Media mogul and phone-hacker extraordinaire, Australian-born Rupert Murdoch is no stranger to greedy opportunism. In 2012, Forbes ranked him as the 26th most powerful person in the world; not surprising, seeing as he was head of the second largest media institution in the world, News Corporation (“was”, only because in 2013 News Corporation was split into two separate companies: News Corp and 21st Century Fox). Unfortunately, our dear friend Murdoch doesn’t know that with great power comes great responsibility. In 2011, News Corporation’s UK paper News of the World was caught up in a phone-hacking scandal, as it was revealed employees had tapped phones of celebrities, members of the British royal family, as well as victims of the London bombings, all in pursuit of publishing stories. More recently, Murdoch—who owns 70 percent of all Australian newspapers—was accused of using his newspapers’ interests to influence the public into voting Liberal in Australia’s September election. Rupert Murdoch is, as my mother would say, a “real piece of work”. But is he the worst? Meet J Jonah Jameson. Editor-in-chief of fictional New York newspaper The Daily Bugle, the Marvel Comics character is most often seen yelling at Peter Parker, a photojournalist who just so happens to be the only photographer in New York able to snap pictures of your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman. Like Murdoch, Jameson is also a greedy opportunist, determined to use his position as editor to fuel his smear campaign against Spiderman, and will stop at nothing to reveal the no-good vigilante for the public menace that he is (the fact that news about Spidey sells an awesome amount of papers is beside the point, of course). Jameson even uses pictures Parker has taken of Spiderman out of context, in order to paint him as the villain. (Rupert Murdoch did something similar this year when Photoshopped images of Labor ministers in Nazi uniforms appeared on the front page of his newspapers.)
So both media tycoons deal in slander and trickery—but which is worse? The answer in my mind is clear. Rupert Murdoch owned 20th Century Fox and they cancelled Firefly. I’m never getting over that.
- Lauren Harrington