166 Rupert Proves Henry Wrong, Sort of.
“No one every went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.” Henry Louis Mencken, dead editor.
News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch must have been absolutely furious. Facing a rebellion among his troops at Fox News, HarperCollins and elsewhere, he got himself propped up, muttered something akin to “kill it,” and left the jurisdiction for
The “it” was that disgusting book and television interview that amounts to OJ Simpson’s wink-wink-nod-nod confession to the murders of his wife Nicole and her friend Ron Brown.
Normally, Rupert deals with mutinies by crushing them. Not this time. If there’s one good thing you can say about him it’s that he understands the mentality of the people for whom his companies broadcast and write.
Amazon com says the book is “currently unavailable.” Barnes & Nobel’s website doesn’t list it at all.
The OJ thing may have been a plot all along. It may have been “let’s see how much free publicity we can generate by saying we’re going to publish this book and televise this interview.”
But probably not. It’s going to cost the companies a bundle to retrieve and destroy 200-thousand hardback books and fill two hours of TV, and pay off the participants. So if he’s willing to foot that bill, it’s unlikely the whole thing was unintentional.
Murdoch is master of that Mencken quote. But he also knows when to stop. And he’s not above losing a bundle on one unprofitable operation if he can make the loss up elsewhere. His New York Post, for example, is said to loose buckets of money. But they keep the thing on life support because it is an influential power base.
Fox affiliates far and wide refused to carry the interview. Fox news “stars” publicly bashed the company for threatening to. Many retailers either refused to sell the book or said they’d donate profits to charities that oppose violence. And the head of the division that printed the book showed herself to be a dopey, whining axe grinder caught in the headlights.
There was no chance News Corp. would go broke if it aired and published these items. But it would have distracted from its mission: conquering the world by converting it to “fair and balanced” right wing whackyness and celebrity scandal.
If this was too much for the Asbestos-coated Murdoch, it was too much for anyone. Maybe Rupert has proved that Mencken, if not wrong, at least may not be entirely right.
I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.
(c) 2006 WJR