Maybe you can see where this is heading. Incredibly, depressingly, Folkenflik outdoes even Murdoch’s latest fetid bribery defense, made off-the-record to employees at The Sun: everybody does it. “Payments for news tips from cops,” Murdoch was secretly recorded saying, “that’s been going on for a hundred years. It was the culture of Fleet Street.”
Everyone who reports does it, Murdoch says; and everyone who reads or watches is complicit, Folkenflik volunteers. He ends his book by saying, “Murdoch could not have accumulated his fortunes without our help. We are all, as consumers of media, involved and even responsible for the creation of Murdoch’s World.”
As guilty as the people of Bhopal were for swallowing Union Carbide’s lethal gas. That’s a comparison in which the real-world relationship of corporate pirates and government regulation are revealed. It’s that kind of bite, of passion, of judgment, which David Folkenflik has unfortunately eschewed.
Murdoch’s World is a good book, full of interesting material. But for me, its one failure is a big one: It doesn’t add up.