Earth Calling Nick Ferrari of LBC 97.3FM: Rupert Murdoch Does Not Deserve Our Sympathy

I will not become a victim of Stockholm Syndrome.  I will not become a victim of Stockholm Syndrome.  I WILL NOT BECOME A VICTIM OF STOCKHOLM SYNDROME.

My name is The Re-Enlightenment and I listen to Nick Ferrari on LBC.  Sometimes.  There, I said it, and I feel better now.

I’m not in the business of hurling cheap insults over the internet so I shall start by graciously acknowledging that this overfed, jowly, populist oaf has his uses: when I’m driving to work in the morning and Radio 4 gets too intellectually demanding even for me, I swallow my pride, bring myself down a demographic notch or two and flick to Nick to see what’s happening in his world.

And in all fairness it’s not a bad radio show – for example, the daily business round-ups from Henk Potts or David Buick are concise and informative and the often un-PC banter Ferrari shares with these guys is refreshing and funny.  Also, he has a steady stream of decent guests and they always have a good yarn or ding-dong about whatever’s in the news.

Ferrari is an ex-Sun journalist and a defender of Murdoch’s regime, sorry empire.  This week he has been talking in at best semi-joking terms about a “Sympathy for Murdoch” club.

Ferrari is perfectly entitled to his opinions and so am I.  He seems keen to airbrush over the whole phone-hacking episode on the basis that News International employs a lot of people, is a very successful business and has done some good things, such as hard-hitting investigative journalism and the revolutionising of football coverage.  I partially agree with him: News International is certainly not all bad and it is right to give it credit for its achievements, but I disagree that these achievements of themselves warrant a loosening of the noose; even more so that we should actually feel sorry for the poor, defenceless, ickle Rupert.

With the puss from this lanced boil seeping across the Atlantic Ocean and possibly beyond, the spotlight very much remains on Murdoch and his empire; if anything its brightness is increasing.  Let this blinding light disinfect the grime and reveal to us what lies beneath the surface of this apparently well-oiled machine.  In a democratic society where no one person and no one corporation can be above the law, and where there are very serious allegations of a culture of wrongdoing that need to be answered, I think holding Murdoch and his empire to account is, how can I say this, reasonable, but Ferrari clearly finds such scrutiny of the super-rich and super-powerful super-troubling.

Ferrari’s guest this morning was Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, who it is safe to say is somewhat to the left of him politically.  She is a regular guest on his show and presumably enjoys their terse exchanges or would not keep coming back for seconds, and she is more than capable of fighting her own corner when Ferrari is chivalrous enough to shut his cakehole long enough to let her speak.

One of Ferrari’s callers this morning was an old Sun mate of his, Charles something or other.  Ferrari and his sidekick were taking exception to Alibhai-Brown’s happiness that The News of the World was no more and they reminded her that this had increased the UK dole queue by two hundred people.  Alibhai-Brown made it clear that the job losses were definitely not a good thing but that she was entitled to rejoice in the demise of the actual paper.

Charles then put forward a very lame argument: The News of the World was very popular in circulation terms and therefore Alibhai-Brown could not be well-informed unless she read it.  What bullshit.  I wasn’t a News of the World reader but I consider myself reasonably well-informed, probably better informed than the average News of the World reader, if that doesn’t sound too arrogant.  Who gives a fuck about numbers?  Millions of my fellow citizens watch Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity – what does this prove?  Am I misinformed because I refuse to waste even ten minutes of my life doing the same and because I literally ask people to remind me to miss these programmes?

Alibhai-Brown explained that she obtains her news from various sources, including The Times, a News International title, and she spoke positively about that paper.

To be well-informed I think there is a duty to obtain one’s news from across the political spectrum, but it does not follow that there is a duty to obtain one’s news from across the quality spectrum.

As for Ferrari’s demented attempt to rally sympathy for a megalomaniac who may have flown too close to the sun and whose internal combustion engine is now spluttering out all sorts of unpleasant waste materials, I say this: if I were given a blank sheet of paper and asked to write down the name of just one living organism in the known universe that was big enough, rich enough, ugly enough, influential enough, well-connected enough and powerful enough to look after itself and that did not deserve my sympathy, I reckon I would immediately scribble down the words “Rupert Murdoch”.

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