In 1981 The Times became part of News Corp. An establishment newspaper founded in 1785 and adopting its current name in 1788. Its sister paper The Sunday Times was born in 1821. The daily readership is approx 450,000 and 790,000 respectfully. Although it has rallied recently behind a paywall (which gives it an exclusivity to those that way inclined) the daily edition is still significantly down on the 508,000 of 2010.
For the whole of its (and much of the national media’s) existence it has never been the paragon of a fourth estate holding power to account. In fact as Oscar Wilde surmised:
‘In old days men had the rack. Now they have the Press. That is an improvement certainly. But still it is very bad, and wrong, and demoralizing. Somebody — was it Burke? — called journalism the fourth estate. That was true at the time no doubt. But at the present moment it is the only estate. It has eaten up the other three. The Lords Temporal say nothing, the Lords Spiritual have nothing to say, and the House of Commons has nothing to say and says it. We are dominated by Journalism.‘
Therefore the other three have been consumed by a carnivorous creature owned and run by very rich and powerful people who have no intention of holding power to account on behalf of the general populace.
At the end of the 1950’s Allan Nevins the journalist and historian wrote:
‘For much more than a century The Times has been an integral and important part of the political structure of Great Britain. Its news and its editorial comment have in general been carefully coordinated, and have at most times been handled with an earnest sense of responsibility. While the paper has admitted some trivia to its columns, its whole emphasis has been on important public affairs treated with an eye to the best interests of Britain. To guide this treatment, the editors have for long periods been in close touch with 10 Downing Street.’
The last sentence exposes this pompous elitist approach. The relationship with No 10 is not questioned. It is accepted. Holding power to account is not about cosying up to them. It is standing discrete and tall. The Times amongst many others cannot make this claim.
Now it is the hands of one of the most powerful and prominent establishment figures on the planet. The opposition to any threat has turned it into an even more dangerous propaganda machine with the intention of attacking anything that threatens its hegemony.
Enter the Sunday Times headline and front page from Sunday 21st January 2018.
‘At 9pm the Sunday Times contacted us about their front page for tomorrow. It makes claims that unnamed individuals wrote a list of 50 MPs they’d like to deselect.
Obviously we’re used to hatchet jobs at Momentum, but we felt there are a few of things about this story you should know.
First, the ‘evidence’. The article is based on a one line quote from an unnamed source, which claims that other people have told them about the list. Neither the unnamed source nor the Sunday Times have seen the alleged list, and nor do they know who allegedly wrote it. They don’t even claim the authors were Momentum or Labour members.
Second, we were contacted just 30 minutes before they go to print. There are also reports on Twitter that they had to rewrite half the paper at the last minute as their big, front page story was pulled.
Desperate for a new front page, did the Sunday Times just make up a story about Momentum instead?
This isn’t journalism. It’s propaganda.’ (Momentum)
Rupert Murdoch will be dead soon. Not one cent will he be able to take with him to the soil or ocean or wherever he seeks to be dispersed. But his ruinous reputation will be passed on to his family; executives and everyone who falls for the manipulative narrative and images across his and other media empires. Independent media must be heard and in time replace the anti democratic principles which are attempting omnipotence.
The corporate death rattle as with Mr Murdoch is close and that day will be a day to celebrate.