“Murdochracy”. I have to admit that I didn’t come up with the word – it was mentioned on a 60 Minutes story back in 2011 – but I wish I did and I would probably be walking around campus with a lot of pride if I had.
An investigator on the story that detailed the now defunct News of the World phone hacking scandal – which saw not only celebrities and politicians targeted, but also murder and terrorism victims and their families – was largely due to Rupert Murdoch’s control over global media and how dismisses his role (even as a Chairman) in the whole event.
That criminal offence combined with a downplay of his part in the scandal is exactly why it matters who owns and controls the media. It does matter who controls what we as a global society read, see or hear. It does matter how an individual conducts themselves when preparing news stories and it does matter how the information we are given has been gained in the first place.
For Rupert Murdoch, a man whose own political opinions and beliefs are known to make headlines in Australian newspapers, to say that he is not aware of wrongdoings such as the phone hacking scandal while they are happening is not only ludicrous but disrespectful to those effected. Simple. As. That.
However, despite his obvious influence over international media such as newspapers and television stations, he has one type of media he cannot control: social media.
Facebook is a huge multinational company that connects over a billion people worldwide. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, is always posting on his own page about updates, initiatives and personal opinions and keeping up to date with user needs and desires.
Never before (on such a global scale at least) have we been able to direct message or comment with a powerful CEO such as Zuckerberg. From what used to be a complicated if not impossible system to contact someone in such power has now become something that can be done with a click of a button.
Unlike Murdoch who relies on viewers and people to buy his newspapers, Zuckerberg is literally in control over one billion people directly. Facebook has become such an unprecedented media platform – but just because it has popularity does not mean it is perfect or that Zuckerberg is an international treasure.
Media is ultimately a story of control. It started with newspapers, then television, and now the internet. Murdoch may have a large portion of control now, but as this generation and the next progresses, social media will completely destroy newspapers and new internet platforms will take its place.
And that will make all the difference in the world.
Image credit: http://theconversation.com/murdoch-and-his-influence-on-australian-political-life-16752