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July 08, 2011

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BR

Congratulations, Fist of Harmony
and the rest of the cybersleuths!
Totally enjoyed the piercing of the veil!

Threadkiller

This is all I have on Franklin.

Content warning!!

Melinda Romanoff

"diligent, scholarly, and shy"

(retook it.)

Chubby

so this is where all the shy people hang out :)

diligent and scholarly were less surprising

JM Hanes

Melinda:

"I always thought I more like the other guy, on the other hill in Va."

That's rather interesting in its own right. I've been a devoted Jefferson fan since my earliest days in history class, to the point of reassuring myself with his comment about fixing reason firmly in her seat wrt to God, when I found myself stunningly overawed by my first cathedral at 16. It was only after years of feeling uniquely (oh-so-specially) Jeffersonian I began to realize that we definitely had some differences of opinion, and that one of the reasons he remains the most quotable of historical figures is because he seems to have taken every side of every issue at some point in his life, a somewhat dubious achievement.

Oddly enough, Madison & Jefferson had some serious disagreements too, but developed one of the closest relationships among the Founding Fathers, the intimacy of which is suggested by the fact that one of Sally Hemmings sons was named James Madison Hemmings. As Madisonians, then, we are actually about as near to the guy on the other hill as you can get (without, I daresay, some of his most irritating flaws, no?).

It's a Big Fuckin Deal

Boehner on a Bucking Bronco »

Is This the End of Rico — I Mean Rupert Murdoch? (UPDATED)
POSTED BY JOE GANDELMAN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF IN FEATURED ARTICLES, MEDIA.
JUL 10TH, 2011 | NO RESPONSES


Is Australian-born international media and political baron Rupert Murdoch’s power now on the wane or at least stemmed? Does the growing fallout from the News of the World phone hacking scandal that caused Murdoch to close the paper and rush to London a sign that those who’ve been uneasy about his huge influence and growing ownership of media properties throughout the world are about to finally (even slightly) reign him in?

This all brings to mind the famous scene in the still-must-see gangster classic Little Caesar where Edward. G. Robinson as the Al Capone prototype ends up in the gutter saying “Is this the end of Rico?”

Talk about Murdoch’s greatly reduced influence may be overblown but he’s now like the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz, exposed as the old man behind the curtain: in this case no one is accusing him of even knowing about the phone hacking scandal but he is accuse of creating and fostering a corporate media culture that allowed it to happen. And repeatedly happen.

Murdoch and his company and those who enable or cheer him on are in effect saying as in the movie: “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

That may now be easier said than done.

Charles Moore, in the Sydney Morning Herald (a paper I contributed to when I wrote from India, Spain and Bangladesh in the 70s) says Murdoch’s “spell” is broken. It’s worth taking a detailed look at his argument (h/T RealClearWorld) since he is not demonizing Murdoch and in fact has some praise for him:

Until last week, it seemed the rule of Rupert Murdoch would end only with his death. But now, I think, the end is in sight. He may live to a great age (Murdoch is 80), but his power will never recover.

One day, some time in the mid-1990s, I was editing London’s Daily Telegraph and Murdoch had just launched a new front in the price war designed to destroy us, by dropping the price of his paper, The Times, to 10 pence on Mondays. Conrad Black, our then owner, loves historical comparisons. ”I feel like Talleyrand,” he told me, ”when he realised that Napoleon’s only policy was one of conquest.” It was a just comparison, because it acknowledged Murdoch’s greatness and his destructiveness.

The greatness is in his courage and ingenuity, and in his understanding of the media. It was Murdoch who established Australia’s first national newspaper, Murdoch who saw that The Sun, an ailing, feeble, left-wing newspaper that he bought in 1969, could be turned into the most popular publication in Britain, and Murdoch, in the late 1980s, who realised satellite broadcasting would revolutionise television. He first grasped the importance of the Chinese media market, he made the British newspaper industry profitable by smashing print unions in the 1980s, and broke the stranglehold of the TV networks in the US.

AND:

His career has straddled every time zone and every medium. Murdoch is an Australian who has a love/hate relationship with Britain, and became a US citizen to advance his ambitions, so his story is part of the great imperial history of the Anglosphere. It is the most remarkable in the history of newspapers.

When you meet him, it is impossible not to be impressed and charmed by all of this. Unlike his son, James, who uses the wretched jargon of the business school, the old man speaks directly, wittily and even affectionately about his trade. He loves journalism, and pays attention to it. He has, as we used to say, ”ink in his veins”.

He also analyses political and social change well. On the basis of this approach, he built a huge commercial and journalistic success. But if the man is a genius, there is a touch of evil in that genius. This is expressed in power-mania, cynicism and – though it does not seem to be a personal characteristic of his – cruelty.

