Saturday, May 12, 2012

David Cameron's LOL Moment

Boy, are Rupert Murdoch and his minions getting a royal pasting in merry old England. The Leveson Inquiry is certainly doing its job of showing the world here just how closely entwined Murdoch's people became with the serving British government of the day.

Politicians and journalists, here, are a bit too close and cosy for comfort, especially when it comes to Murdoch's people and the influence they wield with politicians of both stripes. I'm really, really, really, really hoping this sort of inquiry makes it Stateside. Fox News and its various Presidential candidates would be, I imagine, the tip of the iceberg.

Remember when the Obama Administration, back in 2009, opined that Fox News was not really a news service but more of a propaganda machine and stated that they wouldn't be treated as seriously as the "proper" news services?

The "proper" new services threw the Queen Mother of all strops, led by those ever-so-principled political journalists (not), Jake Tapper and (up)Chuck Todd, who threatened to boycott White House press briefings unless Fox were treated fairly.

I don't know if, apart from Fox, our politicos are too sucked up with various journalists - although Sherrod Brown is married to one, but I certainly do think the political media, in general, in the US could do with being taken down a peg.

Anyway, that nice David Cameron seems to have found himself right in the thick of the shit, when it comes to politicians being overly-familiar with the Fourth Estate. The supercilious little prick  fellow who actually started the investigation which led to the Leveson Inquiry was Andy Coulson, who had formerly edited Murdoch's Sunday tabloid, the now-defunct News of the World. When his hacking activities became known (after it was discovered that NOTW had hacked into Prince William's cellphone), he was toast. From disgraced newspaper editor, Coulson made his way up the greasy political pole to become no less than media spokesperson for Call-Me-Dave, himself (think Jay Carney, for his American counterpart).

When his former colleagues in the press began doing their investigative jobs properly, Coulson resigned last year.

But now, the latest brouhaha concerns, Murdoch's CEO, Rebekah Brooks, the hollow-eyed woman of mystery with the titian-coloured Pre-Raphaelite hairstyle.

Brooks, formerly Wade, has always been an enigma. She's from a fairly unremarkable background, lied about attending the Sorbonne, and scrabbled her way upwards to become editor of Murdoch's premiere daily rag, The Sun.

The Sun is a newspaper for Conservatives who can't read, so there are lots of pictures, what print there is contains lots of lies, and there's even a naked lady on page 3 for temptation purposes only.

Murdoch's papers have traditionally supported the Conservative political agenda here in the UK, until 1997, when they swung their support behind Conservative-Lite, Tony Blair; but they found Gordon Brown a bit too cloth-cap and working class for their tastes and dumped him to support Cameron.

Brooks is currently giving evidence before the inquiry, and her testimony is creepy in the context of just how chummy this woman, who headed probably the biggest cable news organisation in the world, which included some of the most influential tabloid and otherwise newspapers, was with at least two British Prime Ministers.

You can read The Guardian's account of Brooks's testimony here.

Brooks was the go-to woman in the Murdoch empire, so much so that politicians sucked up to her in an effort to stay on the good side of Murdoch, but no politician seemed to cosy up more to her than that nice David Cameron, whom, she confirmed, regularly sent her text messages at least twice weekly, each one ending with "LOL."

There was laughter in court 73 of the royal courts of justice when Jay asked Brooks how Cameron would sign off his texts, prompting Lord Justice Leveson to make a rare intervention to ask why this was necessary.
Jay said he was happy to be overruled and withdraw the question. After a pause, Brooks turned to Leveson to ask what his decision was, and the judge instructed her to "answer the question".
"He would sign them off 'DC' in the main. Occasionally, he would sign them off 'LOL', lots of love, until I told him it meant laugh out loud and then he didn't sign them like that any more," Brooks replied.

 So that nice David Cameron was so unfamiliar with standard textese as to confuse, "laugh-out-loud" with what he really wanted to say to his friend in need, "lots of love." Makes all the sense in the world, considering that Brooks later admitted that both Cameron and Tony Blair had sent her messages of support after she was arrested for her part in authorising the phone hackery.

Just to add insult to injury, Cameron's culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, was figuratively a bedfellow of Murdoch's people.

It's been revealed via a leaked e-mail from Frederic Michel, chief lobbyist for Murdoch's News International, to the ubiquitous Ms Brooks, that Hunt sought advice from News International regarding how he should respond, on behalf of the government, to the crisis.

That's sorta kinda like Murdoch's people playing the puppetmeisters and the Conservative elected representatives playing the puppets ... like Punch and Judy, or as Labour Leader Ed Miliband, in a rare moment of lucidity, remarked:-

 "One of the reasons so many people hate politics so much right now is that they think politicians stand up for the wrong people, not the right people.
"This is a clear example of that - Jeremy Hunt was standing up for Rupert Murdoch, not for the public interest. Out of touch with the many. Too close to the few. Jeremy Hunt should go."

Boy, does the bit in bold hit home! Standing up for the corporations, fat cats and shady members of the 1% is a universal characteristic of conservatives. In truth, Cameron's simplistic confusion between "laugh-out-loud" and "lots-of-love," might just cost him his job. As far as Brooks goes, she'll slip out of this with a slap on her elegant wrist and a fine, and her Transatlantic counterpart Arianna Huffington will, no doubt, be hovering to offer her a byline and the position of editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post UK Division.

Maybe then, the fragrant Rebekah can entice that nice David Cameron to blog for them for free ...


No comments:

Post a Comment