Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fisticuffs in Edinburgh as Peston refutes Murdoch's distorted market

A crashing response to James Murdoch's speech in Edinburgh from the BBC's Robert Peston

The Observer reports that

At an official dinner following the speech, Murdoch and Peston – who were sitting with the Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark and the BBC chairman, Sir Michael Lyons – became involved in a discussion about banking deregulation which progressed to the flashpoint of whether or not the BBC was patrician, according to those who were there.
Murdoch apparently banged the table and shouted: "How dare you?" with Peston shouting back: "If you think you can get fucking angry, I can get fucking angry."

The BBC put together a concerted effort to refute Murdoch's allegations that it was stifling competition including Peston himself who in a speech yesterday afternoon hastily incorporating comment on the previous evening

You can read the speech in full at Peston's blog but this is what he had to say about the competition model

Market-based democracies like ours need two kinds of essential infrastructure: robust financial systems that transmit cash and allocate capital where it will be most useful; and competing independent news groups that distribute impartial information so that people can take control of their lives and rein in the over-mighty. Now we have just seen the near total collapse of our financial infrastructure, to a large extent because of misguided deregulation of banking; so we have to ask whether there is any rational basis for believing that withdrawing all regulation and subsidy from the news market would be any less costly to our way of life.

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