Rupert Murdoch, the so-called "conservative" owner of the Fox News Channel, made a dramatic turn to the Left when one of his major Australian newspapers endorsed the liberal pro-United Nations candidate, Kevin Rudd, in the Australian presidential contest.
Rudd is a former diplomat who served in China and speaks Chinese. He pledged to pull Australian combat troops out of Iraq, increase the power of the United Nations in global affairs, and boost relations with Communist China. He was backed by radical labor union activists who have called for anti-American Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez to visit Australia in 2008.
Rudd's Labor Party won the election on Saturday over the Liberal Party (the equivalent of U.S. conservatives) with about 53 percent of the vote. He defeated conservative John Howard, Australia's long-serving Prime Minister, friend of President Bush and the United States, and opponent of the global Islamic terrorist movement.
Some U.S. conservative commentators are saying that Howard's defeat is somehow linked to the negative publicity which resulted from a dirty trick played by some of his supporters, who distributed phony leaflets trying to tie the Labor Party to Islamic militants. But that was a minor event compared to Rudd becoming a national laughingstock when it was disclosed that during a trip to New York City, supposedly to represent Australia at the United Nations, he had gone to the "Scores" strip club and got drunk with the editor of Murdoch's New York Post. This "Kevin Rudd and his Girls, Girls, Girls" video was one of several that mocked his trip to "Scores." Yet, as the Financial Times noted, he shook off this scandal "with ease."
Considered by some the world's most powerful media mogul, Murdoch has frequently been labeled a "conservative" and has defended the Iraq War. But Murdoch's endorsement of Rudd through his newspaper, The Australian, could signal an endorsement of Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential contest, and his abandonment of the Republican Party.
As Accuracy in Media has pointed out, Murdoch's "conservatism" is a matter of dispute anyway. His New York Post newspaper endorsed Hillary Clinton for re-election to the Senate over a conservative Republican and Murdoch even hosted a fundraiser for her.
While Rudd's Australian Labor Party platform favors a withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq, it wants to expand the Australian-led U.N.-sanctioned "international security force" in Timor Leste (East Timor). The Labor platform also favors the doctrine of "international humanitarian intervention," also known as the Responsibility to Protect, whereby nations interfere in the internal affairs of other nations with U.N. backing supposedly to protect populations from genocide and war crimes.
In terms of the U.N. agenda on alleged man-made climate change, the Australian Labor Party platform accepted it whole cloth, saying the evidence is "overwhelming" and that the party would ratify the global warming treaty, also known as the Kyoto Protocol.
In an editorial endorsement, the Murdoch paper, The Australian, said that Rudd was not "an obvious threat to Australia's financial wellbeing" and that his commitment to the global warming treaty was not that significant because the Kyoto Protocol is "largely symbolic" and is destined to be replaced by a "post-Kyoto agreement" that will include China and India. A new U.N. climate change conference begins in Bali, Indonesia, in early December.
Secret dealings between Rudd and Murdoch came out in the open in April when they were filmed coming out of his New York City headquarters. Murdoch commented at the time that Rudd would make a good Prime Minister.
One Australian observer of Murdoch told AIM that "Murdoch's helping of leftist candidates is no surprise to longtime readers of The Australian." He explained, "Although their editorials are mostly pro-freedom and free-market, when it comes to elections they back whoever they think will win anyhow. This shows that Murdoch is more interested in power and influence."
This observer noted that The Australian's editorial endorsement of Rudd was "unconvincing" and was based on how the winds were blowing, not the right thing to do. With all the opinionÂ polls predicting a Labor victory, this observer said that the editorial in The Australian was a way for Murdoch to ingratiate himself with the Labor Party and do business with them when they are in power. "I expect that if a Hillary victory seems likely [in the U.S. next year] a similar thing will happen over there," this observer said.
Rudd pulled a Hillary on social issues by trying to sound moderate. But Salt Shakers, a Christian group in Australia, warned that the Labor Party platform "threatens to undermine the very foundation of our nation, the family." Jenny Stokes of Salt Shakers told CBN News that Rudd, who claims to be Catholic and courted Christian voters, has said that "Christianity is the theology of social justice" and played down its supernatural dimension. Stokes explained, "He says that Jesus of Nazareth never said anything against homosexuality, and so, when you start to put some of these things together, you start to think what sort of Christianity is he really promoting?"
In startling comments, Rudd was asked whether he believed in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and evaded the question, saying, "Well, I'm a-I'm a, a person who attends church regularly."
In its endorsement of Rudd, Murdoch's Australian ignored the social issues but expressed deep concern about his backing from radical activists in the labor movement. The paper noted that "if he wins, Mr. Rudd must deal with the high expectations of the union movement. This remains our biggest reservation about the possibility of a Labor government."
John Howard's ruling Liberal Party had claimed that Rudd and his Labor Party were "controlled by the unions." Some of these unions were involved in facilitating a so-called "Latin America and Asia Pacific International Solidarity Forum" held October 11-14 in Australia. "The announcement by Venezuelan ChargÃ© d'Affaires Nelson Davila that President Hugo Chavez is planning to visit Australia in 2008 drew loud applause," reported one participant. "The conference drew participation from the small but growing section of Australia's labor movement that looks to socialism and the class struggle as the way forward for their struggle and for humanity," said another.
Â "We're coming back," warned Australian union boss Joe McDonald in comments that were captured in a menacing video.
Partly thanks to Murdoch, they are.