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Peter Oborne should have considered Rupert Murdoch more carefully before writing him off as someone from "the sewer" with whom "no Prime Minister should be seen dead"

Letter to the Daily Telegraph, 9th July, 2011


Peter Oborne, often an astute writer, appears to have fallen victim to the British disease, Murdoch Derangement Syndrome. His article on Murdoch and David Cameron is hysterical.

Terrible, unforgivable things went on at the News of the World, as Murdoch himself had fully acknowledged before yesterday's dramatic decision to close the paper as a result of them.

But that does not mean, as Mr Oborne would have us believe, that everything Murdoch has done is from the dark side.

On the contrary no one has done more for the strength and plurality of the British media. Without his epic victory against the print unions,which made newspapers profitable, there would probably have been no Telegraph for Mr Oborne to write in. No Guardian or Independent either.

Murdoch's Times is a fine paper with many superb journalists on it but Times Newspapers lost £87 million for the year ending July 2009. Yet Murdoch continues to support it. Not many other proprietors would have done so.

His launch of SKY TV at the end of the 1980s nearly bankrupted the company but it broke the monopoly of the BBC and ITV and created what is now an excellent service, BSKYB, to which 10 million people subscribe. The BBC of course hates him for that, as they do for the fact that he provides a constant challenge to their metropolitan left of centre conventional wisdoms. BBC coverage of Murdoch often contains the same absurd level of vitriol as Mr Oborne's article. And from the national broadcaster it is hardly fair comment.

In America, Murdoch's Fox broadcasting challenges the liberalism of the establishment broadcasters and in 2007 he bought and greatly improved the Wall Street Journal which now is an excellent paper and has the biggest circulation in the US.

In New York he has developed his passionate interest in education. He has invested millions in Harlem Village Academies which are free to children from disadvantaged backgrounds and have already achieved good results. He is considering funding a similar academy near Wapping. The Guardian is not happy.

Murdoch has also always been always been a passionate defender of the Jews and Israel. That too has created him enemies on the left and amongst powerful anti-semites.

In short, Peter Oborne should have considered him more carefully before writing him off as someone from "the sewer" with whom "no Prime Minister should be seen dead".

William Shawcross


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