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July 29, 2011

Conrad Black and Rupert Murdoch

The Canadian Charger

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Conrad Black and Rupert Murdoch are Zionists, strong supporters of Israel, right-wing politicians and the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq; and both are founders of media empires to propagate their views.

Black is a convicted criminal by the US courts and Murdoch is under criminal investigation in the UK, Australia and the US.

Canada’s National Post published a 1000-word article by Black in defence of Murdoch on July 23, 2011 with the title “American prosecutors will use any pretext to go after a controversial press magnate (he means Murdoch) – Sound familiar? (he means himself).

As a police investigation of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation expands, Avaaz is seeking support for its campaign to stop Murdoch and clean up our media for good.

Avaaz.org is an international civic organization established in January 2007 that promotes activism on issues such as climate change, human rights and religious conflicts. Its stated mission is to "ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making." The organization operates in thirteen languages, and has over nine million members in 193 countries.

Citing Mr. Murdoch as a global problem who corrupts and controls democracies by pushing politicians to back his extremist ideas on war, torture and climate change, Avaaz states in its press release that Mr. Murdoch's reign of fear is breaking down, with many on the edge of speaking out; but public opinion must be mobilized to push law enforcement officials to investigate Mr. Murdoch further and politicians to pass laws that will clean up our media for good.

For weeks, nearly daily revelations have uncovered the extent of Mr. Murdoch's corrupt media in the UK.

His operatives hacked the phones of thousands of people, including grieving widows and soldiers who died in Iraq, stole a Prime Minister's bank information and harassed him for 10 years, paid huge sums to police officers; and Rupert's son, James Murdoch, himself authorized hush money to victims.

But revelations coming to light in the ongoing scandal in the UK are but the tip of the iceberg as Mr Murdoch's News Corporation has an extensive global reach, with a presence in most countries and annual revenue of more than $31 billion.

Meanwhile, in the last ten years, the Australian-born billionaire has used the U.S. government's increasingly lax media regulations to consolidate his hold over the media and wider political debate in America.

Consider Mr. Murdoch's empire: According to Businessweek, "his satellites deliver TV programs in five continents, all but dominating Britain, Italy, and wide swaths of Asia and the Middle East. He publishes 175 newspapers, including the New York Post and The Times of London. In the U.S., he owns the Twentieth Century Fox Studio, Fox Network, and 35 TV stations that reach more than 40% of the country...His cable channels include fast-growing Fox News, and 19 regional sports channels. In all, as many as one in five American homes at any given time will be tuned into a show News Corp. either produced or delivered.”

His voice was the loudest in the world's English-language press in championing the invasion of Iraq. The Guardian reported before the war Mr. Murdoch gave “his full backing to war, praising George Bush as 'acting morally' and correctly' and describing Tony Blair as 'full of guts'” for his support of the war.

While American and British politicians continue to deny the significance of oil in the war, Mr. Murdoch said before the war, “The greatest thing to come out of this for the world economy... would be $20 a barrel oil.  That's bigger than any tax cut in any country.”

He later said, "Once [Iraq] is behind us, the whole world will benefit from cheaper oil which will be a bigger stimulus than anything else."

Recently, backbenchers in British Prime Minister David Cameron's government have expressed resentment at the way he treats them compared with the way he has lavished attention on News International officials. Mr. Cameron has met its top executives 26 times in the 15 months since he became prime minister.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has released details showing that the courting of News International has also involved, repeatedly, members of the Cameron inner circle. Downing Street's special advisers were hosted by senior employees of News International or its media outlets on 26 occasions in the first seven months of this government.

The bureau calculated that this was 23% of the 111 events on the hospitality register, far outstripping all other organizations. Combined, business organizations, lobby groups and charities entertained special advisers just 28 times.

Downing Street staff were almost twice as likely to receive hospitality from News International than the BBC, Britain's largest news organization, which entertained Downing Street special advisers only 14 times.

Ed Llewellyn, Mr. Cameron's chief of staff, was treated by News International to tickets to a concert on 17 December, along with Kate Fall, who runs Mr. Cameron's office. Gabby Bertin, Mr. Cameron's official spokeswoman, was wined and dined by News International nine times, including a trip to last year's Wimbledon.

Meanwhile, as candidates start campaigning for the Republican US presidential nomination, Fox News now has deals with every major potential Republican presidential candidate not currently in elected office, with the exception of Mitt Romney.

The matter is of no small consequence, since it’s uncertain how other news organizations can cover the early stages of the presidential race when some of the main GOP contenders are contractually forbidden to appear on any TV network besides Fox.

At issue are basic matters of political and journalistic fairness and propriety. With Fox effectively becoming the flagship network of the right and, more specifically, the tea party movement, the four Republicans it employs enjoy an unparalleled platform from which to speak directly to primary voters who will determine the party’s next nominee.

Their Fox jobs allow these politicians an opportunity to send conservative activists a mostly unfiltered message in what is almost always a friendly environment. Fox opinion hosts typically invite the Republicans simply to offer their views on issues of the day, rather than press them to defend their rhetoric or records as leaders of the party.

What is particularly worrisome for some in the political and media community, though, is that behind potential Republican star candidate Sarah Palin's incessant attacks on what she calls “the lamestream media,” is a strategy to de-legitimize traditional news.

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