Leveson: Wrong Answer to the Wrong Question 192

I am with David Cameron and Rupert Murdoch in one respect on the Leveson report. British mainstream politicians are still more repulsive and self-seeking than the British mainstream media, and state regulation of the media, however modulated, is not good.

But Leveson was answering the wrong question.

The real problem is the ownership structure of UK mainstream media. Newspapers and broadcasters function as the propaganda tool of vast and intertwined corporate interests, shaping public opinion to the benefit of those corporate interests and ensuring popular support for politicians prepared to be complicit with those interests.

The only answer to this is to break up the corporate structure of the UK mainstream media. The legislative framework to do this is not difficult. What needs to be changed are the criteria. I would propose something like this; no organisation, state or private, should be allowed effective control of more than 20% of the national or regional newspaper market or the television market, or more than 15% of those combined markets.

The extraordinary thing is that Leveson specifically states that plurality issues do fall within his terms of reference, and that he must address them. He then completely fails to address them. At pages 29-30 of the executive summary of his report, he acknowledges that the current situation is unsatisfactory but makes no recommendations for change, only urging “Greater transparency on decision making on mergers”.

Leveson has provided us with the distraction of an argument about a regulatory body to look primarily at invasion of privacy abuse. The important factor for Leveson is not what Cameron or Clegg think of that idea. It is what Murdoch and the media corporations think of it, and the truth is that they could live with it, after huffing and puffing, because it would have zero effect on theirfinancial bottom line.

But what Leveson has totally failed to do – and doubtless never had the slightest intention of doing – was anything that hurts the corporate financial interests. Leveson’s failure seriously to address the question of media ownership and its use in the nexus of commercial and political interests is itself an appalling act of establishment collusion. Very successfully so – in all the “debate” going on about the regulatory body, the media ownership question has completely vanished. Brilliant.

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192 thoughts on “Leveson: Wrong Answer to the Wrong Question

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  • nevermind

    sorry phil, have been out all day, moving chickens a stressful time for these little darlings, just as for us. Then I watched Norwich win against the Sunderland Geordies 2-1, a treat, it was a good game, but cold.

    Phil please disregard, I was of the wrong impression that my historical knowledge of Cow Tower Norwich in 1411 would show up on the internet. It was the year the Jewish progrom started in Norwich.
    I cannot find it and shall have to look into the real annals in Norwich castle museum, sorry for leading you up the garden path.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)


    You seem attached to your hatchlings. As one who is considering the sense of chicken coops, let me ask; How do you deal with your ‘lazy layers’.? I ask because me spouse gets attached to hatchlings 🙂

  • Jemand

    “European Union member states are preparing to fight as a bloc alongside the United States to prevent a move by Russia and countries in Africa to impose a levy on internet traffic and make it easier to track users’ activities.”


    Once the mainstream media make the leap to the internet, expect all sorts of efforts to choke off minor competition and independent commentary until it resembles something like the current paradigm.

  • Mary

    TfL covered up the state of the Hammnersmith flyover. The rest of the report does nothing to inspire confidence in some other concrete structures especially in the light of the Japanese tunnel collapse at the weekend.

    Best to stay at home and hide under the duvet. 🙂

    TfL report warned of Hammersmith Flyover collapse
    Hammersmith Flyover is used by 90,000 vehicles a day

    A major London road remained open for weeks after a report warned of a small risk it could collapse at any moment.


  • Nostromo

    I am afraid if you had restrictions on ownership,who would want a newspaper?
    You would be left with local council free sheet propaganda,or other sponsored papers.Would that be better?
    Nobody forces you to believe what you read.

  • nevermind

    This will make the 729 barcode protests even more popular a ridiculous affair. why has Palestine got to use Israel as the tax collecting authority, when they could ask Egypt?

    Point is, that Israel has seized all records of state when the incarcerated 69 Hamas MP’ after the initial election some years back, again a revenge measure, the bully boys did not like Hamas winning a democratic elections when the west spent so much money on Fatah’s election effort.

    I don’t think much of the lame recall threat, the returning of our ambassador farce/stick, who is Hague trying to kid? how would that help Palestinians who see no returns for their economic efforts?

  • Mary

    Hague the Zionist supporter probably has no intention of recalling Gould. Instead he has called Taub in for a cosy chat on the price of fish.


    I have been watching a recording of a committee hearing when Lord Patten and acting DG Tim Davie were giving evidence on the Savile case. Patten had a particularly bad time from a Con MP called Philip Davies to the extent where the viewer could feel some sympathy for Patten although he withstood it by staying calm and using sarcasm.

    I looked Davies up. A career with a bookies and Asda led him to the green benches. He is a Conservative Friend of Israel btw.