He gives some examples of not laudable Murdoch behavior (go to the link to read the compete must-read piece) and concludes:

Once you run papers that way it becomes almost logical to snoop on the voicemail of a murdered teenager. The power of the Murdoch empire has also made it hard for other newspapers to take a stand against such methods – hence the weakness of self-regulation and the self-censorship of journalists who may one day want to take the Murdoch shilling.

Above all, the cynicism extends to politics. Murdoch has genuine political beliefs and he advances them fairly consistently. But his main interest is in using his power to get more of it. When he switched The Sun from Labour to Margaret Thatcher in good time for the 1979 election he could plausibly argue that her beliefs and his interests coincided.

But as the years passed, his main game became simply to work out who was likely to win, back him, and then threaten him if he did not grant the commercial concessions he sought.

And further down his conclusion:

Even if one rejoices – as one should – at the breaking of the spell, there is an element of tragedy here. This denouement has come about because Mr Murdoch wanted to get full control of the broadcaster BSkyB. His motive seems to have been to ensure a fine inheritance for his children. Who now believes that a great media dynasty will be established? The great conqueror has met his Waterloo.

Overstated? Most likely not. And here is some evidence that there is already fallout again via the Sydney Morning Herald:

As the last edition of the disgraced Sunday tabloid was published yesterday, public reaction to the scandal intensified, with major advertisers and investors taking aim at the company.

Renault pulled all advertising from the News International group, including The Times and The Sunday Times. The Church of England’s investment arm said it would sell millions of dollars worth of News Corp shares if senior managers were not held to account for News of the World’s ”utterly reprehensible and unethical” conduct.

….Labour will seek a vote in Parliament this week for the $A17.9 billion BSkyB deal to be delayed until police inquiries into the scandal are completed, which could take years.
News Corp wants to buy the 61 per cent of the satellite broadcaster it does not already own. But there are concerns over whether the company is a ”fit and proper” owner after last week’s revelations that News of the World hacked into the voicemail of a murdered 13-year-old girl, Milly Dowler, and accessed the phones of relatives of dead soldiers and bereaved families of terror victims.

The company initially passed the scandal off as the work of one rogue reporter. But The Sunday Times, a News of the World stablemate, now says an internal News report in 2007 uncovered evidence that hacking was more widespread than previously admitted.

Here’s PBS’ News Hour’s take on the impact of the scandal on Murdoch and his company:


An editorial in The Guardian’s Observer reads in part:

So what kind of an organisation provides a home for such a culture? Over 40 years, Murdoch convinced the establishment that he can make or break political reputations and grant or take away electoral success. In doing so, he has come close to gelding parliament, damaging the rights of citizens and undermining democracy. It is legitimate to ask how a naturalised American, domiciled in New York, born in Australia, and who pays next to no UK tax, holds so much sway. What right exactly did this man have to exert such influence over our political life? Freedom of information requests reveal that he spoke to prime minister Tony Blair three times in the 10 days that led up to the Iraq invasion in 2003. This was a perversion of our politics, orchestrated by a man whose power the establishment failed to check. Then they had to live with the demeaning consequences.

And what did Britain get in return for gifting this man the back keys to political power? (Literally in Murdoch’s case, as he swept into Downing Street days after last year’s election and then left by the back door). In return, a swaggering, bullying, crassly ineffective News International treated British citizens with contempt by hacking their phones and treated the media, police and politicians investigating the affair with wilful disdain and barely concealed threats. Let this never happen again on our watch.

Prime ministers have danced fast and furiously to Murdoch’s tune….

….Abuses of power have certainly occurred around News International. For several years, police failed to notify potential victims of hacking and follow up leads. The police in Surrey appear to have known about the Dowler hacking but did little. Since January, however, the Met’s deputy assistant commissioner, Sue Akers, head of Operation Weeting, has been in charge. More arrests are expected. Clearly, the police have much to explain and much to reform. We need a full account of the failure of earlier investigations to unearth the widespread evidence of wrongdoing that is now coming to light.

There are huge challenges ahead, too, for Britain’s newspapers. In the 1960s, Hugh Cudlipp of the Daily Mirror dismissed the Press Council as “an exercise in futility”. The current PCC has more powers but, ill-equipped as it has proved to be, its bite still seems gummy. It published a woefully poor report into hacking that it subsequently had to withdraw. But before we embrace statutory regulation, with all the danger of political interference that threatens, we must urgently consider radical reforms of the existing regulatory framework: reducing the power of serving editors to stand in judgment of their own work; enhancing the investigative powers of the new body which is properly staffed and funded; and providing sanctions, including the power to levy substantial fines and insist upon prominent retractions of false claims. How this new organisation deals with publishing on the internet is perhaps its first challenge.

