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Murdoch withdraws BSkyB bid and may ditch UK papers as well

Rupert Murdoch

Don't write him off - he may be back...

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has withdrawn its bid to take over the profit generating broadcaster BSkyB. There is now speculation that with the new proposals for regulation put forward today by the government and opposition and also the in depth criminal investigation now under way, Murdoch may finally decide that the UK is no longer a place where he can dominate politics as he has in the past.

Either way, this retreat by the media mogul represents a huge shift in the balance between politicians and both the press and the wider media. For the first time in 30 years, MPs and ministers may be able to act on behalf of us, the people rather than be forced to go along with whatever Murdoch dictates, particularly in the field of criminal justice and punishment.

There is a caveat to this event however. There is nothing to stop News Corp from trying to get control of BSkyB in the future.

Nevertheless, with judicial enquiries now being set up, the ongoing criminal investigations and the now general hostility to Rupert and James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, it is possible that pressure may grow to such an extent that Murdoch decides to opt out of the UK. Enquiries of this nature are never fast and may indeed take years.

Of course, as has previously noted, press and police corruption is rampant and nobody knows what will result from the various new enquiries or who may be implicated. Some former politicians may be getting a little nervous at the prospect of being exposed.

The principal problem though is not News Corp and the pantomime that follows it. To cure the cancer that involves corrupt policemen, weak politicians, dishonest journalists and those hurt by the evil of the British tabloid press and others, the press will have to be regulated; something which scares the life out of Fleet Street.

We are not suggesting that there is a restriction on press freedom to report or uncover injustice or criminality but we are suggesting regulation that is similar to that imposed on television and radio broadcasters to ensure fairness.

It seems absurd that whilst broadcasters should be forced to act responsibly, the press is able to do whatever it wants by using threats against politicians and secret deals with policemen to achieve its dodgy objectives. Whether we like the idea or not, it is certain that the press needs to be reigned in and take its responsibilities seriously.

We should not celebrate just yet though. Murdoch is shrewd and extremely intelligent and may have withdrawn the bid in order to manage events on his own terms rather than be subjected to further embarrassment and humiliation. Furthermore, he is an experienced performer when it comes to ‘bouncing back’ and ensuring that he gets what he wants.

Many in the UK will interpret this latest move as a triumph for the British people but it may yet be that this is just another ploy by a very clever man, used to playing the long game and eventually achieving his ambitions. It is also the fact that the Murdoch clan will want to concentrate on protecting themselves and their US interests, including Fox News, from any possible attack resulting from the forthcoming and current enquiries.

Losing $6 billion in an abortive attempt to get his hands on BSkyB may be a small to price to pay in the end if it means that News Corp’s other interests are protected. Indeed, at the time of writing, News Corp shares have risen in price on news of the bid withdrawal, not gone down.

As for Murdoch’s UK newspapers, their future is uncertain but believes that if it appears that the enquiries will start to drill holes in his media empire, Rupert Murdoch may very well decide to turn his back on the UK altogether. On the other hand, he may simply try to use the sensitive information that he holds about people to re-establish his hold over MPs, journalists and the police. If this is the case though, it would not happen for some time and certainly not until the final outcome of the various investigations is known.

A final point has to be made. Murdoch is no fool and is used to taking on governments and often defeating them. He is a man who likes to control events, not react to them. After yesterdays interrogations of senior policemen though, it is hard to believe that even the world’s most powerful media tycoon cannot be affected by the revelations that are beginning to come out.

Don’t write Murdoch off just yet though – he has a nasty habit of coming back with a vengeance and also of eventually getting what he wants. He knows where the bodies are buried and will not think twice about using his undoubted power and influence to achieve his ambitions. suspects that the real battle is about to begin. It will be fierce and it will be bloody. We will finally see if the government is strong enough to take on Murdoch, the press and the police together or whether it will once again seek to protect itself at the expense of justice, fairness and the most important people of all, us the public.


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5 Responses to Murdoch withdraws BSkyB bid and may ditch UK papers as well

  1. Petronella
    July 14, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Because of Murdoch’s influence I realise he is a hard cookie. He has targeted the larger not so learned group at the expense of the top brass. There is no doubt that he rules indirectly. If he can get policies legisations and God knows what else in his control,he is likely to come back with a proper bang. Now that the public knows won’t his 10 million followers realise how much they have been used at the expense of suffering families many who are like them?

  2. Oscar
    July 14, 2011 at 3:55 am

    Murdoch may be on the run this time as his prize BSKYB is no longer in reach. His only purpose is profit and he has used his newspapers to influence government policy in order to profit, from Thatcher onwards.
    Much will depend on what happens in the US with big shareholders in News Ltd who hold more wealth in the company than Murdoch. They may force change at the top if they think Murdoch threatens their wealth. That is where real change will come from out of pure personal interest. Also given Murdoch’s age those huge investors may think it really is time to move on. His children have shown themselves to be hopeless compared to Rupert so they really are out of the picture.
    Of course the Murdoch family will profit from all this-they cannot lose.
    Murdoch’s Aussie boss has also announced a “review” of practices in the most sanctimonious tone as though the Australian operations are separate from the UK ( despite most News journos working on all titles around the world).
    I look forward to that and an explanation of how Rupert’s most beloved newspaper The Australian that has been meddling in politics for decades was able to so accurately report in their 3am edition in 2008 all the details of ‘terrifying’ terrorist raids on dozens of houses throughout Melbourne.
    Especially as the raids didn’t happen until 5.30am.

  3. Ramon1940
    July 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    It may be that the British Public will seal Murdoch’s fate. He and His staff have been implicit in corrupting the police, politicians, hacking phones and generally causing distrust in our Country.
    When the British Public have the facts in front of them, instead of fiction, they will rally to the defence of the Country, and dispatch the perpetrators from whence they came. The British Public are not fools when the facts are plain.

    • dave
      July 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm

      But unfortunately that is why he has/had so much power/influence, the British public genereally are fools, if 7 million Sun readers and 3 million NoW readers are anything to go by. A ‘fact’ to most of those readers would be anything printed in said tabloids. As long as they are fed something salacious to take their minds off their own sad little lives.
      He’ll come back just like herpes, or find another avenue, or simply have his place taken by the next egotistical power monger.

  4. Jen
    July 13, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Good riddance to bad rubbish. Hope he sells everything and takes his bigotted views with him when he goes.

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