Rupert Murdoch as 'Journalism's Mubarak'

Rupert Murdoch and Mubarak
MAX NASH/AFP/Getty Image (Murdoch), Sean Gallup/Getty Images (Mubarak)
Rupert Murdoch and Mubarak
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Like the ousted strongmen of Tunisia, Yemen and Egypt, Rupert Murdoch "is really just another dictator whose grip is threatened by democratic effusions," writes Neal Gabler at Politico. That's because, in time-honored tyrannical fashion, he overreached. Murdoch might not be the first media baron to amass power by bullying competitors and manipulating populist appetites and resentments – Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst were no angels – but, as the current scandal shows, he's without peer in his journalistic thuggery. Phone hacking, bribery, blackmail – "This goes beyond overzealous tabloid impropriety. It breaks the bounds of human decency," says Gabler. Unassailable until now – not least because he could claim to represent "the people" as against "the elites" – Murdoch suddenly looks vulnerable. "Murdoch knew there were lots of people who love to be riled and titillated. He didn’t reckon that they might not like being abused and would even rise in fury when they found out." And so, he risks becoming "journalism’s Mubarak." And "[f]or a man who made his fortune appealing to 'the people' – even as his papers were exploiting them – there couldn’t be a more fitting end."

'Rupert Murdoch: Journalism's Mubarak' [Neal Gabler, Politico]