It is rumoured that Murdoch intends to launch the Sun on Sunday, possibly in the autumn. That makes it all the more urgent that the lessons of what has happened at the News of the World and on other newspapers are rapidly established.

In the spirit of media plurality, it is essential that Murdoch’s control of BSkyB is rejected, as we have argued consistently in these pages. The spectre of the old Murdoch, whose demise was signalled last week – voracious and threatening – must not rise again from the ashes of the News of the World.

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…”?

Captain Hate

Madison also

JM Hanes

Chubby:

"When the Founders stood up to King George, they cited Providence, nature's God, and a beneficent creator as the foundation of their righteous cause and indignation."

While I believe a great many people overemphasize the Declaration of Independence as a marker of the role that religion played in our Founders political thinking, I just ran across the following, which couldn't make it clearer that religious observances, not secular restraint, were a notable feature of their public lives:

It is no exaggeration to say that on Sundays in Washington during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) and of James Madison (1809-1817) the state became the church. Within a year of his inauguration, Jefferson began attending church services in the House of Representatives. Madison followed Jefferson's example, although unlike Jefferson, who rode on horseback to church in the Capitol, Madison came in a coach and four. Worship services in the House--a practice that continued until after the Civil War--were acceptable to Jefferson because they were nondiscriminatory and voluntary. Preachers of every Protestant denomination appeared. (Catholic priests began officiating in 1826.) As early as January 1806 a female evangelist, Dorothy Ripley, delivered a camp meeting-style exhortation in the House to Jefferson, Vice President Aaron Burr, and a "crowded audience." Throughout his administration Jefferson permitted church services in executive branch buildings. The Gospel was also preached in the Supreme Court chambers.

Jefferson's actions may seem surprising because his attitude toward the relation between religion and government is usually thought to have been embodied in his recommendation that there exist "a wall of separation between church and state." In that statement, Jefferson was apparently declaring his opposition, as Madison had done in introducing the Bill of Rights, to a "national" religion. In attending church services on public property, Jefferson and Madison consciously and deliberately were offering symbolic support to religion as a prop for republican government.


JM Hanes

Hire Joe Gandelman; make his dreams come true.

poster boy

too funny, jmh. I didn't know he could 'throw' his voice so far and wide.

hit and run

JMH:
Number of votes in Hot Air's last Obamateurism of the Week poll: 7,973.

Finally caught up to Hot Air today. And wouldn't you know it -- the Obamateurism that's leading the pack this week was provided by . . . this guy,that's who. ::points thumbs toward chest::

Manuel Transmission

OK, Madison here. Who'd a thunkit.

Extraneus

Nice job, hit.

Jack is Back!

Madison also. I think its my shyness:)

Great video of Alan West ice skating at LUN.

Threadkiller

Agent J, ironically our Ben Franklin likeness was explained by James Madison:

Praise for Franklin from James Madison

“Perhaps, the last, best summary should be the simple words of James Madison taken from his notes on Franklin: "I never passed half an hour in his company without hearing some observations or anecdote worth remembering.”."

How true, how true.

Ralph L

George Washington
Not what I expected.

hit and run

TK, would you email me at jomhitandrun at gmail dot com?

I don't want to say too much here on a public forum,but I'm afraid I might have dual loyalties.

Sara (Pal2Pal)

image

Shy researcher sounds about right to me.

Agent J. (formally known as "J"..

TK thanks for that info, in looking back on my life, some of the best times were when I was doing Administrative Audits and Evaluations of our FAA Regional Offices..they use to keep note pads of comments that I made or wrote about during the two week sessions of our star employee's..

So at supper tonight (hey we are in the Midwest and it is breakfast, dinner and supper in that order), I mentioned to my wife that I equated to Ben, she admitted that I like to travel, been known to drink large amounts of ale, but then wanted to know about all of the extra kids.."none to speak of".

cathyf

Roger Sherman!!!

(Although for most questions the correct answer was not available. Like people's reaction to my house is most likely to be, "Whoa, haven't seen one this bad since that episode of Hoarders!")

Stephanie

LOL and I resemble that remark Cathyf.

I got Madison. I fudged on some of the answers that didn't fit though.. like that question.

Molon Labe

The 14th amendment requires all legitimate debt to be paid. Not fiat debt ordered not be the Congress but by the White House of unelected officials.

This is just another example of our Constitution being raped and our liberties destroyed.

Minimalist Poster

I posted the link to Which Founder Are You on Facebook. Mostly Madison there, too.

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