Rupert Murdoch is rapidly losing allies on both sides of the Atlantic, with his media empire under pressure from all sides. Journalist Afshin Rattansi believes Murdoch still has some “ammunition” to battle his enemies.
“[Murdoch] basically had newspapers so that he could manipulate monopoly concerns over his broadcast interests which actually did make money unlike the newspapers. Newspapers are just tools of war,” Rattansi said. “It is interesting that he owns these newspapers and they always say Rupert Murdoch loves newspapers.”
“He has lots of enemies out there,” Rattansi added. “He probably has lots of ammunition to hurl back at them, thanks to all those muckraking journalists who spent their time looking at sex scandals.”
Rattansi admitted that Murdoch still has a lot of friends, but for him it seems like “some MPs find it unbelievable that he has the right to own any form of media in this country.”
Murdoch has tried to appease the UK public, but Rattansi does not believe it will change anything.
“It’s all-out war really, because the political classes here finally feel freed up for this first time in decades and decades,” he said. “Everyone is watching for Tuesday’s committee where Rupert Murdoch and his son James will appear.”
Members of parliament will not be frightened of Murdoch anymore, and nor will they be able to rely on him to sway public opinion in their favor. Rattansi believes it was multinational companies who were lobbying Rupert Murdoch in the first place.
“It’s the big companies, big multinationals and so forth that seem to get things done by their helping MPs,” he said. “Perhaps not as bad as in Washington, but I don’t think it’s the end of outside influence, outside undemocratic forces as regards influences on parliamentarians.”
With the FBI now investigating the allegations into the phone-hacking of 9/11 victims, Rattansi believes it could strike a serious blow at Murdoch’s corporation.
“Democrats all hate one particular influential cable channel – Fox News,” Rattansi said. “And I’m hearing that if the 9/11 victims have been hacked by subsidiaries of News Corp, then Fox News is finished.”
“President Obama probably would relish it,” he added.
Rattansi is struck by how these phone-hacking stories rather than any kind of regulatory body are being used to overthrow Murdoch.
“It is an amazing story,” he concluded. “We all will be looking forward to the Hollywood blockbuster – probably on 20th Century Fox.”