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

    @ Anon. I’m waiting until the relatives had their three days of mourning and then ask some questions, i.e. how come she was shot with one shot in the front garden and he then went back into the back garden to fall over? or were there two shots and the bloke who only heard one shot is deaf…
    we shall see.

  • Harry

    I read with amusement Dick The Prick’s post about fancying Rebekkah Brookes, and I must admit I read it with a certain sympathy and undersatnding because…..OK, I confess!…I admit to getting the hots for Major Avital Leibovitch and Tzipora Livn whenever I see them on the box.. Am I crazy, or am I just over-sexed? (PS – no,I’m I’m not Israeli, nor Jewish, nor a shill for afore-mentioned).

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    49 years hence and we still have no definitive answer. Anyone who questions the Warren Report gets consigned to UFO fringes.

    I just know there had to be at least 2 shooters; there are no magic bullets, and when shot through the head from the rear, the head goes forward, not back.

    Plus; where was Curtis LeMay , that bastard of Incendiary bombing and fascist ideology.


  • Yonatan

    So we have a jolly nice Canadian looking after the Bank of England for us. Why? Apparently because those awfully nice Canadians didn’t have the banking problems that just sort of crept up on large US and UK banks. So he’s the man to sort us out.

    Except –

    During the peak of the crisis 5 Canadian banks received $144 billion (Canadian) dollars ‘liquidity support’ (not a bailout you notice). The top three banks received support in excess of 100% of their value i.e. 3 major Canadian banks were totally underwater at the time. To put that into context, that $114 billion is 7% of total GDP, $3,4000 for ever Canadian man, woman and child.

    Funny how the Canadian government has tried to keep this sort of thing quiet. So what’s that all aboot, eh!

    More importantly, what did Osbourne not know and when did he not know it?


  • Habbabkuk

    @ Mary, re Margaret Hodge nee Oppenheimer : wasn’t the good lady also involved in soemthing rather peculiar quite a few years ago when she was (?) Chair of some London borough council (? Hackney)? Something to do with the social services, perhaps presiding over a useless childrens care service or something similar?

    Nice to see her as a fearless champion of the common man, now….

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    finally, on topic, sort of; http://www.vice.com/read/how-to-shut-down-internets-warren-ellis

    ” In the above two cases, we’re dealing with what, in science-fiction novels, might be some strange future iteration of the military-industrial complex, where regime and commerce are bound by blood and the cycle has come all the way back around to medieval ruling Houses in the satellite-powered Weird Present.”

  • conjunction

    I have been watching the debate in the Commons on Leveson for four or five hours. People are arguing across party lines and most support Leveson’s call for legislation. A number of Tories make compelling arguments for the freedom of the press and point out that it is a cornerstone of the US constitution, and I feel they are also calling up historical images of the rollicking imperialism of past centuries in this country, and the general freedom of the British aristocracy to beat up anyone they like.

    Proponents of Leveson cite the Irish system which is apparently like the one Leveson proposes, which offers redress for private individuals without going through the courts. Saves expense all round. One of the main points in our current system is that people can’t afford to fight libel cases in court, and also that some hurtful procedures by the press aren’t illegal.

    Therefore I reluctantly support the call for legislation. Yes Craig, you are right in saying that if no proprietor could own more than one daily the spirit of competition might force better practice. But that would not be enough. What is happening in this country in the press is appalling, and I would rather be wimpy and protect the public, and to hell with the freedom of the press.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Been watching ‘Bulworth’. Haven’t seen in years, but this bit of dialogue between Beatty and Berry is worth revisiting.

    You know a lotta people I talk to, the blacks your age, they have no idea who he was.
    (long pause)
    (long pause)
    Why do you think there are no more black leaders?

    Nina: (after a pause)
    Some people think it’s because they all got killed. But I think it’s got more to do with the decimation of the manufacturing base in the urban centers. Senator, an optimistic population throws up optimistic, energized leaders. And when you shift manufacturing to the Sun Belt in the Third World, you destroy the blue-collar core of the black activist population.

    Some people would say that problem is purely cultural. The power of the media that is continually controlled by fewer and fewer people, add to that the monopoly of the media, a consumer culture based on self-gratification, and you’re not likely to have a population that want’s leadership that calls for self-sacrifice.

    But the fact is, I’m just a materialist at heart. But if I look at the economic base, higher domestic employment means jobs for African Americans. World War II meant lots of jobs for black folks. That is what energized the community for the civil rights movement of the 50’s and the 60’s. An energized, hopeful community will not only produce leaders but more importantly it’ll produce leaders they’ll respond to.

    Now what do you think, Senator?

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Speaking of Movies, If you haven’t seen Lincoln, Daniel Day Lewis give his best performance since ‘My Left Foot’…Go see it, even if you only see one movie per year.

