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‘I have never asked a prime minister for anything,’ Murdoch told Lord Justice Leveson in one of the most memorable moments of his inquiry into the British press. And perhaps there is some truth in it: he simply did not need to ask.
The story of Murdoch’s obsession with politics and behind-the-scene details of his manipulative operations on the global political stage are told in David McKnight’s latest book. Differing from many preceding volumes on the magnate, McKnight’s book demonstrates that politics for Murdoch was not just instrumental to his business interests and that spreading his fervent devotion to neoliberal ideology was his foremost personal ambition. As Murdoch himself admitted: ‘I am not just a businessman working in a very interesting industry. I am someone who’s interested in ideas.’
The book elucidates how the magnate communicated and infused his political credo within his crusading News Corporation and far beyond. It illustrates how his loyal executives were chosen and groomed within a deeply political corporate culture aligned with the supreme boss’s right‑wing values. McKnight demonstrates that, despite Murdoch’s efforts to create a personal image of himself as a rebel and a rival of dominant elites, he and his loyal management have always been part of the same establishment that dictates countries’ agendas and destinies. Far from being outsiders, they shared dinners, country clubs, yachts and policy ideas with prime ministers and MPs.
Besides presenting a lucid account of Murdoch’s influence, the book has another undoubtedly momentous merit: it reveals how unchecked, concentrated, and unaccountable media power can alter the conduct of democracy. It was this disproportionate power that secured Murdoch his unprecedented political leverage and led to the numerous journalistic abuses documented by the Leveson inquiry. McKnight’s account of Murdoch’s role in shaping the values of the world we live could not be better timed or needed.
Grace Blakeley investigates the curious case of Carillion: how the company’s slow decline and abrupt liquidation reveals the nature of modern capitalism.
The collapse of Carillion could be a watershed moment. Let's seize it to end economically disastrous outsourcing schemes. By Cat Hobbs.
Campaign groups highlight UK complicity in Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses.
Three founders of Momentum talk to Ashish Ghadiali about the two years that have transformed their lives and the fortunes of the British left.
Andrew Smith from Campaign Against the Arms Trade gives the run-down on one of the UK's most profitable - and most deadly - industries.
The real story behind the fire in Grande Synthe’s Linière refugee camp, Dunkirk. From 'Bordered Lives – How Europe fails refugees and migrants' by Hsiao-Hung Pai
Javier Pérez De La Cruz writes about the working class Berlin neighbourhood wrung dry by gentrifiers.
Across the world, thousands of protesters are taking on the planet’s biggest fossil fuel companies. We should support them – and if we can, we should join them. By Kara Moses
Students are suffering the effects of financial instability, stress, and slashed mental health services. Mark Crawford reports.
They're not defending free speech - they're just seeking to shore up their own power, writes Ilyas Nagdee
Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.
Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani
Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week
A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns