Murdoch in 'unpopular' shock
by Chris Newbould on Dec 28, 2010

Only one in twenty of the UK public support Rupert Murdoch’s bid to take over the 61 per cent of BSkyB he does not already own, according to a new survey.

The survey, commissioned by a number of British media organisations including Guardian Media Group, British Telecom, Associated Newspapers, Northcliffe Media, Trinity Mirror and Telegraph Media Group, found that even among supporters of the Conservative Party, Murdoch’s traditional allies, 43 per cent were against the deal. The figure was even higher, at 53 per cent, among LibDem voters, of whom 25 per cent were ‘strongly opposed.’

Overall, a mere five percent supported the deal, while 44 per cent were against. The remaining respondents either had no strong opinion or were unsure.

Many in the UK media argue that were Murdoch’s News Corp to successfully gain control of BSkyB, the UK’s biggest pay-TV provider, it would put him in a Berlusconi-like position of control over much of the country’s mainstream media.

The UK culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, is to make a decision on whether to refer the takeover to the UK’s Competition Commission by January 15th. This decision was originally due to be taken by business secretary Vince Cable, however he was stripped of the responsibility after being caught on tape by undercover journalists, posing as Cable’s constituents, ‘declaring war’ on Murdoch.

In an added layer of intrigue, the journalists were not from a Murdoch-owned organ, but prominent member of the anti-takeover campaign the Telegraph. To complicate matters further, the Telegraph declined to publish the story, at which point it was leaked to Murdoch Bete-noir, the BBC, which in a noble gesture of political impartiality, though a questionable one of self-preservation, did indeed run with it.