Rupert Murdoch and karma

Karma is a bitch. I didn’t make that one up, but I love it.

Love it.

Love it.

Love it.

Karma is a bitch because, at some point in all of our lives, it bites us. We turn down the ugly kid’s request to be a prom date, then watch as she/he goes with the hottest person in school (while we stay home). We think we found the answers to next week’s test, only to learn the teacher made a new one. We bet on the Titans to beat the Steelers on the tip of a gambler, then find out—last second—that Chris Johnson is out.




This week—right now, actually—karma is having its own special tango with Rupert Murdoch, the eviler than evil owner of much of the world’s media. Obviously, most people here have followed the story of his empire’s partial demise—of taped phone conversations and ins with police and an organization run with the moral fortitude of a pimp wanted for murder. But what brings me the greatest joy—the greatest schadenfreude—is watching Murdoch have the tables turned on him. Suddenly, for the first time, he’s the object of tabloid photographers and vicious rumors; for the first time, he’s the one whose decency is being not merely questioned (it’s always been questioned), but trampled upon like a muddy rag. Watching Murdoch stammer and stumble and hmmm and uhhhhh these last few days has been, well, joyous.

Why? Because he—and he alone—has done more to damage journalism than any person this century. Maybe ever. In the past, it was a journalist’s goal to be fair and unbiased. Was this always attainable? Certainly not—we have have our issues; our biases, our … things. But people tried. I truly believe that: People tried. Under Murdoch’s watch, however, everything changed. These days, media outlets are required to be biased; to exaggerate news and not merely present the facts, but ram them down your throat, colored by opinions and misinformation and, yes, lies. Thanks to Fox News, people turn to TV not to learn, but to be led. The glowing box makes opinions; forces opinions. And, because we’re so friggin’ stupid and desperate for leadership and direction, we listen.

So how will this change things? Hmm … it won’t. Sadly. In the modern era, news cycles go zipping by. Remember Casey Anthony? That was 10 years ago, news-wise. Murdoch is today, but only until Justin Timberlake and JLo start dating.


13 thoughts on “Rupert Murdoch and karma”

  1. James K.

    Are you suggesting that Jeff be like the WSJ editorial staff and vigorously defend Murdoch? I think he has more integrity than that.

  2. It doesn’t strike me particularly as hypocrisy. When you’re trying to make it as a freelancer, sometimes you have to take money from awful people. Especially in this case; if Jeff refused to work for any Murdoch holdings, he’d be recklessly limiting his earning potential. Principles are great, but so is feeding your children.

    As I see it, critiquing Jeff for writing for WSJ sometimes is similar to critiquing the contractor who installed new hardwood floors in Murdoch’s home. Neither is working to further that person’s agenda; they’re just doing their thing and getting a paycheck.

  3. @TMC

    So principles take a backseat to the pursuit of money? I find your justification problematic and full of hypocrisy:

    “sometimes you have to take money from awful people.”

    No you don’t, if you practice what you preach. This would appear to provide further evidence that principles are less important to the Pearlmans of the world than political party cheerleading.

  4. Maybe you’re right, JK. But three things:

    1) you should probably avoid using my words as evidence of Jeff’s personal failings. They reflect on me, not him, and they certainly aren’t the sort of thing that should be used to indict an entire class of people (ie- the Jeff Pearlmans of the world, whoever they are)

    2) Ideally, we could all take moral stands against our employers at all times, but many of us are in a position where we’re forced to compromise. Not everyone has the option of working for a good person, or even for someone they respect. Self-actualization and all of that is incredibly important– the absolute ideal– but basic needs like shelter, food, and clothing come first. Sometimes you have to make a choice, and most all of us have made the same choice as Jeff at various points in our lives.

    3) Especially in the media industry, it’s not like Jeff has a whole host of ethically sound, morally upstanding, respectable CEOs to choose from. His choice almost comes down to this: write for a living wage, or give up writing. And the guy obviously loves writing.

    4) By writing for the WSJ, he does nothing to support Murdoch’s political beliefs; he just profits from Murdoch’s value as a *job creator* as the Republicans like to call him these days. Any time you choose to do work for an enormous corporation, there are going to be compromises, because there ARE going to be unlikable people profiting from it.

  5. The WSJ is a world class conservative paper and even someone as liberal as Pearlman knows and respects that. This isn’t one of Murdoch’s British tabloid rags and nowhere near as biased as Fox News.
    It’s THE most important daily newspaper in the country and primarily covers American economic and international business topics, and financial news and issues.
    NewsCorp took over Dow Jones in 2007 which owned the WSJ from it’s inception and forced a merger.
    Don’t let Murdoch and Fox News taint your opinion of the WJS. It is still world class and has integrity. I don’t blame Pearlman one bit for working for them as a freelance writer.

  6. @TMC

    I hear you. But there’s a difference between “unlikeable people” that one might work for at a company — I can name a few bosses I’ve worked under who were unlikeable — and “evil” people one might work under. OP has characterized his paycheck signer as “evil”. There is no harsher word than that. Maybe “Satan-esque” or something.

  7. You are a liberal shill if you think that biased journalism existed before Fox News or even Rupert Murdoch for that matter. I love how so called journalists claim some kind of balanced purity existed until just recently. Journalism has always and will always be biased. You don’t believe me? Look at newsprints from the Revolutionary War all the way up to CNN.

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