So America has reached this sad point, where news that would have at one time caused a constitutional crisis, is now relegated to the “Style” section of the Washington Post. As Carl Bernstein reports in The Guardian, his former partner in breaking the Watergate story, Bob Woodward, has unveiled an astounding story of Rupert Murdoch’s attempt to “hijack” what’s left of American democracy, through his active recruitment of Gen. David Patraeus as for the Republican candidate for president. The audaciousness of this act was matched only by a countervailing lack of any real interest or response by America’s political establishment or by its mainstream corporate press. As Bernstein put it, “It’s All the President’s Men (at Fox News) and essentially no one cares.”
So now we have it: what appears to be hard, irrefutable evidence of Rupert Murdoch’s ultimate and most audacious attempt, thwarted, thankfully, by circumstance, to hijack America’s democratic institutions on a scale equal to his success in kidnapping and corrupting the essential democratic institutions of Great Britain through money, influence and wholesale abuse of the privileges of a free press.
In the American instance, Murdoch’s goal seems to have been nothing less than using his media empire, notably Fox News, to stealthily recruit, bankroll and support the presidential candidacy of General David Petraeus in the 2012 election.
The tape that Bob Woodward obtained, and which the Washington Post ran in the style section, should be the denouement of the Murdoch story on both sides of the Atlantic, making clear that no institution, not even the presidency of the United States, was beyond the object of his subversion. If Murdoch had bankrolled a successful Petraeus presidential campaign and – as his emissary McFarland promised – “the rest of us [at Fox] are going to be your in-house” – Murdoch arguably might have sewn up the institutions of American democracy even more securely than his British tailoring.
As Tom Engelhardt of the always-relevant TomDispatch.com remarked regarding this astoundingly manipulative power grab…
And here let us posit the following: were an emissary of the president of NBC News, or of the editor of the New York Times or the Washington Post ever caught on tape promising what Ailes and Murdoch had apparently suggested and offered here, the hue and cry, especially from Fox News and Republican/Tea Party America, from the Congress to the US Chamber of Commerce to the Heritage Foundation, would be deafening and not be subdued until there was a congressional investigation, and the resignations were in hand of the editor and publisher of the network or newspaper. Or until there had been plausible and convincing evidence that the most important elements of the story were false. And, of course, the story would continue day after day on page one and remain near the top of the evening news for weeks, until every ounce of (justifiable) piety about freedom of the press and unfettered presidential elections had been exhausted.
Read Carl Bernstein’s full report Here