found he could do it to himself.

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