The ABC’s 7.30 program on Tuesday night had an interesting analysis program on Rupert Murdoch, his heir-apparent, Lachlan, and the future for their empire and the media. [See link below] While they’ve sold off much of their empire (for something in the order of 86 billion dollars [yes, you read that correctly: “BILLION”]) the Murdoch’s still control Fox News. In the program, they claim it is because it is the only network in the U.S. which gives a voice to conservatives.
My own view is more subtle than that. Rupert (and now perhaps his son, Lachlan) read the needs and wants of the “vast masses” in society far better than any priest, politician or pope — and they deliver to them what they most want: entertainment and distraction. They have this uncanny ability to stir up in large populations fear and anxiety, and to divide society into “us and them” factions. Their two chief communications’ weapons are stroking either over-the-top sentimentality, or fear and anxiety about some “big bad wolf at everybody’s door”. It’s as ancient a technique as the stories like Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf that we teach the very young. Rupert understands that the mental and emotional age of the vast masses in any population is about 7. It has made them undreamed of amounts of money, and enormous global power to influence entire nations. In the long term, it is exceedingly dangerous as it eventually leads to a breakdown in societies. By then, of course, Rupert will be enjoying his wealth, his power, and his papal knighthood in heaven.
Brian Coyne is editor and publisher of the website catholica.com.au