rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

The New York Times as the Terrible Swift Sword of the Establishment: Rupert Murdoch is done like dinner

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Rupert Murdoch at 80

Almost more interesting than the salacious details of the criminal business model used by Rupert Murdoch's News of the World is the enthusiasm with which the virtuous old New York Times, of all publications, has thrown resources, personnel and prime front-page real estate into coverage of the scandal.

It's a little weird, even, when one considers that the Times, which likes to think of itself as the newspaper of record for the whole wide world, although it is hardly that, is a respectable American paper and the News of the World scandal, for all its delightfully sordid details, is really a just parochial and not particularly surprising little affair on a small island off the coast of Europe.

Nevertheless, the Times' online international edition last night featured two major articles on the front page, one chronicling how Murdoch's wretched weekly shook down senior police officers who tried to investigate it and the other explaining how the NOTW's depredations extended even unto the personal medical and banking information of the British prime minister and the location of cellular phones used by the Royal Family.

The Times seems to have assigned at least five reporters to the affair!

Enterprising readers seeking an explanation to this unwholesome interest by the newspaper of the mid-Atlantic Establishment can find a good one on the Counterpunch.org website, where British-born journalist Alexander Cockburn provided this tidbit over the weekend: "There’s nothing like competitive pressures to prompt an editor, or a publisher, to call for the knuckle-dusters. … It was Murdoch's takeover of the Wall Street Journal in 2007 and vows to knock the New York Times off its perch that prompted the Times … to run last September a very long, closely reported story on the News of the World hacking scandal, which helped breathe life back into the story."

This rather brings the Times' current fascination with this sordid tale into perspective, don't you think?

Cockburn goes on to suggest that some of the same illicit investigative techniques may have been used by Murdoch's American publications. But whether they were or not is really irrelevant. Murdoch is done like dinner, regardless.

This is not so obvious yet, judging from the skittish tone of the coverage anywhere but in the Times and on a few lefty blog sites. After all, media reporters are made nervous by a man like Murdoch, whom they have good reason to fear in many countries.

Moreover, the media is unused to the idea of the unwholesomely rich getting into trouble with the authorities for anything other than the usual Hollywood drug and alcohol fuelled excesses of prostitution, racist ranting, inappropriate sex and the occasional poolside slaying.

But they will pile on soon enough. The Establishment is still the Establishment, after all, and the Establishment brooks no challenges. If the Queen of England, for heaven's sake, does not define the Establishment, who does?

In a perverse way, observing all this from the bottom of the heap, it is hard not to admire the Australian-born media mogul's willingness to take on the most powerful people in society. But it is said here that he will pay a steep price for his cheek. It will be more serious than merely being told he can't buy a profitable TV network he wants to get his hooks into.

When the truly powerful are finished with Murdoch -- if he survives, he is 80, after all -- he will envy the fate of Conrad Black!

How are the mighty fallen!

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.