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· The media’s Murdoch-mania and the madness of editors.

By BRENDAN O’NEILL [Spiked] – The notion that the cultural harrying of Murdoch has made British politicians ‘free at last’ – thank God almighty, free at last! – is based on two problematic ideas. First, that British politics was, until last week, dominated by Murdoch. And second, that the muddying of Murdoch’s name will allow our politicians finally to speak honestly and with conviction once more. Neither of these things is true. The fact that so many commentators believe they are reveals a great deal about the parlous state of public debate.

The childlike glee with which respectable hacks have greeted Murdoch’s travails speaks to their belief that he was singlehandedly holding back British democracy. In recent years, their attacks on the ‘Murdoch Empire’ have sounded borderline David Icke-like. Murdoch has ‘extraordinary power’ which he uses to ‘manipulate officialdom’, said Polly Toynbee in 2009. She writes of ‘the malign influence this man has had on our politics for the past 30 years’. Other commentators describe the links between Murdoch and politicians as ‘a shadowy influence-mart’ (‘shadowy’ is a favourite word of conspiracy theorists). One goes so far as to say that ‘the huge failure of my generation’ was to ‘allow Murdoch to enmesh our politics, media and police’.

It isn’t surprising that Murdoch-bashing often sounds eerily similar to conspiracy theorising – because, like conspiracy theories, it too is underpinned by its adherents’ own profound sense of dislocation and angst.

Continued at Spiked | More Chronicle & Notices.

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