I spent last week in the UK (near Birmingham). Unlike Megan McArdle, I didn’t meet anyone who was in favor of Brexit. More than one person I talked to said that the anti-EU insanity of the Murdoch tabloids was probably the main reason Brexit fever ever got going.
Murdoch media has reshaped American politics too. I doubt a candidacy like Trump’s would have been possible without the rise of Fox and right-wing radio. I don’t know how much of this rise is attributable to Murdoch and his companies. I realize that there’s a lot of anger here and in the UK over decades of stagnant wages and a poor recovery from the Great Recession. But that anger could have gone in lots of different directions, it didn’t have to end up directed at immigrants and big gubmint.
It’s not a coincidence that younger people in the US vote overwhelmingly for candidates on the left while older people vote overwhelmingly for candidates on the right. I have to believe that they get their news from very different mediums and communicate about politics with each other using very different mediums.
Anyway, this is a good question:
In the shorter term, Murdoch finds himself content to mess with the longest comity Europe has found in a millennium. We can debate what he really thinks about the value of the new Europe, just as we can wonder about his true thoughts on a warming world. In fact, though, it doesn’t matter. It’s all just collateral impact, to the larger sport of affirming his own interests, political and business, at the highest levels of world governance. If it takes playing to the uninformed with populist doggerel, so be it.
Could the work of terrorism be nearly as effective at wounding Western nations as these men who claim to love their nations so dearly have done?