Power corrupts …

If you are not enjoying the Murdoch Tales these must be very tiresome weeks for you. As the News International saga drags on and has obliterated every other piece of I am saddened at the realisation that we are unlikely to learn anything from this.

First of all it seems that the drama being played out in front of us has caught the actors on the stage by complete surprise. As someone who was brought up on Citizen Kane, the story of the media tycoon of his day William Randolph Hearst, and possibly one of the best films ever, I have never known any different but that media tycoons would do anything for a story.

The stories about Mr Hearst and his colleague at the time Mr Pulitzer (I assume the prize is named after him) are rife including the ‘encouragement’ of the Spanish-American war. Whether this is true or not was not confirmed, but everyone knew that these media tycoons were powerful and would stoop at nothing to get their stories.

We have other big actors on the sidelines whom we seem to forget, including Conrad Black and Robert Maxwell. These were colourful figures at the very least and I will leave other opinions for you to find in the public records. In any event they wielded much power and governments, MPs and other decision makers fell over themselves to pander to them and did not appear to question them until it was too late.

So we get back to Mr Murdoch, no doubt a very clever man with a good feel for what is happening in the world. No I am not fooled for a moment by his appearance before the select committee. That must be daunting for anybody, even a powerful and experienced person like Murdoch. Mr Murdoch built the most powerful media empire of our generation and possibly the first one to span the globe, at least the English speaking part of it and he did it from one small newspaper in Adelaide (somewhere in Australia I am told).

Throughout my life Mr Murdoch has been around and he always came across as the bully, the one who would stop at nothing for a story and someone for whom the truth was secondary. Have you ever watched Fox Television? It is downright scary. So what is new?

Mr Murdoch hired people who had his kind of values. Mr Les Hinton who was his lieutenant (even the use of that title stirs up images I would not like to have in my organisation) for over 50 years and Ms Brooks, who has a dreadful reputation for bullying. I am told you should ask her ex-husband to find out what she is really like.

So whilst Mr Murdoch may not have known about the phone hacking and I am very sure he knew nothing about the individual calls but that was not the point. And I am very sad that the committee missed the real point.

The point was that Mr Murdoch over many decades built an organisation in which the culture was one of bullying and forget the ethics of getting the story. It did not matter whether the victims were the staff, the people in the story or anyone else. That is where the problem lies and that is where Mr Murdoch should be called to task.

I suspect nothing will happen with Mr Murdoch in the UK. He has lost Sky and News of the World and in my humble opinion the world is a better place for it. The politicians will want to kick this story into the long grass as they will get more than shaving cream on their faces when all comes out. Right Mr Cameron?  In the US it may be a different kettle of fish. Shareholders do not like losing money because of bad management so he may still face some tough court cases there. 

The story continues as both the Sun and Fox start to unravel. The lesson for the entrepreneur? Stick with strong values and you will do much better in the long run. 

Please leave a comment - we all like them