Murdoch and starving Somali children

What’s in the news these days?

a)     New reports of famine in parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, and northern Kenya, alongside the difficulties of getting food and medical aid to areas in which famine is partially caused by what’s often referred to as the ‘political conditions’.

b)    The so-called phone hacking scandal in which News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch and his clan are embroiled – but which is not really about News Of the World reporters hacking Sienna Miller’s phone to get the juicy bits about her sex life, but more about Murdoch’s successful bid to be in the business of power and political influence (David Cameron included), rather than in the business of the fourth estate.

So how to deflect a scandal that may lead to severe restrictions of one’s sphere of influence? Use your own PR company, and have one’s editorial cartoonist link a) with b). The Times of London, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, had resident cartoonist Peter Brookes draw up “Priorities,” a cartoon depicting a group of starving figures in a desert environment; one figure clutches the tell tale empty begging bowl, and states, “I’ve had a bellyful of phone hacking.” (Peter Brookes, btw, has a thing for drawing starving Africans.)

Ah, Murdoch. Don’t project your anxieties/self-loathing onto the bodies of starving Africans. That’s you, there, who’s had the bellyful. It’s almost like Brookes modeled the figures in his cartoon on Murdoch – right down to the big ears.



Neelika Jayawardane

Sharp-tongued literature professor. Senior editor at Africa is a Country.

  1. Neelika, you're great ! Haven't been on this site for a while and the first thing I read is your post. Thank you

  2. I just wish i had the contacts of an efficient ninja assassin..trained just to annihalate Murdoch. This scandal makes me sick, and makes me realize that even my privacy especially in Kenya is not guaranteed! Sasa ubaya Wendy Dench *his wife the pie blocker* might be kill that assassin!

    1. Wendy won't be getting invites to many high society functions in NYC too soon. She used to be a mainstay in Vogue/W/whatever's party pages. The end of one career, and the start of another: pie-deflecting~

  3. The whole thing is really about power and not about phones.

    But, if only we still had News of the World so we could be adequetely informed about the conditions of East Africa.

    This is a hateful western Bob Geldof-esque aid porn and conservative media isn't alone with it, but that's a separate matter – slightly at least – I guess.

  4. No-one really cared about the phone hacking until it was dead peoples phones and their familes that were getting hacked…but there should be more said/done about the famine…..but then again, this is the west. They only really care about scandals anyways. Anything else is someone elses problem. (A sweeping generalisation but still its true.)

  5. I agree there could and should be more awareness raising about famine as it's tragic, but it is also a separate matter to Murdoch scandal which essentially is about media's power over politics and police. it is a story about western corruption and needs to be talked about for everyone's benefit although not at anyone's expense. Unfortunately we only seem to be able to deal with one thing at the time and now it no longer is Libya or even Murdoch but at least for now it's Norway. But the imbalance of press is something that informs these exact matters and therefore to have this in another Murdoch medium is not about them trying to draw attention to anything specific, but rather anything that is not them.

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