In the British inquiry into Rupert Murdoch and his newspapers, former conservative prime minister John Major testified under oath that Murdoch demanded that the government change its policy toward becoming part of the European Union or else his papers would oppose Major in the upcoming election. Major declined to change the policy and sure enough, three months later lost the election.
To those people who think Murdoch’s media empire works for the conservatives (e.g., that Fox News works for the Republicans), note that he didn’t hesitate to bring down a conservative government when they didn’t meet his demands.
What I take away from this is that it is completely unacceptable for one media company to have that much power over any government. Such power will always eventually be abused. The size of news organizations should be strictly limited so that one company does not own a controlling interest at any level (national or local).
We used to have laws in this country that limited media ownership, but they have been swept away in recent years.
The British situation is especially ironic, because Murdoch is not even a British citizen. He is a foreign entity who wields enormous political power there, and whose news organizations have repeatedly been found guilty of breaking the law. As Major put it in his testimony:
I think the sheer scale of the influence he is believed to [have] whether he exercises it or not, is an unattractive facet in British national life, and it does seem to me an oddity that in a nation which prides itself on one man, one vote, we should have one man, who can’t vote, with a large collection of newspapers and a large share of the electronic media outlets. … Power without hindrance is bound to be poorly exercised.