Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dial M for Murdoch

About 2009, I stood outside the News International building at Waping, waiting for my contact to collect me. It occurred to me on the train journey down that is was the 1st on-site customer visit where I felt I was doing something wrong or immoral by helping the business of this customer function. I had visited various banks, spooks and even the Bomb factory in the previous years without even an uncomfortable twitch. What was different standing outside Waping was that I believed that with News International controlling so much of the UK media that we could not live in a democracy until its influence was significantly reduced.

Important to say that all the people I meet on the I.T. side were very nice. They had a serious problem which as I remember took less than 2 hours including lunch to root cause [Java circularity error, pstack, mdb and google are your friends] and I was out of there.

Dial M for Murdoch is probably bias. Even so, this is a must read and I think will continue to be to remind us of the historical perspective of how did a democracy let one man have much power as to be able to influence the outcome of elections and for the culture of a company to be so out of control.

Still, the episode brought us useful terms like "willful blindness" and demonstrated that you need a number of people like Tom Watson in parliament who are single minded enough to keep digging even when they are being bullied by a company like N.I.

I was shocked by the contents of the book and how it was allowed to go on so long, willful blindness was something that those who bought The Sun, The Time or Sky were also guilty of, if you paid Murdoch were guilty of, you were part of the problem. Now that is uncomfortable, but at least you can probably say you did not help them solve an I.T. problem critical to a product roll out, I admit I was guilty of willful curiosity.

Most of the events have been on the news, but the background this book brings is facinating. Do read the book.

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