    Overseas visits
    26-31 May 2007, to Israel, hosted by Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI). CFI contributed to the cost of flights, accommodation and some meals. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Official Guests Department) contributed to the costs of travel inside Israel, some accommodation and three meals. (Registered 7 June 2007)

  • John Goss

    O/T Mr Craig Murray, Sir, I have sent you an important open letter privately on Facebook addressed to the new Nobel laureates and composed by a Swedish supporter of Julian Assange. It would be good if this letter was endorsed by influential figures like yourself. I’ve likewise sent it to Patrick Haseldine in the UK and Andrew Kreig in Washington. Suggestions and the endorsement by others you may know would be welcome.

  • TonyF12

    I agree with your conclusions and the reasoning behind them.

    There are a couple of extra considerations.

    (i) How will the BBC be regulated when it already has so many channels and is so strong on the internet? The BBC has a very complicated relationship with central government which controls its funding and treats it (post Hutton) as a communication arm of government policy?

    (ii) How can we regulate communications through global organisations like Google, Facebook and Twitter all of which are heavily involved in how information reaches us in our daily lives?

  • Heretic

    What happened to the right of reply? When ‘holocaust denial’ messages get deleted one side of the argument always remains online for some odd reason.

    E.g. the Huffington Post article linked by Kempe @ 2 Dec, 2012 – 1:52 pm states the foundation are ‘likely’ gas chambers – which is not the same as them actually being gas chambers and a pit that ‘could’ hold the ashes of 400,000 does not mean that it does or that it did. My perfectly valid response, pointing out that this does not represent evidence, has been deleted.

    Anyone who frequented blairwatch.co.uk back in the day will recognise *exactly* who’s running this site.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Spot on Mr Murray. By changing direction of the argument towards media regulation (which of course will not be supported by many) the argument of media ownership has evaporated. This is carefully though trough and even more carefully presented deception. Whole reason of the inquiry was sort of show trial. Brooks was made a scapegoat (quite deservingly) but at the same time many others involved kept their regalities. Along with the MPs expenses scandal Levson’s show case demonstrates that 1. Establishment is corrupt 2. There is nothing that WILL be done to seriously address this problem but show trials and few scapegoats.

  • Herbie

    Why is government so concerned over mainstream media, other than they see them as core to their needs.

    It’s ridiculous to talk of the reform of mainstream media. They are what they are, a malign obstruction to normal human communication.

    They can’t be reformed. They are the problem.

    As with the Reformation over another malign institution that sought to tell us how to think, the Catholic Church, we need only our bloggers, our pamphleteers to free us from this disgusting tyranny.

    Abolition of middlemen everywhere is the only solution.

  • Clark

    “Regulation of the media” – this term is so vague that it is meaningless. However, it’s propaganda value is high, because “media regulation” is so widely thought of as repressive and a “bad thing”.

    The large, corporate “news” media are clearly heavily influenced (ie. regulated) in certain specific directions already.

    The question of media ownership can be considered in the wider context of corporate ownership in general. I propose a “market share” tax. Corporations should be charged tax in proportion to their market share in a given sector. Any corporation that achieves 100% market share in a sector would be charged 100% tax on their profit in that sector.

    I’m no economist and I recognise the crudity of my proposal. I offer it for discussion and improvement.

  • Anon


    Neighbour only heard one gunshot strangely


    David Stow, who lives nearby, said he heard a single gunshot on Sunday.

    “We’re in the country so we hear a lot of gunshots and at first I didn’t think anything of it,” he said.

    “But then I saw the police arrive and realised it must be something serious. I knew them to speak to and they always seemed a very nice couple.”

  • mark golding

    Agent Cameron, as gate-keeper of the well established ‘Research Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism (RISCT), based at 136 Baker Street, London’ that uses journalists as field operatives, has walked away from the Leveson Inquiry debate on which there exists no vote.

    Agent Cameron I believe has been advised by his masters to fence the debate around a compulsory ethical regulation of the press that dilutes to a voluntary watchdog while retaining the established Blairite CIA liased Anglo-American influence from British Intelligence services and think-tanks like the Ditchley Foundation and Chatham House. Such influence, for instance, assures MSM allegiance to NATO, the British nuclear deterrent and of course the ‘war of terror.

  • guano

    And if he didn’t do his masters’ bidding might very well find himself as a 2-dimensional toff character sliding off a roof in the Archers. Is this the meaning of Realpolitick? : I lie, therefore I am.

  • Mary

    The BBC broke into the Leveson debate with the news of the royal pregnancy. That will fill the papers for the next eight months at least. Yawn.

    Sopel and Maitlis were caught out and were proved to be rather dim and uneducated. Neither could work out the meaning of the medical condition hyperemesis gravidarum provided in the press statement.

    Any secondary school kid –
    Hyper excessive
    emesis vomiting
    gravida in a pregnant condition

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