  • Clark

    The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
     Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit,
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
     Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

    Excerpts from the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (1048 – 1131)

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    To the general intent of Craigs point, if I may, there has to be some provision for those convicted of a felony, that they may not own media outlets, or be affiliated to them in any practical manner. It would be similar to the licensing in the State of Nevada, edging out the organized crime from Las Vegas.

    Fairly successful in that, I think. Although sham corps can be pretty opaque, these days, it still seems to have worked.

    Why not the same for the Media?

    Then there’s this on the sham run-up (ala Iraq) to some triangulation vis-a-vis Iran/Syria.

    FOX News, appropriately mirrors Murdoch’s Graven Image in this credulous assertion.

    “Syria is believed to have several hundred ballistic surface-to-surface missiles capable of carrying chemical warheads.”

    No sourcing, no rationale based on a single confidential source, off-the-record. Nothing except bald-faced public-relations press releasing the high quality of their product with the substantiation; ‘Trust Me”.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/12/03/syria-moves-chemical-weapons-white-house-warns-crossing-red-line/#ixzz2E2KsI1YN

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)


    Kahlil Gibhran was an early inspiration of mine; to wit;

    As great ships sojourn vast expanse to distant lands

    So the love of friends, a sea of adversity spans.

    As the oakmast of their loyalty, amid Tempest, stands.

  • glenn_uk

    Cameron appeared genuinely delighted to congratulate the happy royals on their news. No doubt he is – the newspapers will be full of little else for about a year. There probably isn’t anyone in Britain happier at the news, including the couple themselves.

    Nice to see some high public appointee (Kate) actually doing the job they were employed for.

  • oddie

    the MSM is monolithic, with or without further regulation.

    wonder if this bit of news today concerning Ari Ben-Menashe, author of “Profits of War”, will get reported outside Canada:

    Suspected arson burns Montreal home of self-described Israeli spy, purported arms dealer

    interview 1992 in australia:

    GreenLeft: Fact or fiction? The claims of Ari Ben-Menashe

  • oddie

    won’t be in the MSM, with or without further regulation –

    3 december –
    imemc – Palestinian Killed by Army Fire In Nablus
    Israel claimed that the man’s vehicles collided with an Israeli security jeep, and that he tried to attack Israeli security agents who were in the jeep with axe.
    The Maan News Agency reported that the man, identified as Hatem Shadid, 35, from Allar village near Nablus, was driving a car that collided with the Israeli military vehicle driving near Beit Lid village in the area, adding that the Israeli security vehicle overturned, and two Israeli security agents of the Shin Bet were injured…
    In related news, Israeli soldiers shot and injured a 16-year-old Palestinian from the Al-Boreij refugee camp in central Gaza.
    Medical sources in Gaza reported that Jihad Sawarka suffered minor injuries and was moved to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital….
    At least 40 Palestinians have been shot and wounded by Israeli military fire since Egypt brokered the cease fire deal that ended the recent Israeli war on Gaza, and more than 30 Palestinian fishermen have been kidnapped.
    The number of Palestinian killed due to Israeli fire and shells during the war, including those who died of their injuries after the ceasefire agreement was reached is 178, most of them were civilians, including children, infants, women and elderly. More than a thousand Palestinians have been injured, also most of them were civilians, including children….

  • Kempe

    “FOX News, appropriately mirrors Murdoch’s Graven Image in this credulous assertion.

    “Syria is believed to have several hundred ballistic surface-to-surface missiles capable of carrying chemical warheads.”

    No sourcing, no rationale based on a single confidential source, off-the-record. Nothing except bald-faced public-relations press releasing the high quality of their product with the substantiation; ‘Trust Me”.”




  • English Knight

    Are you afraid the goyim might be woken up from their slumber. BTW – why was the Almighty more silent than the Pope of Rome? Now go and hide in a corner in shame, and no more fake Hitlers dairies or Diary of Ann Frank ballpoint versions, we have had enough spin to last until the next wipeout !!

    [Mod/Jon: posted as Clarkstein, in fact this is English Knight]

  • English Knight

    So Assad is expected to be seated right next to the bully yiddy boy who has stolen his Golan Heights and has 400 nuclear weapons, and was caught transporting chemicals weapon feedstock in Amsterdam, with a slingshot or bow & arrow?!! The logic of your yiddish hasbara is incredible impudent, it seems you really think we goyim are sub human fools with lower intelligence?!!

    [Mod/Jon: Posted as @Kempe, in fact this is English Knight]

  • nevermind

    Well reported Mary, and most of us were never asked…
    @ Vronsky. I’m not feeling too well either, it feels as if an eight month media sickness is coming on.

  • guano

    Try eating apricots. They will remind you of the swinging testicles of the moment of conception and you will be even more intrusively informed than the rest of us.

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