The Murdoch scandal today has revealed the high level of influence that his empire has over the police, politics and the media in Britain and America. Along with Rupert and James Murdoch, the British police and Tory and Labour governments have repeatedly tried to cover-up corruption by maintaining the “rotten apple” theory as various scandals were uncovered. However this is no longer tenable, today’s scandal has already led to eleven arrests, many civil actions, public inquiries and there is more to come.

The News of the World, a profitable newspaper selling millions of copies every week has now been killed off. Its owner, media mogul Murdoch, has for years hired highly paid private detectives to hack into and delete voice mail messages to get first hand information. The tipping point in public opinion came when in early July it emerged that the missing teenager, Milly Dowler (later found dead), had her voice mail hacked into, causing a giant heave of revulsion. It has also came to light that others, including the relatives of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now from 2000, the mother of murder victim schoolgirl Sarah Payne, were all targets of the NOW spooks.

Who is Murdoch?

Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News International, is one of the most powerful men in the world’s media, one of the wealthiest and most influential. He uses his newspapers’ pages to create sensational journalism based around sex scandals and to work over anyone in public life. His papers have conducted personal attacks against Left leaders and activists, in an attempt to criminalise their actions and influence public opinion, as happened throughout 1984/1985 miner’s strike and the 1986/1987 print workers’ strike.

Defending the interests of the bourgeois bankers his papers tell workers that essential public services are no longer affordable. That very same scoundrel who affords £1.7 million in hush money to hacking victims, hundreds of thousands in legal fees, and payouts of £8.5 million to 4 of the recently ‘departed’ senior staff – Rebekah Brooks £3.5m, Colin Myler £2m, John Chapman and Tom Crane each £1.5m.

These anti-working class billionaires think they have the right to tell us that our services are unaffordable!

Furthermore they attack and criminalise working class protest and poison and divide workers with racist and anti-immigrant lies and misinformation.

The state is dependent on a supine and bogus media that will scapegoat the poor and most vulnerable, immigrants and those dependent on benefit, to divert the blame and legitimate the cuts, unemployment, poverty and homelessness.

Today many politicians believe they need Murdoch to get elected. “It’s The Sun Wot Won It”, the infamous headline from the front-page of The Sun (11/04/92), which created the belief that the tabloid contributed to the unexpected Tory Party victory. The Murdoch press threw support behind the Labour Party in the 1997 General Election and helped with Tony Blair’s triumph and continued to support the Labour government throughout including support for the Bush and Blair invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2010, Murdoch shifted support to Cameron’s Tory party.

British Government engaged up to the neck 

Murdoch’s empire is based on lies and corruption and is rampant in the corridors of government. Hacking revelations in 2009 led the then editor of the News of the World, Andy Coulson, to resign. Despite this and against all advice David Cameron, set to become the next Prime Minister, went on to appoint Coulson as his press spokesman at Number 10.

Cameron maintained a very close relationship with the Murdoch family and their former director, Rebekah Brooks. In his testimony to the parliamentary committee Murdoch described the cosy relationship between News International and Blair, Brown and Cameron and their secret back-door meetings at Number 10. Meetings that sought to influence the multi-million dollar merger of BSkyB which has now been stopped in its tracks.

Ed Milliband seeks to distance the Labour Party today from this scandal, however the reality is that the Labour Party were in awe of the Murdoch monster and they had neither the courage nor the desire to stop what was happening.

Freedom of the press

The media industry has become one of the central institutions of the bourgeois state. It is controlled by big business and the rich. The media, print and broadcast, are in the hands of a few billionaires who have close relations with governments and share the same programme of war against the working class.

Workers must be uncompromising in defense of broader press freedom for all, because that’s the only way that the truth can be told. As the public sector workers said in their statement, it is necessary to strengthen the unions and above all the workers’ press. We oppose the closure of the News of the World because it means that hundreds of journalists and other employees will lose their jobs.

Today we live a new era in England. The workers are beginning to mobilise and organise against the cuts and privatisations. The Murdoch scandal can help our fight by exposing the hypocrisy and contradictions of the government. Workers’ organizations need to demand: the expropriation of the Murdoch empire! Money to ensure good quality public healthcare for everyone! Strengthen workers organisations, build a strong workers press and defend workers’ rights! Fight the cuts and privatizations, renationalise our services! This is the alternative programme for today. The class struggle will regain its strength as social gains are made!