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Kathy Sheridan: Karma may finally be catching up with the world’s terrible individuals

Tucker Carlson is gone, Murdoch may be next; the notion it could one day be Putin and his fans seems outlandish, but hope abides

For all who yearn for karma to smite an enemy, the wait can seem interminable.

People of faith have the promise that their god will administer swift justice to terrible people in the afterlife, but what hope is there for everyone else?

There were traces of it this week in the exquisite simplicity of the headline over a Washington Post opinion piece: “Tucker Carlson, a terrible individual, leaves Fox News”. The sudden rupture between the ratings king and Rupert Murdoch’s jewel has been linked to last week’s historic €725 million defamation settlement by Fox with Dominion Voting Systems. Yet Carlson, weirdly, was far from the worst offender in that case.

No public apology was demanded from Fox News, but when asked if the settlement had been conditional on personnel changes, Dominion replied there is “nothing on that from us right now”. Perhaps Dominion’s demands included the head of Fox’s undisputed money-spinner on a plate?


Carlson’s daily sewage of stoking white fears with an unrelenting flow of lies, distortion, racism and hatred may seem irrelevant to European eyes. But observe how much has been imported to our own streets. Carlson was just a sprat, a TV host to a captive bubble of around three million, but he represented something and someone of universal import in a burning world: Rupert Murdoch.

Carlson’s run ended when court disclosures unveiled a corporate culture so scandalously hypocritical and immoral that Murdoch and his minions became a laughing stock. In some marvellous karmic symmetry, the parent company’s stock tanked by $700 million (€635 million) on Monday.

Is karma finally catching up with Murdoch?

Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has summarised Murdoch’s more recent legacy as “Donald Trump, Brexit and climate-denialism”. His power has been to progressively move centre-right parties to the far right in the US and Australia by radicalising their base, according to another former Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd. He dislikes the EU and all it stands for. Carlson’s breakout tours included Hungary, basically a homage to its Trump-a-like prime minister Viktor Orbán.

Above all, Murdoch was happy to put his enormous influence behind the election of a lethally insecure, ignorant, corrupt US president who worshipped at Putin’s altar.

Part of that legacy is on view with the surreal spectacle of Putin’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov presiding over the UN Security Council (UNSC) this week.

That’s the UN charged with ensuring international peace, the one with the following declaration in its charter: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

Fun fact: Russia was chairing a live session of the UNSC at the precise moment Putin launched his invasion 14 months ago.

Now it’s getting to do it all again. The rotating presidency enables it to monster the world stage to preach about “the formation of a new multipolar world order based on sovereign equality, equal rights and self-determination”, not to mention ways of defending the principles of the UN Charter. All while spewing psychopathic butchers, bombers, rapists and child abductors on to sovereign Ukraine on the grounds that it has no sovereign right to exist.

Just a few weeks ago Lavrov — an emissary of an indicted war criminal — reduced a G20 Indian conference audience to howls of laughter and derision by portraying Russia as the poor victim of “the war, which we are trying to stop, which was launched against us using Ukrainian people ...”

Last Monday he presided over a UNSC meeting titled “Maintenance of international peace and security”.

No satirist could dream it up. Lavrov’s pause and surprised glance towards the guffaws at the Indian conference suggested the mockery had hit the target, which was surprising in itself. What part had the bully fabulist not understood before?

The notion that karma might descend on him, on Putin and their fanboys and girls in this life seems outlandish right now yet it’s also true that by some miracle, grown-ups remain in charge in some crucial areas.

Even US president Joe Biden’s greatest detractors concede that only he could have defeated Donald Trump in the 2020 election and he is never star-struck in the presence of autocrats. Above all, he is not Trump, the man who stood beaming proudly beside the Oval Office desk while Lavrov took his chair, illustrating one of Murdoch’s great achievements. Likewise, even European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s detractors now concede that world leaders know who to call when they want to talk to Europe.

This is crucial given the extent of Russian cash, propaganda and interference harnessed towards the destruction of foreign democracies, a fact long denied by Brexiteers among others.

Kremlin plans to interfere directly in German politics — to forge a Coalition between far-left and far-right extremists and build an anti-sanctions Government in short — were revealed in a trove of sensitive Russian documents reported by the Washington Post over the weekend.

A standout detail was the sumptuous hospitality lavished on visitors from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, including an evening in one of St Petersburg’s most ornate palaces with a private performance by Bolshoi theatre soloists.

Carlson was just a mouthpiece. Karma may have Murdoch in its sights. As for the Putin-Lavrov wing, we can hope.