I should be doing something else right now. As my wife frequently reminds me, I don't get paid to write about WikiLeaks. And that is exactly the problem.
Rupert Murdoch employs thousands and thousands of people, many of them on excellent salaries. His empire includes movie studios, book publishers, and other avenues to public perception. He has a backdoor entry pass to the UK PM's office, dictates US political discussion on a daily basis, and holds politicians around the world in thrall. Meanwhile, wealthy advertisers queue up to give him money in exchange for favourable reporting (or non-reporting) of their business interests.
In Murdoch's empire, talking points from above dictate the news delivered to the masses. Yet Rupert's writers need only scan the front pages to discern how best to please their boss and get prominently featured. It's a culture of corruption, as countless recent articles have documented, designed to maximise profits and political power.
But the media landscape is changing. Why should we ordinary citizens of the world keep paying for news, when we can get it online for free? But then, if media organisations are not making a profit, how can they afford to keep supplying news for free? This remains the great unresolved Catch-22 of the C21st Fourth Estate.
News Corporation is planning more firewalls to protect media content, despite the previous failure of such models at organisations like the New York Times. The UK Independent newspaper is now running an online survey asking readers to tell them how the paper can deal with the shifting media paradigm. The Economist prominently features an on-going debate on the subject.
Meanwhile, I suspect The Guardian's apparent anti-WikiLeaks crusade may be motivated by a desire to "own the space" that WikiLeaks has staked out (namely, the safest place to publish leaks in this new globalized, digital world). Yes, all the big media organisations are scared, even Murdoch's dreaded nemeses at The Guardian.
The sad fact is this: there's just not much money to be made from telling the truth these days. Not when clever lies, well concealed, can lead to far greater profits. Not when the news is available to everybody for free on the Internet, and most people would rather go on Facebook anyway, or watch porn instead. And especially not when you have to compete against media conglomerates and political parties heavily subsidised by Big Business. Nearly all independent online media ventures, like their big media competitors, are struggling to turn even a tiny profit.
The most obvious alternative funding model is state-owned media (sshh, don't scare US readers). But unfortunately, Big Business lobbyists are buying up our governments too. Even in relatively free democracies such as Britain and Australia, state-controlled media outlets like the BBC and ABC have been castrated, politicized, under-funded, and pulled into line.
And so, as the hypocritical Murdoch empire most elegantly exemplifies, we have reached a point where Big Business can effectively control both the policies of our politicians and the content of our media. What, then, is left to us? The Internet remains the final bastion of freedom, as many people realise. But now the Top One Percenters are seeking to control that as well.
And this is the real narrative in the contrived battle between Julian Assange and Rupert Murdoch. Whatever Murdoch's sad minions might suggest, it is not a battle between News Corporation and its more established, reputable (and *supposedly* WikiLeaks-loving) competitors. It is in fact a full-scale Information War between wealthy elites and ordinary citizens, as informed WikiLeaks supporters around the globe understand.
Murdoch outlets have tried to frame the narrative as an historic confrontation between Rupert's supporters (never mind the News Of The World scandal, people, we've already moved on) and his competitors. They are utilising their own negative stereotyping of WikiLeaks to support the ridiculous conceit that competitors have somehow broken US laws by publishing government secrets. Effectively, they suggest that WikiLeaks has co-opted the competition into criminalising Murdoch. Or something.
The ironic truth is that it is not Julian Assange (under house arrest, financially embargoed, facing extradition or execution) but Rupert Murdoch (freshly flown home from London but set to lose control of News Corporation) who is really scared. The ageing Zionist's fear is betrayed by the mindlessly irrational nature of his paid hacks' and wannabes' attacks on WikiLeaks and anyone else who dares even try to hold him to account.
No doubt Murdoch's political and commercial partners are also scared that WikiLeaks will expose their corrupt business practices. And surely they realise that destroying WikiLeaks is just the beginning. Throw Julian Assange into a Guantanamo Bay cell and others will rise to take his place. In this day and age, the only way they can fully manage people's access to information is to seize total control of the Internet.
So it's no surprise they are whipping up anti-WikiLeaks and anti-hacking hysteria in order to justify ever more Orwellian laws. And that's the real story here.
A recent hit-piece in Murdoch's reviled "The Australian" newspaper brings together the amalgamation of business, political and media agendas. The Big Business partnership with government now masquerades behind buzzwords like "privacy" and "security", so who better to write an attack on WikiLeaks than the co-author of a book on Privacy Law. Especially if he has publicly subscribed to the Murdoch-sponsored notion that torture is "a moral means of saving lives".
Meanwhile, we WikiLeaks supporters continue to trust that Truth itself has an enduring value, and that exposing the misdeeds of the world's most powerful elites will lead us all to a more free, fair, and equitable future. After all, there's got to be more to life than money, right?
PS: If anyone wants to offer me a lucrative writing contract, my wife would be very thankful. But more importantly, readers with the wherewithal should consider supporting WikiLeaks and other organisations who continue to fight, against ever-growing odds, for truth, peace and justice.