Tsar’s Bores: The Empire Strikes Back

From Howard Kurtz at Newsweek:

The inquiry was grinding on, and Rupert Murdoch looked exhausted when he had trouble remembering what he’d said when he appeared with his loyal aide Rebekah Brooks. “I walked outside my flat,” Murdoch said, “and I had 20 microphones stuck in my mouth.”

That, of course, is the kind of hot pursuit his tabloids routinely employ against elusive celebrities. In the twilight of his career, Murdoch has gone from the hunter to the hunted, brought low by the crass culture he helped create.

And yet even in his apologetic testimony, the 80-year-old mogul couldn’t resist a shot at rivals with “dirty hands” for trying to “build this hysteria.” That theme has echoed across News Corp.’s many media outlets as it tries to turn the corner on the phone-hacking scandal. The empire, it would seem, is starting to strike back.

Original movie poster

Roger Ailes, the Fox News chairman and longtime Murdoch confidant who speaks to him regularly, believes the company should go on the offensive, say sources familiar with his thinking.


One Fox host, Steve Doocy, chided critics for “piling on,” while another, Bill O’Reilly, accused The New York Times of “running wild” with “vicious stuff” on the scandal for “ideological” reasons. A cartoon in Murdoch’s Times of London—headlined “Priorities”—showed an emaciated Somali child saying, “I’ve had a bellyful of phone-hacking.” And the editorial page of Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal took an everyone-does-it stance by decrying “the irony of so much moral outrage devoted to a single media company,” and ran a series of similarly defensive columns.

That directly contradicted the official strategy of contrition—sources say Journal editorial chief Paul Gigot did not coordinate with his corporate bosses—and signaled the emergence of a two-pronged approach in which Murdoch will stick to a conciliatory script while others punch back on his behalf.


The brassy Australian has more than a few cards left, having long cultivated political allies—and punished political foes.


Murdoch and News Corp. have donated $50 million to American politicians and groups since 2001. His HarperCollins publishing arm has bestowed fat contracts on political figures—from Newt Gingrich ($4.5 million, abandoned amid controversy) to Sarah Palin ($7 million). Then there is the Fox News payroll, larded with possible presidential candidates: Gingrich (until he launched his campaign), Palin ($1 million a year), Mike Huckabee ($500,000).

There are carrots, and there are sticks. When Reed Hundt chaired the FCC, he angered Murdoch by investigating whether News Corp. violated federal rules in assembling the Fox television network. Murdoch’s top lobbyist told Hundt’s chief of staff, “Your boss will never work in a suit again.” Says Hundt: “Regulators come and go, but Rupert is forever.”


Filed under Bill O'Reilly, FCC, Federal Communications Commission, Fox News, humor, Media, Mike Huckabee, movies, News Corp, Newt Gingrich, parody, politics, Republicans, Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch, Sarah Palin, Scandals, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

26 responses to “Tsar’s Bores: The Empire Strikes Back

  1. jean-philippe

    I’m really gonna enjoy the empire being probed on 3 continents…

    • me, too, j-p! probe those assholes! 😆

    • That line reminds me of a famous line that backfired.

      [Ponda Baba gives Luke a rough shove and starts yelling at Luke in an alien language which Luke doesn’t understand]
      Dr. Evazan: [explaining] He doesn’t like you.
      Luke: Sorry.
      Dr. Evazan: [grabbing Luke] *I* don’t like you either. You just watch yourself. We’re wanted men. I have the death sentence on twelve systems.

      As you can see, that didn’t go so well for Dr. Evazan.

      • i remember how groundbreaking the bar scene was when the movie came out. i wonder how different it would look now. the fingers on the musicians and other details would be so much more advanced.

  2. You’re technically mixing universes. It should be Star Bore, or Star Whore for the redhead, or something like that. Don’t insult Trek by mixing it with these scum! 😉
    I figured Fox would start counterfire pretty soon. Typical “it ain’t our fault” BS.

    • doh! i knew that, and i still screwed up, because i was in a hurry. i changed the title.

      it was just a matter of time before they all started portraying uncle rupie as the victim. it’s their default position.

      p.s. for anyone who got here late, i originally (and stupidly) title this post Tsar Dreck: The Empire Strikes Back. apologies to all the trekkies.

  3. jeb

    The apologists come out swinging kissing his ass and covering their bases. However, if he takes a hard fall, they’ll be denying they ever even knew him as they scramble to salvage their careers. Their ability to deny what is a matter of public record has always been astounding and will always be astounding. I myself am anxiously waiting to see the day that Ailes bloated and bleached body is washed up on the shore as carrion when he finally falls. That will be real satisfaction.

    • even if uncle rupie falls from grace, they’ll continue to treat him gently. they’ll transfer the anger to medusa…i mean, rebekah or jamesy wamesy or any of the other underlings. they can’t diss uncle rupie, because that would reflect on their own workplaces, and they can’t risk their credibility with their own crowd.

  4. Well, Fox can fight back all it wants and it won’t matter to me b/c I don’t watch them. Meanwhile, I love this line: “brought low by the crass culture he helped create.” …. I can tell you are enjoying yourself with this.

  5. Rupert Murdoch: Victim of the Gotcha Media

    Awwwwwww poor Rupie!

  6. maggiejean

    I read somewhere (can’t remember where — the story of my life) that the judge charged with investigating Murdoch’s UK enterprises is a close family friend.

    • the daily mail has a story about him. that’s what’s so irritating about this story–who do you trust? uncle rupie’s paid off most of parliament, most of the media, most of congress, and who knows how much of law enforcement.

  7. 😆 The chickens have come home to roost. 😆

    Rupert may have invented that saying 500 years ago.

  8. This post needs the appropriate background music.

  9. “Rupert is forever”??? What a devilish thing to say. And what will Lord Cheney say when he sees that Evil Rupert is wearing his outfit. You have to admire the US minions who ran story after story about how the Arabs killed all those kids, one even claiming that white nordic persona was just a disguise. Best one I have seen since Godfrey Cambridge played the white guy in Watermelon Man.

    • stains are forever, too. especially the nastiest ones. deadeye dick will be pissed once someone cranks up his mechanical heart and he sees uncle rupie in his duds. 😡

      the rightwing haters are despicable. they jumped to conclusions, and they look like bigoted assholes. of course, they never admit they were wrong. instead, they twist everything and say that the guy was radical islamic-like. it doesn’t matter that the bombing was just like timothy mcveigh’s evil deed, and the shooting was more like the school shootings which were all done by non-muslims.