Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Eyewitness Describes Two Murdoch Generations

By John Ballard

Blogger/journalist Adloyada posted a fascinating description of the Murdochs. Her post is longer, but this part strikes me as worth noting.

Reading the online reports and the tweets after we got turned out of the hearing, they don't really convey how very poorly Rupert Murdoch performed. Long, long pauses almost every time he was asked a question. Sometimes had no idea what to say. More than once I had the strong impression he'd forgotten the sentence he'd started saying. Banging the table as he spoke was weirdly out of synch with the relatively anodyne things he was saying. He often said he didn't remember, and I didn't get the impression from his tone of voice that he was covering up. I remembered his television interview clip last week when they asked him what his priority was now he'd arrived in England to sort the News International mess. "This one", he said, putting his arm round Rebekah Brooks' shoulders. It seems to me quite likely that he couldn't remember her name at that moment. James Murdoch repeatedly butted in to try to answer for him, but was batted away by the Committee members.

If I were a News Corp shareholder (a laughable concept, but still..) I'd be calling for Rupert Murdoch to have to undergo a brain scan and in depth neurological report. Seriously. I've been around dementia and mental impairment sufferers long enough to recognise the very early stages of permanent cognitive decline when I see them. I'm gobsmacked to think of him playing such a key role in a global corporation. Tellingly, he did mention that his underlings often tell him he's talking rubbish when he tries to give them ideas.

And James Murdoch? He came across like a typical organizational suit, full of the usual obfuscation and evasiveness I'm regularly encountering in my current dealings with NHS PCT bureaucrats. Paul Waugh tweeted one of his prize lines of organizational gobbledygook:

There are thresholds of materiality where something has to be moved upstream.

This was one of the few times when Rupert outstripped his son, in this case by translating the verbiage into plain English:

Anything seen as a crisis comes to me.

So this pair are supposed to be the Evil Empire, controlling the politicians and institutions of the UK? On the basis of this performance, utterly laughable. One of the few worthwhile and revealing answers from Murdoch Senior was when he responded to a rolling dramatic question about how come he'd entered 10 Downing Street via the back door when he visited Cameron after the election: "Because I was asked to. I did what I was told." And in passing he managed to list the many times he'd visited Blair and Brown and talked about Brown's and his kids playing together. And pointed out that it was people like Blair, Brown and Cameron who travelled across continents to see him at their request, not his.


It seems power and influence often moves generationally. These instances came to mind as I drove to my assignment this morning...

  • Ghadaffi -- Moamar to Saif and others

  • Mubarak -- Hosni to Gamal

  • al-Assad -- Hafez to Assad

  • Kim Il Sung to kim Jong Il, then Kim Jong Un

I'm sure there are more. And the U.S. is in no position to be judgmental with our own political landscape covered by family dynasties from both parties going back to the start of the republic. Same goes for musicians and other entertainers. This could be a parlor game.

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