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July 14, 2011



Not quite that simple.
The Murdoch case is unlikely to end up with parliament deciding media ownership on whether they like the cut of a particular mogul's jib; more likely to produce a framework which limits concentration of ownership - that I would suggest is likely to promote efficiency and liberty.
The view on EMU (which, FWIW, I am not convinced is the optimal response) is reasonable widely canvassed inside member countries.
Ed M has pushed further and harder on Murdoch than Blair ever would have done, Brown dared to and many of his advisors wanted him to. It seems more than a bit churlish to dismiss this as "cowardly populism".
It depends which "majority" view you mean. De facto we now have gay marriage, for all the outrage that can stir up. Opinion polls indicate majority support for public ownership of the railways - doesn't get it considered much in public debate (or going back to the troubles, majority British opinion regarded Northern Ireland as not worth a British solider's life). I am not fully convinced that the public is as knee-jerk on drugs laws as is often assumed. Going back to the starting point - what constitutes "majority" opinion that politicians dare not oppose is rather determined by the media. New Right ideas were regarded in the past as cranky (often - e.g. the poll tax - with good reason); they got promoted partly because they appealed to newspaper editors like William Rees-Mogg and tv insiders like Peter Jay; radical progressive ideas tend not to be taken up by Fleet St or the BBC


Just a small point - are 'market forces' and 'public opinion' really so disparate?

The News of the World had immense market pressures from the withdrawal of several advertiser who were responding to public opinion which in turn they felt would manifest as market forces (i.e. if we advertise with NOTW and associate ourselves with those lot, our sales will go down).


Well the market forces argument is a bit of a nonstarter since almost all newspapers run at a loss nowadays and would be shut down if not subsidized by the state or by businesses grown fat off monopoly rents in other sectors. I dunno though, maybe our esteemed host wants someone to make that argument so that, in shooting it down, he can make a point about how many businesses are insulated from market forces.

Larry T

I agree - we want a broad-ranging public conversation, in which all points of view are represented, including the infantile and imbecilic. And for that reason, the demise of the Libertarian Party of Great Britain is to be greatly regretted.


"The point here is that the issue of plurality and diversity in public discourse is not merely about who owns the press."

Well, it's mostly about that.

The media is not just a business that exists to make profit, it's a public institution that is essential to functioning democracy.

If a foreign government wanted to buy SkyTV they wouldn't be allowed to. And neither should any monopolist like Rupert Murdoch.


Capitalism is virtually all about monopoly, not plurality. This the irony of the whole debate.

Torquil Macneil

I wish you would unpick a little bit what is meant by 'libertarian socialism' because, as far as I can tell, the political position of this blog is pretty much a Milton Friedmanish libertarianism built around a citizens income, isn't it? And nobody really thinks of Friedman as a socialist. Have I got that wrong?


Whatever Rupert Murdoch's faults, or the misdeeds of some who work for him, I don't hink its fair to call him a monopolist. I can't think of any geographical market or business segment where he has a monopoly. If he did have monopojy power we would probably be hearing a lot less about said faults and misdeeds.


The great 4th Reich master plan is going to plan. First you bankrupt all the other countries, then you buy them. Simples...


@ Andrew

Have a look at News Corp's holdings then tell me Murdoch is not a monopolist.



Miliband's call for breaking down the Murdock's "evil empire" reminds one of how his French cousins back in the 80s tried to bake a law effectively dismantling the "empire" of the local Murdoch, Robert Hersant. The socialists were all about "pluralism" and "diversity" but what they ultimately craved for was getting rid of a mighty (and dangerous) opposition force.


Because these statements against the idea that many people who are vocal men of judgment afraid to express them for fear that seem out of step with public opinion.

בניית בריכת שחיה

It's also on the fact that people have the courage to express unpopular opinions. The problem is that both politicians and the media.

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