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Hypocricy in Media: Rupert Murdoch's Smut Industry

"...Rupert Murdock's parent company News Corporation, which owns and operates Fox News (the implicit Republican Party "family values" channel in the US), owns 40% of the UK's BSkyB Communications, which is one of the largest distributors of European pornography"

Robert W. Peters, co-author of “The Slave and the Porn Star: Sexual Trafficking and Pornography”, states, “The relationship between, pornography, sex trafficking, and prostitution is real and cannot exist without one or the other”.

On a more personal level, pornography degrades, dehumanizes, and corrupts our views of women. Pornography also fosters the attitude that women can be disrespected primarily as a sexual object used for pleasure, i.e. women are just a commodity in the male-controlled business world.

Catherine Mackinon, a professor at Harvard Law School states, “Consuming pornography is the delusional experience of easily-bought sexual intimacy, thus helping to create an addictive hunger to continue to purchase, objectify, and possibly act out in life what is seen as real in pornographic imagery.

In a very literal way, pornography is a form of destructive socialization that replaces lust for love and promotes the lie that frequent and impersonal sexual activity can improve an individual’s self-esteem, primarily in men.

And along with its very profitable cousins - prostitution and human trafficking, pornography treats men as desperate characters to be economically exploited for their loneliness and their social shortcomings. Men, in fact, are as much victims of the “sex for profit” businesses as women.

Free Choice and Free Markets

Should pornography be illegal? When it comes to criminals involved in child pornography and human trafficking, the answer is certainly “yes” – along with very long prison terms for these worst of all humanoids. However, if you believe “normal” adults should have free choice, regardless of the harmful effects it has on their lives (not unlike cigarettes, most drugs and some guns), then the answer is a clear “NO.”

Yet the moral ground is often very confusing. For example, the libertarian ideology of the free markets – as well as our institutionalized big lobby money legitimacy in the current American capitalist climate - often gets in the way of our moral compass and the mental health realities of what is good and bad for our society.

In fact, in the current “business freedom is always good” mentality, we now see very big and legitimate global businesses make billions of dollars a year off of pornography - as well as tobacco, war like civilian weapons, and alcohol. Ironically, some of these multinational businesses fork out millions of dollars in political donations to organizations and politicians that too often talk about “family values” as being a big focus of their electability.

Fair and Balanced Smut

Take born-again Christian Rupert Murdock, one of the richest men in the world and the CEO of News Corporation, the parent company of Fox News. In addition to his mainstream media holdings such as the Fox News Network, Murdoch has emerged as one of the biggest pornographers in the world by building a stable of hard-core porn channels through his 40% owned BSkyB subsidiary in the UK.

Through New Corp’s 40% ownership of the BSkyB satellite TV subsidiary, Murdock has been quietly building a stable of wholly-owned pornographic channels for the network. Murdoch’s BSkyB now owns and operates its own pornographic channels through the 18+ Movies selection – after years of hosting third-party content only (historically, BSkyB, under its license agreement, was required to host every channel that won permission from the UK communications industry regulator Ofcom (the regulator agrees to a fixed fee for the use of the platform by third parties).

Most recently, Murdock's BSkyB has been expanding its activities in the growing business of pornographic television with its “18+ Movies” offering. The company has also been entering into partnerships with companies that broadcast pornographic television channels on BSkyB, such as Sport XXX Babes, XXX Housewife, and Playboy.

Contractually, BSkyB has agreed to retail distribution agreements with these companies. With Playboy, for instance, BSkyB now not only hosts the channel but sells its service, and collects and shares in the revenues from Playboy customers.

With this BSkyB agreement, Murdoch’s media powerhouse now sells more pornography annually than Larry Flint’s global smut empire.

Leisure means something a little different at these hotels

The Marriott, Westin, and Hilton hospitality businesses are all major hotel chains that offer in-room X-rated movies delivered to the hotel by one of two major independent distribution companies (LodgeNet is the biggest porn distributor, owned by Colony Capital, a global investment firm).

Analysts say these in-room sex movies generate more money for the hotel chains than revenue from the hotels' mini-bars. "The 5 percent or 10 percent of revenue that the hotel chain gets, that's pure profit to them because they have no added technology cost," says Dennis McAlpine, an entertainment industry analyst. "They didn't put in the wiring system, they didn't supply the programming."

"Here's Johnny" Holmes

Cable and satellite companies channel pornography into millions of homes and take approximately 80 percent of the pay-per-view dollar that gets spent by the consumer, according to Bill Asher, president of Vivid Entertainment, which produces adult movies.

Originally, AT&T's cable division, AT&T Broadband, distributed to subscribers an explicit porn channel called The Hot Network. But AT&T sold its cable company and its network connection to pornography to Comcast, which recently made a bid for the assets of Time Warner Cable, which also sells tons of pornography through their adult movie offerings.

If the Comcast – Time Warner Cable buyout passes regulatory approval, Comcast will certainly be one of the biggest Wall Street listed purveyors of smut in the world.

Direct TV (from General Motors to General Murdoch)

General Motors at one time owned the national satellite distribution service DirecTV, which channels pornography into millions of American homes for a nice profit. But General Motors sold its stake in DirecTV to (guess who?) Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation - which continues to increase its pornography business offerings.

A hotel chain that said “No to Pornography’'

Omni Hotels was the first hotel chain to announce that it would no longer offer adult pay-per-view movies in its rooms. The company's statement noted that it made the decision "in response to what it perceives as a growing need for corporate America to support pro-family issues." Based near Dallas, Texas, Omni has hotels and resorts throughout North America.

In a past New York Times article, Omni's president, Jim Caldwell, said that his company's decision to remove the sex-videos would cost it an estimated $1.8 million per year. The company stated that "[t]he anticipated loss in revenue demonstrates the company's commitment to the issue. Omni Hotels also removed adult magazines from the gift shops at its owned and managed gift shops.

And more recently, the primarily Mormon-run Marriott hotel chain has decided to slowly phase out its in-room pornography offerings.

Evidently, when it comes to pornography, free market capitalism and “family values” morality are on an inevitable values collision course.

Still, it’s always good when hypocrisy is exposed – and honesty reigns.




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