Rupert Murdoch yesterday delivered the inaugural Margaret Thatcher Lecture to the Centre for Policy Studies in London. In his speech he spoke in support of an independent press and referred to the occasional “regret” he feels in relation to “editorial endeavour”. There was no direct mention of the News of the World phone hacking scandal, a paper owned by Murdoch’s News International, although he did make a general pledge to “not tolerate wrongdoing”.
Democracy will be from the bottom up, not from the top down. Even so, a free society requires an independent press: turbulent, enquiring, bustling and free. That’s why our journalism is hard-driving and questioning of authority. And so are our journalists. Often, I have cause to celebrate editorial endeavour. Occasionally, I have had cause for regret. Let me be clear: we will vigorously pursue the truth – and we will not tolerate wrongdoing.
Now, it would certainly serve the interests of the powerful if professional journalists were muted – or replaced as navigators in our society by bloggers and bloviators. Bloggers can have a social role – but that role is very different to that of the professional seeking to uncover facts, however uncomfortable.
His speech can be found in full here, or for a more visual representation see the Wordle below (note: we removed the words “Margaret Thatcher” from the visualisation):