Wednesday, 20 July 2011

What Rupert learned from Capone

China Daily, as I pointed out here, thinks that capitalism is the root cause of the Murdoch newspapers' evil.

They're not far wrong - but it's been going on for longer than Rupert's been in charge. Here's an amusing little paragraph about The Times and Al Capone in 1932. Claud is Claud Cockburn, a great campaigning journalist of the mid-twentieth century.
…he interviewed Al Capone at his headquarters… gently frisked by a couple of 'bulging Sicilians', he was escorted into the mobster's presence. Their tête-à-tête was conducted in a civilised manner, even though Claud immediately spotted the barrel of a gun poking through the transom of a door… 
'Listen, don't get the idea I'm one of those goddamn radicals', Capone snapped… 'Don't get the idea I''m knocking the American system. My rackets are run on strictly American lines. Capitalism, call it what you like, gives to each and every one of us a great opportunity if only we seize it with both hands and make the most of it'. 
Despite these profound insights, the interview was never filed. When asked why… Claud remarked that Capone's remarks were in essence identical with the editorials of The Times itself, and he doubted whether the paper would be very pleased to see itself in agreement with the most infamous racketeer in Chicago. 
From Norman Rose, The Cliveden Set (London: Jonathan Cape: 2000): 158.

1 comment:

Benjamin. said...

On the hacking scandal, did you watch Newsnight last night? Will Self made an interesting point on the 'culture of envy', too true I thought. People living beyond their means, greed & power going to their heads leads to it. My facebook status: 'Murdoch got a face like an abandoned walrus & should return back to Satan's womb'.