We all know about the News of the World phone hacking scandal, well if you don’t or want a refresher check it out here; now that you’re all up to date let me go on; the scandal emphasised the power these companies have over our privacy and freedom of speech. These multinational companies have become too powerful for one country to regulate, largely due to the 1980’s lifting of bans on mergers known as ‘de-regulating the media’, basically meaning that the media is no longer regulated by the government but by commerce alone. The power of Murdoch’s media monopoly was never more evident than in the election that saw speedo wearing Abbott to come into power, during which Murdoch’s newspapers “responded in unison – as though to some divine wind – as they pursue their relentless campaigns in favour of current Murdoch objectives – particularly his political ones” (Manne 2013).
Murdoch’s columnist collectively portrayed Kevin Rudd in a negative light, News Corp leading the attack dogs, who went in for Rudd’s brutal character assassination. Headlines from the Courier Mail, Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph and the Sunday mail portrayed Rudd as ‘venomous, volatile, nasty, self-addicted, twittering Facebook junkie, fake and narcissistic’; while Abbott was depicted as ‘hugely intelligent, and down-to-earth’ (Manne 2013). The papers spotting headlines such as ‘I know Nuthink’ and ‘It’s a Ruddy Mess’; these anti-labour front page items featured in all critical Murdoch press, leaving critics to name the Liberal’s efforts as “the dirtiest, the lowest campaign ever run by a major political party”. (Manne 2013). Some might argue that this is one of the main reasons that Abbott won the race.
These scenario only further highlights the political power that media giants like Newscorp have to influence elections, policies and laws that govern the country; so the question lends itself, are governments ruling the country or is it a case of corporate governance or what McDonough outlines as ‘Corporatogracy’ (2013). Which one would be more detrimental for society, or is it merely a case of choosing the better of two evils, I believe that governments being mostly governed by the people, presents more transparency and control by the public than corporations, which serve the interest of a small group of people. While legislation to reduce the power of corporations are currently inadequate, our only hope is that the government can devise effective legislations that will lead to a unbiased and uncommercialized media force, but until then, it is up to each of us to be vigilant and observe any wrong doing by either party.