Thursday, February 21, 2008

What is it about lobbyists?

Why all this focus on John McCain’s alleged dalliance, eight years ago, with a lobbyist thirty years his junior as revealed, last night, by The New York Times?
The spotlight should instead be on McCain and his confirmed relationship, ten years ago, with another prominent lobbyist–Rupert Murdoch!

The following is an excerpt from a piece of mine, “The Murdoch Muscle,” which appeared on The Huffington Post nearly a year ago. It especially resonates in light of last night’s New York Times disclosures:

“Aside from his loyalty to conservative Justice Thomas, that same month, that same year, 1998, Rupert Murdoch hosted a fundraiser for Senator John McCain who, at the time, conveniently happened to be chairman of the committee that oversees the Federal Communications Commissions. In a fundraiser invite, Murdoch called McCain ‘an outspoken leader for the telecommunications industry.’ (NYT)

I’m sure at least one Republican presidential candidate will take one huge sigh of relief should Mr. Murdoch take the helm of Dow Jones, and the second largest newspaper in the country. How expedient to have, as a friend, the owner of Fox News, the New York Post, The Times of London, and now Dow Jones? That is, unless somebody wakes up before their snooze alarm goes off. "

What is startling now are not the obvious Monica Lewinsky echoes, but instead the evidence that the media mogul who has been trying to buy up print, and now Internet, communications in this country is in bed with the number one Republican candidate for president, and heir apparent to the throne. What’s more, those who attempt to deflect attention away from this by talking about when the story broke are, intentionally or otherwise, pandering to the proponents of media consolidation by chipping away at the backbone of a free press.