The Kultursmog Against Murdoch
By Emmett Tyrrell
WASHINGTON -- Do we need any other evidence that the Kultursmog exists and that it is international -- at least in the English-speaking world -- than the fact that the biggest news story in the United Kingdom today is also the biggest news story here. I have in mind the story that News of the World reporters in London listened in on private conversations and possibly bribed Scotland Yard. The Kultursmog is that set of ideas and tastes that are utterly polluted by left-wing values and carried by the liberal news media to pollute people's minds.
Every day, the money-losing New York Times and its subsidiaries throughout mainstream media hammer away at the story of a scandal in faraway England, and of course, they have located Rupert Murdoch at the very heart of the story. Over the weekend, he flew to London. He meets with top aides. The News of the World is killed off. Now a deal for BSkyB is being pulled. What comes next? Well, what comes next, reports Reuters, is that the American Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are looking into Murdoch's company, News Corp., on this side of the Atlantic for criminal behavior. Or maybe they are not. No one would go on the record and say they are investigating. Oh, yes, and by the way, we have a constitution here with a First Amendment. The Founding Fathers, in their infinite wisdom, did not want to see the press harassed by innuendo.
Anyone encouraging the government of the United States to investigate a news organization without proper cause is an enemy of freedom. And the harassment of Rupert Murdoch is being executed by enemies of free speech. Step back a minute. Murdoch has a record of saving the free press. He has propped up newspapers all over the English-speaking world. He has purchased the greatest newspaper in America, The Wall Street Journal, and made it better. He has added a second voice to the American media echo chamber, the conservative voice. And by giving the citizenry a chance, through his papers and Fox News Channel, to decide for themselves which side they are on in important issues of the day, he is a threat to the Kultursmog. That is what is going on with these tedious daily stories in the Times about London skulduggery, and many Americans know it. The Times is fooling no one.
Whatever was done in breach of the law in London, of course, will be investigated and prosecuted there. But there is no evidence that anything was done here. Those who call for an investigation of News Corp. here are on the wrong side of the freedom issue. What is The New York Times doing day after day filling its front pages with infantile hysteria? This is the same newspaper that published secret American intelligence documents hacked by the suppliers of WikiLeaks on its front pages. Presumably, innocent people were victims of terrorists because of it, possibly American soldiers. What hypocrisy by the Times to put a hacking story on its front page day after day and to complain about the Murdoch press's hacking story. This is the same newspaper that, during the Reagan presidency, ran a Kitty Kelley story supposedly having Frank Sinatra trysting surreptitiously with Nancy Reagan while the Old Cowboy was snoozing upstairs. Or more recently, the Times claimed that Roger Ailes of Fox News had committed wrongdoing that "could possibly rise to the level of conspiracy to lie to federal officials, a federal crime." That was in February, and we still are awaiting poor Ailes' indictment. Meanwhile, Fox News continues to make more money than the combined revenue of CNN, MSNBC and the evening news broadcasts of the networks, ABC, CBS and NBC.
The New York Times is bleeding money. Its front-page news stories about Murdoch will not change that and probably will only drive still more objective readers away, alarmed by its crusading zeal on behalf of a story with little resonance here. Reportedly, a rich Mexican, Carlos Slim, is keeping it afloat. He is not a Mexican by birth, and he is not slim. He is mysterious, and the mystery is, What does he see in the money-losing New York Times?
I predict that this scandal will work its way out in London and have little consequence here. If I am wrong and it does threaten the American free press, our Founding Fathers' safeguards embedded in the First Amendment were not strong enough.