Wednesday, 20 July 2011

¶ In her column about the populist downfall of the Murdochs, Maureen Dowd says something more astute than she might know. Testifying before a Parliamentary Committee, she writes, News Corp executives “stuck to a hoary formula for scandals, claiming the cognitive advantage that being on top of the world left them out of touch.” Down in the dumps on the 90th Floor? Not bloody likely! That’s what the intervening 89 floors are for: insulation. The exercise of power at a distance without consequence is what the modern large corporate organization has been designed to accommodate. It never works for very long without significant breakdowns, but with luck you’ve snatched and grabbed your sky’s-the-limit take-home by then. When the headlines are sensational, who can be bothered to translate that “hoary formula” into plain English: “We’re so powerful that we don’t have to know what we’re doing.” Would you give these people your car keys?