Dear Commons Community,
Rupert Murdoch’s daughter, Elisabeth Murdoch, urged the media industry on Thursday to embrace morality and reject the pursuit of profit at all costs, which her father Rupert and brother James championed before scandal engulfed their News Corp.
In a speech offering a chance to show her credentials to take over her father’s empire, she said profit without purpose was a recipe for disaster, and the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World newspaper showed the need for a rigorous set of values. Elisabeth Murdoch – a successful television producer who was overlooked for senior jobs at News Corp that went first to her brother Lachlan and then James – said a lack of morality could become a dangerous own goal for capitalism and for freedom. The Huffington Post reported:
“She made the remarks in the MacTaggart Lecture at the annual Edinburgh Television Festival, three years after James Murdoch used the same platform to confront a largely hostile audience…
Referring to her younger brother James’s 2009 speech, she said his assertion that the only reliable, durable and perpetual guarantor of media independence was profit had fallen short of the mark.
“The reason his statement sat so uncomfortably is that profit without purpose is a recipe for disaster,” she said, perhaps in an allusion to charges that News of the World journalists broke the law to produce ever-more salacious stories and maintain circulation.
“Profit must be our servant, not our master,” she said, adding that colleagues needed to accept that they had a responsibility to each other and not just the bottom line.
“It’s increasingly apparent that the absence of purpose – or of a moral language – within government, media or business, could become one of the most dangerous own goals for capitalism and for freedom.”
It also underlined just how much has changed since the now 39-year-old James Murdoch used his own MacTaggart lecture to accuse the BBC of having “chilling” ambitions.
That speech, delivered in his role as chairman of the pay-TV group BSkyB and head of News Corp in Europe and Asia, consolidated James’s position as heir apparent to his father’s role, with its echoes of Rupert Murdoch’s own 1989 speech that broadcasting was a business that needed competition.
Since then, both men have been chastened by the fallout of the phone hacking affair which has damaged the reputation and value of the company and the family name in Britain.”
Elisabeth is a breath of fresh air from a family whose values have has been twisted by its greed.