The New York Times had posted online almost 400 comments on the Murdoch verdict from readers by last night from all over the States and some from Britain. One UK reader even suggests that the Yanks should have invaded Britain . . . in defence of democracy. Here is a caustic sample:
From Lexington, Massachusetts: "Interestingly the parliamentary panel took Rupert at his word that he was incompetent rather than taking the more obvious conclusion that he was lying about not knowing about all of the illegal hacking activity. In either case he is not fit to run News Corporation."
From New York: " The Conservatives are beholden to Murdoch, so it is natural that they voted en masse against the report."
From Austin, Texas: "No single individual or entity should be allowed to own more than one media outlet (newspaper or television station). The fact that Murdoch owned more than one is the underlying problem -- he just became too powerful and went way beyond what is acceptable 'news gathering.'"
From Shreveport, Louisiana: "Murdoch is merely the latest in a long series of roguish figures who have long dominated the journalism industry for purposes of power, greed and ego. Surely the literary archetype is Lord Copper in Evelyn Waugh's novel "Scoop." Murdoch would make a handsome target for a satirist of Waugh's talent. "
From New York: "If Murdoch is criminally culpable for anything his tabloid did, arrest him. If he's personally liable civilly for invading someone's privacy, that someone should sue him. But here we see the spectacle of his political adversaries using the power of the state to cow him, perhaps remove him, as a publisher. There can be no better example of why the US Constitution has a First Amendment protecting a free press from government interference. Unfortunately for Britons, they do not have such a weapon."
From New Brunswick, New Jersey: "Much as I may dislike Mr. Murdoch's politics, the conclusion of this parliamentary panel that he is unfit to run a global company is one of the stupidest things I've read in a long time.
"If he committed a crime, prosecute him. If he's a bad businessman, let his company fail. Has he been wielding undue influence with parliament? Isn't that the fault of the M.P.s? What you have here is an 'embarrassment' and parliament is unwilling to take responsibility for their cozy relationship with Mr. Murdoch and likely other business magnates."
From London, UK: "Murdoch’s goal to remove the ‘political balance’ requirement in TV and set up a British Fox News was regarded with particular horror by the High Tories, not because Fox News USA is crude and ridiculous, but because it’s made the Republicans un-electable. Four Conservatives might have refused to put their name to the ‘fit person’ clause, but all said Tom Watson was perfectly entitled to make it, and were otherwise united in a truly damning verdict."
From Port Orange, Florida: "I've long said that Murdoch, no matter where his reach extended, was among the worst of the worst CEOs. "His reach should have exceeded his grasp long, ago; however, it's all about money and power -- a fact not ignored by any politician, whether here or elsewhere. The man belongs in jail, something which will never happen."
From Los Angeles: "Politics cannot let Rupert Murdoch survive. He has become a liability. No matter what is said about reports like this one, behind the scenes there will already be planning sessions on how to dismantle his empire of junk media. "Just too bad he had to buy the Wall Street Journal. I'm looking forward to a WSJ past Murdoch. and wish them a good recovery."
From Hull, England: "What most of you guys aren't getting is that this worm was undermining the very fabric of government by giving one or other political party a platform of favourable reporting. This negates totally the very essence of democracy . My question is: given that you (Americans ) invade anywhere which doesn't have a democracy, why in the name of God didn't you come over?"