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Preston Clive in Preston Clive - THE IRRITATED AMERICAN, Wielding The Digital Hatchet,

​When the Thunder God Runs A Newspaper

THE IRRITATED AMERICAN

Rupert Murdoch kicks a candidate out of his News Corp office (IMAGE:strangehorizons.com)

All of us with our football hangovers are slowly oozing back into the real world of politics and business. Developments come fast and furious and the past weekend was no exception—Super Bowl notwithstanding—as we learned to our tremendous grief and rampant disgust that Global Religious Imbecile Number One, the man who fronts (in video image anyhow) the organization called ISIS/ISIL, who we call Jihadi John, disgracefully beheaded honorable Kenji Goto when negotiations for his release apparently fell apart.

Along with this came the news on Friday that Republican Governor Mitt Romney will not be running for President a third time. Whenever a former presidential candidate steps out of the race, it makes news of course, but there are murmurings humming around the playing field to the effect that one of the primary factors behind Romney’s decision to not seek his party’s nomination for President is owing to the fact that media titan Rupert Murdoch said that he was a “terrible candidate” and that—according to Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal—his last campaign for president, 2012, was “a calamity.”

It’s no secret via the political leanings of his holdings Fox, the New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal that Mr. Murdoch is a conservative Republican. It’s a fact as nakedly obvious as B following A and 2 following 1. It’s that simple.

Naturally one would want Murdoch—doubly so if a Republican—in their corner if they were contemplating a run for high office. Taking this line of thought just a touch further, one would not want a man like Murdoch, if not actively supporting them, to go around publicly expressing negative opinions about their campaign. Inasmuch as the man has many tendrils down along which flow his general political opinion, constantly throughout the day on editorialized television and daily on electronic and hard copy journals and tabloids, having him running counter to your efforts would clearly fall into the category of Not Fun Stuff.

But have we actually arrived at the point where the opinion of a single individual like Murdoch, or Mike Bloomberg—another heavily connected media mogul with multiple conduits for daily expression and contact with the public—can send a viable political candidate packing with his head hanging low in defeat before the race even begins? Is the knowledge that one single man—vastness of influence notwithstanding—is not behind you enough to kill an entire endeavor for political office?

If that is so, then we have indeed hit unique times; this would be a problem, I would suppose, unique to Republicans. Democrats don’t have a genuine equivalent—there are media hubs that are owned by more progressive voices, but there are few magnates on the scale of a Murdoch. There is no one single mega-mogul of the liberal bent who all candidates woo.

Those who are tempted to believe that a Republican--or anybody for that matter--simply cannot win a political race without the necessary endorsement of Murdoch should take a look at Barack Obama. The man was elected twice in a row with the Murdoch media factory pumping out anti-liberal rhetoric round the clock. The Republican machine skewers plenty of politicians at all levels, who get elected nonetheless.

As of yet I have identified no actual, demonstrable gods—actual thunderous deities of the media who can zap a politician to a cinder with a light point of a death-ray firing index finger. They do not sit up on high in the lofty clouds, dispensing with all seeing wisdom and campaign nourishment. If somebody doesn’t like your program of politics, hell with em, and move on, jack!

Preston Clive

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