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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

kiss up to the powerful in exchange for positive coverage: your mainstream media at work (aka Rupert Murdoch is an evil toad)

Rupert Murdoch

I’m not even surprised by this (from UKPA via Google News):

Charlotte Church described how she agreed to waive a £100,000 fee for singing at Rupert Murdoch’s wedding in exchange for a promise of future favourable coverage in his papers.

The star, dubbed the Voice of an Angel, told the Leveson Inquiry into press standards she was just 13 at the time and wanted to take the money.

But she was persuaded by her management and record company that she should go for the option of being “looked on favourably” by a “powerful man” like Mr Murdoch.

We cannot blame Church for this: she was a kid.

“Despite my teenage business head screaming, ‘think how many Tamagotchis you could buy!’, I was pressured into taking the latter option,” she said in a witness statement.

“This strategy failed for me. In fact Mr Murdoch’s newspapers have since been some of the worst offenders, so much so that I have sometimes felt that there has actually been a deliberate agenda.”

We can blame the adults who were responsible for her and gave in to what can only be considered blackmail. Mostly, we should blame Murdoch’s crew, who obviously felt so secure in their power that they could actually baldly demand the tit-for-tat that corporate media and the people it covers regularly engage in on a more unspoken level.

Hilariously and with a whiff of desperation about it, Jeff Bercovici at Forbes attempts to deflect this:

Church’s handlers were exactly right about one thing: She was indeed “in the early stages of her career.” As such, there was all sorts of non-monetary benefit to be derived from attending the Murdoch-Deng wedding as an invited guest rather than as the hired entertainment. Kid-glove treatment from the News of the World might not do much for her bank account, but wowing a yacht full of entertainment executives could lead directly to a record or movie deal, one worth a lot more than £100,000.

And then there’s the fact that Church never actually got any of the favorable treatment she thought she’d been promised. She takes this as evidence of treachery, but isn’t it as least as plausibly a sign that no quid pro quo existed? Or that Murdoch’s editors and reporters operate at least somewhat independently of his agenda? Wouldn’t the real conspiracy be if Murdoch’s tabloids had fawned over her? Of course, then she’d have no reason to testify against him.

Of course no quid pro quo existed. Why would it? Anyone would be happy to work for free for the likes of Rupert Murdoch just because. It’s how the world works: you should be happy for a job, any job, even one that doesn’t pay anything at all. (Forbes.com operates under the same principle, by the way.)

Bercovici might like to consider the parable of the scorpion who stings you as you carry him across the river, even though it means the scorpion dies, too. Because it’s in his nature to sting you.



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