Thursday, May 10, 2007

Media in overdrive as Blair resigns

The great British public, however, are more measured in their reaction to the news, ranking it modestly in a list of more pressing current events.

One hour after Tony Blair confirms he is to step down as Prime Minister on 27 June, the most widely e-mailed articles on the BBC website are, in descending order:

  1. Oral sex linked to throat cancer
  2. How do you 'go' in space?
  3. Blair will stand down on 27 June.

I don't know why, but I find this strangely comforting.

Friday, May 04, 2007


The SNP are doing better than I thought, although at this point I'd be very surprised if they actually managed to slip past Labour in the remaining few seats. What will this mean for the future of Scottish politics, though? Will the independence issue become more commonly debated in Holyrood and will the SNP be at a better vantage point from which to build popular support for a referendum? And how much of the SNP votes are actually protest votes against Labour rather than through a genuine desire for independence from the UK? Thoughts welcome on this one, as I'm fairly new to politicking in Scotland.

Speaking of protest votes, the Tories appear to have wiped the floor with both Labour and the Lib Dems in England. It's not looking good, but can anyone really say they're surprised?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

News for Sale

Well done the Bancroft family for turning down a US$5 billion offer from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp for the acquisition of the Dow Jones news franchise. DJ includes not only the financial newswire, but also the mighty Wall Street Journal and the Barron's magazine. Murdoch is starting up his own 24-hour business news channel with the launch of a new financial channel under the FOX brand later this year, and amalgamating it with one of the most respected names in U.S. business journalism would be a major coup.

The overtures from News Corp are far from over, however. The Bancroft family, who collectively own a controlling stake in Dow Jones, now have to give way to the company's governing board, who also have a say. Also, it would be naive to blindly attribute the Bancrofts' refusal of the Murdoch offer to a burning desire to remain independent and preserve the objective (maybe?) mature of their news coverage - there's nothing stopping them, after all, from holding out until Rupe reaches deeper into his pockets to make an even better offer.

The Democrats, who now have control over both the Congress and the Senate, are said to be prepared to do whatever it takes to either stop or "slow down" the progress of the Murdoch offer being accepted... let's hope they're successful.