March 23, 2004

So it seems that, when the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States calls, the Bush Administration's national security is not available. But when Rupert Murdoch calls, well, how could Condoleezza Rice refuse?

It's the Media, Stupid.

John Nichols, The Nation: Rice took time out of the
middle of the day to address a secretive gathering
that included global media mogul Rupert Murdoch and
top executives from television networks, newspapers
and other media properties owned by Murdoch's News
Corp. conglomerate. Rice spoke at some length via
satellite to Murdoch and his cronies, who had gathered
at the posh Ritz Carlton Hotel in Cancun Mexico,
according to reports published in the British
press...So it seems that, when the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States calls, the Bush Administration's national security is not available. But when Rupert Murdoch calls, well, how could Condoleezza Rice refuse?

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US
Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0322-07.htm

Published on Monday, March 22, 2004 by The Nation
When Rupert Murdoch Calls...Condoleezza Rice Answers
by John Nichols

Last Friday, the Bush Administration was busy pumping
up hopes that the war on terrorism was about to yield
a victory: the capture along the border between
Pakistan and Afghanistan of the reputed No. 2 man in
Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network. As it turned out,
Dr Ayman Al-Zawahri was probably not among the
militants holed up in the heavily fortified compounds
that were assaulted by Pakistani troops and their US
advisors.

But, by most measures, the prospective capture of what
Administration aides described as "a high-value
target" was treated as a very big deal by the Bush
White House. At the same time, Administration aides
were busy trying to hold together the coalition of the
sort-of willing that was cobbled together to support
the invasion of Iraq. With Spain's new prime minister
declaring the occupation "a disaster" and threatening
to withdraw that country's troops from Iraq, and with
Poland's president telling European reporters that his
country was "misled" about the nature of the threat
posed by Iraq, the Administration has its hands full.

Surely, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, a
key player on all the fronts that were in play, had a
very long list of responsibilities. No time for
diversions on Friday, right? Wrong.

Rice took time out of the middle of the day to address
a secretive gathering that included global media mogul
Rupert Murdoch and top executives from television
networks, newspapers and other media properties owned
by Murdoch's News Corp. conglomerate. Rice spoke at
some length via satellite to Murdoch and his cronies,
who had gathered at the posh Ritz Carlton Hotel in
Cancun Mexico, according to reports published in the
British press.

The Guardian newspaper, which sent a reporter to
Cancun, revealed that Rice was asked to address the
group by executives of the Murdoch-controlled Fox
broadcast and cable networks in the US. The Fox
"family" includes, of course, the Fox News cable
channel, which the Guardian correctly describes as
"hugely supportive of President George Bush."

"Although she is not there in person, the presence of
Ms. Rice underlines the importance of Rupert Murdoch's
news operations to the Bush administration, which may
face growing criticism that it led the country into
war on false pretences ahead of November's
presidential election," the Guardian account of the
Cancun gathering explained.

In addition to Fox, Murdoch controls the Bush-friendly
Weekly Standard magazine and New York Post newspaper,
as well as 35 local television stations and the 20th
Century Fox movie studio. Thanks to Bush
Administration appointees to the Federal
Communications Commission, Murdoch's reach is rapidly
expanding in the US. In December, the FCC approved
News Corp.'s $6.6-billion takeover of DirecTV, the
country's leading satellite television firm.

That decision made Murdoch the only media executive
with satellite, cable and broadcast assets in the US.

In other words, Rupert Murdoch is a very powerful
player in the media and, because of his willingness
to turn his properties into mouthpieces for the
administration, in the politics of the United States.
So it should probably not come as any surprise that,
like the politicians in any number of countries where
Murdoch has come to dominate the discourse, Bush
Administration officials answer Rupert's call even
when they are supposedly preoccupied with national
security concerns.

Rice's willingness to brief Fox executives is
especially intriguing in light of the fact that she
continues to refuse to brief the bipartisan panel that
is investigating the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon. National
Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
is expected to hear this week from Central
Intelligence Agency director George Tenet, Secretary
of State Colin Powell and his predecessor, Madeleine
Albright; Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his
predecessor, William Cohen; and President Bill
Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger. But
Rice has rejected invitations to testify in public.

So it seems that, when the National Commission on
Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States calls, the
Bush Administration's national security is not
available. But when Rupert Murdoch calls, well, how
could Condoleezza Rice refuse?

Copyright 2004 The Nation


Posted by richard at March 23, 2004 08:31 AM