Murdoch Empire envy has been a perennial feature of the British establishment for some years now but it is only in the last few months that the sheer scale of the problem has become apparent.
At a time when we are hardly short on more palpable threats to our economic and national security, the headlines have been dominated by a single journalistic inquiry in the capital.
How did a relatively minor investigation by a committee of MPs manage to grab such attention?
First and foremost, it is important to understand what this story is not about. It is not about phone hacking.
This story is about Rupert Murdoch and the impact he has had on the lives of so many people in media and politics for the last few decades.
Murdoch is to his rivals is what Eton is to state education. He is a man who’s methods they despise and yet he is a man who routinely out performs them in a free market.
How could such a crass, dubious personality possibly build an empire on this scale? Now, at last, his enemies have been given an answer that they are prepared to live with. He cheated.
The euphoria in the non-Murdoch news print is completely undisguised.
One is reminded of the unseemly squabble that followed the success of Harry Potter.
Amongst the many people in Britain who publish books for children, there was a gradual realisation that they couldn’t shift as many copies as J K Rowling. A wave of articles appeared in the press in which one children’s novelist after another spoke out against the great white witch herself, pointing out that their own stories were much better than Harry Potter and that it really was a mystery why anybody with a bit of cash in their pockets would chose to spend it on Hogwarts.
Envy is one of those emotions we should all try to suppress but on the issue of Potter sales, some of greatest children’s authors are wearing it on their sleeves.
Murdoch’s media empire has grown with similar gusto to the Potter novels.
He achieved this by mastering a mercurial of forces: the market.
Ordinary people made Murdoch rich and the scale of his empire is a reflection of his success.
Not just in this country, but all around the world, people were offered a clear choice as to which newspapers they wanted to buy. They glanced through the headlines, they reached down and they chose to spend their own money on one of Murdoch’s titles. Later they would also choose to hand over their cash to watch his television too. All of this, in spite of the fact that the people running rival newspapers and television companies were convinced that their own product was superior.