Friday, November 02, 2018

Rupert Murdoch and the poisoning of American politics

Rupert Murdoch, the Australian immigrant, who founded the US cable industry’s conservative firebrand network in 1996, on Tuesday this week was given the award of ‘legend’ in New York by the American Australian Association, which had been founded by his father Sir Keith Murdoch in 1948.

"I believe in the good purpose of life, in the beauty of the universe, and the high destiny of man,” the 87-year old who had big successes in extending the family media empire to both Britain and the United States, said in quoting the words of his father. “I believe in the power and the spirit and triumph of the good in heart, " he added.

However, beyond the hypocrisy, Murdoch’s legacy is his role in poisoning American politics and in the era of Trump where the administration has been characterised by racism, extremism, conspiracy-mongering, isolationism and know-nothingism, Fox News has become effectively a state TV mouthpiece.

The name Fox derives from William Fox (1879-1952) who was born Vilmos Fried in Tolcsva, Kingdom of Hungary, then part of Austria-Hungary. He had come to America at the age of 9 months, and his name had been anglicized after his mother's family name, Fuchs. Fox’s parents were both German Jews and in 1915, Fox launched the Fox Film Corporation.

A particular target of Trump, Fox News and other Republican extremists is George Soros, the hedge-fund billionaire — a Jew who was born in Budapest 1930 and had lived through the Nazi occupation of 1944–5, which resulted in the murder of over 500,000 Hungarian Jews.

Trump and his echoes have claimed that Soros is financing an emigrant caravan from Honduras — a failed state and murder capital of the world that was once America’s banana republic and in the past half-century has become a victim of America's disastrous war on drugs.

The Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal published an op-ed in early October in which a former reporter claimed that George Soros who contributes to the Democratic Party and NGOs in both the US and Europe, had bankrolled a protest at the Supreme Court building because she had identified some women who came from organisations that Soros had contributed to.     

Last weekend the chief US commentator of the Financial Times called for a boycott of companies that advertise on Fox in the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and the pipe bombs sent to leading Democrats. In another act of terrorism, an individual named Gregory Bush, who was thwarted in his attempt to enter a black church in Louisville, Kentucky, had shot and killed two African-Americans at a local supermarket. Before he was arrested, he shouted “whites don’t kill whites.” Simon Schama in the Financial Times commented “All three perpetrators believed they were engaged in saving white America.”

“The most effective thing Americans can do is boycott companies that advertise on Fox,” Edward Luce of the FT tweeted Saturday. “They bankroll the poison that goes from the studio into Trump’s head. The second is vote.”

Trump is reported to watch Fox News for several hours each day and Sean Hannity, who as a Fox presenter earns about $30m annually, is also an unofficial Trump adviser.

Max Boot, a historian and conservative columnist appeared on CNN and urged investors to “boycott Fox News until they pull back from the hate.”

According to Vox [the New York Times and NBC News reported that Cesar Sayoc — who is charged in connection to the pipe bomb packages — had a Twitter feed full of “clips from Fox News broadcasts,” while the Pittsburgh shooter was upset by a conspiracy theory, alluded to by Fox News and Fox Business hosts, that Jewish billionaire George Soros was linked to the migrant caravan travelling to the US.]

Rupert Murdoch in the past had supported immigration reform and he initially did not support Trump's candidacy but he took the cue from his audience of mainly older white conservatives who are TV watchers compared with younger people.

According to a survey by PEW, the polling firm, younger Americans are better able to distinguish between factual and opinion news statements

Vox: Fox News and Donald Trump are having a public love affair, but their relationship is less of a romance and more of a hostage situation:

State TV's Sean Hannity speaks at Trump rally, Nov 06, 2018

 Trump's rallies evoke spectacle of public lynchings in America 

Seth Meyers on Trump's racist fearmongering and scams of his New York crime family: A Closer Look