Is Murdoch 'Menacing' to Democracy?

After The New York Times implicated Andy Coulson, now communications director for British Prime Minister David Cameron, in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, The Guardian has taken aim at News International and its owner, Rupert Murdoch. Guardian writers Henry Porter and Will Hutton examined the influence of Murdoch’s British media empire—which includes The Times papers, The Sun, The News of the World, and others—and have deemed Murdoch “as menacing in his own special way to democracy and conduct of politics as many other threats our society faces,” comparing the conservative media mogul to “the elderly [gangster] Hyman Roth in The Godfather, Part II.” The writers claim Murdoch is “responsible for a distortion of politics” due to his shaping of the British agenda on the Iraq War through his enormous influence on British politics, and that his media empire is “above the law” since no one has been held accountable for the phone-hacking scandal that targeted everyone from celebrities to members of Parliament. The writers also say that “Murdoch has undoubtedly contributed to the coarsening of British society and also to an erosion of values, which now sees a society where the outrageous practices of his—and other—tabloid journalists are expected, if not quite accepted.”