It was the theme du jour at the B20 gathering in Sydney, which brought together more than 300 business leaders seeking to shape the agenda of the G20: Business knows best so leave the big decisions to us.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it and numerous self-serving CEOs happily served as a chorus.
But the standout croaky voice was that of global media mogul Rupert Murdoch: “Everybody in this room knows dozens or hundreds of very, very fine businessmen. How many people know a politician who can run a business?”
When Murdoch says “business knows best” we shouldn't just get annoyed. We should get very worried, because he has ample means to have his way.
His huge media empire already has prime ministers and aspiring prime ministers of supposed democracies – such as Australia – scurrying for audiences with him to get his “blessing”.
Now Murdoch's media empire looks set to grow even bigger as his 21st Century Fox made a $85.3 billion bid for the US film and TV group Time Warner. Time Warner has refused, but this is only the beginning of Murdoch's play. More lucrative bids are expected to follow.
Time Warner is the world's biggest media conglomerate. One of its subsidiaries is CNN. If not for the likelihood that this would probably breach US anti-trust laws, such a takeover would bring two massive lying “news” machines, Fox News and CNN, under Murdoch's control.
Murdoch says he'll sell off CNN if his bid for Time Warner is eventually successful. But who can trust this monster?
A New York Times report said 21st Century Fox’s initial bid for Time Warner had some interesting creative devices to enhance his control. It proposed to pay Time Warner shareholders in non-voting stock. The report said this would disenfranchise other investors. As it is, the Murdoch family controls 21st Century Fox with just 39.4% of shares.
Murdoch has the gall to pass off his big-business-knows-best attitude as an essential part of “democracy”, but it is the opposite. Huge global monopolies are destroying what little democracy has been won all around the world. They are eating the future.
With Murdoch on the attack it is all the more important to support independent media projects like Green Left Weekly.
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