Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Tory Discourse of 'grand conspiracy theory': a straw man of transnational capital

The Tory Party hates the BBC. They have as yet not found a way of disciplining it (the injection of Carlton into the ITV network as punishment for Thames Television's Death on the Rock had worked perfectly to discipline ITV) and continue to seek out ways of dismembering it and handing over the richest meat to its friends among the transnational corporations. This is not a polemical point just the bare facts.

The Murdoch Organisation (News Corporation and its many aspects - in the UK most especially BSkyB) hates the BBC. They have found no mechanism for drawing away from the BBC the substantial audiences it generates for its programmes and channels and continue to seek out ways of dismembering that audience and handing it over to its advertisers. This is not a polemical point just the bare facts.

 James Murdoch's MacTaggart Lecture to the Edinburgh TV Festival in 2009 and Jeremy Hunt's response to that lecture and David Cameron's foreshadowing of some of its demands show the combination of this hatred.

Around the current Leveson Inquiry the myrmidons of this hatred have been building a discourse about the 'grand conspiracy' between the Tory Party and News Corporation to allow by any means the full takeover of BSkyB by News Corporation and how this has not been shown by any of the evidence as yet presented to the Inquiry. The main thrust of David Cameron's evidence was structured along these lines.

However, this is of course not the point. The point is that the restructuring of the capital flows in and around BSkyB is of very limited importance. This is an institution and set of audiences that are already fully integrated into transnational capital and the profits (or perhaps rather rents) from this nexus of consumption are already fully financialised.

No the point of this is that the BBC and the set of audiences around it are not fully integrated into transnational capital. The BBC's peculiar relationship with the people - paid for through taxation - means that the flows of capital in and around it are not perfectly available to transnational capital (they are by no means sealed off from transnational capital they are just more difficult - and thus expensive - to derive a profit/rent from). Annihilating the BBC in its present form would open those flows of profit/rent to transnational capital and allow a full financialization of those audiences and the rents they offer. There would in effect be a massive virgin territory for transnational capital to exploit. News Corporation, through its most significant UK aspect - BSkyB - intended to be the only institution leading the charge to open this territory and thus the only beneficiary from this opening of the new territory. This is the 'grand conspiracy' not the BSkyB takeover side show.

That the Tory Party and News Corporation have been able to construct a discourse about another 'grand conspiracy' theory, their preferred as a straw-man to be swatted away with such ease is down to the ideological apparatus at work inside the media institutions in this country, which have always operated on the basis of the 'propaganda model' described by Herman and Chomsky. An analysis along the lines set out above is unthinkable within the 'media' as typically understood. Not least because, of course, of the position in the relations of productions of media workers. Observing this 'takeover grand conspiracy' straw man being projected into the media is to see all of the ideological systems of capital in the UK at work.

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