In the same week that one of his newspapers in the UK published a private conversation between the Prime Minister and Jacqui Janes, the mother of a serviceman killed in Afghanistan, as a means of attacking the Prime Minister – which has been widely criticsed by both independent Tories and Labour people – Rupert Murdoch has backed controversial Fox News prensenter Glenn Beck’s assertion that Barack Obama is “a racist”.
Beck’s comments that Obama “has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or white culture…this guy is, I believe, a racist” prompted a row in the US, with many advertisers removing advertising from his show.
In an interview with Sky News Australia this weekend, Murdoch backed Glenn Beck, saying:
“Obama did make a very racist comment about blacks and whites and so on, which he said in his campaign he would be completely above. And that was something which perhaps shouldn’t have been said about the President, but if you actually assess what he was talking about, [Beck] was right.”
(At 18 minutes)
The news is relevant as the Sun are now actively campaigning against the Labour party and Gordon Brown – in the hope that a Tory government would abolish Ofcom and allow greater freedom for News Corporation to campaign on issues in the same style as Fox News.
Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw warned in a lecture to Progress last month:
“David Cameron says he wants to abolish or dismember Ofcom. What a co-incidence! The Tories have also said they would lift the legal requirement on broadcasters to be politically impartial. Impartiality is one of things the public value most about British broadcasting and the reason TV and radio news are more trusted than newspapers. But of course if broadcasters were no longer required to be impartial, that would pave the way for a UK version of Fox News.”