Rupert Murdoch has appointed Spain’s
ex-president, Jose Aznar, as a director of News Corporation – the first member
of the board to have English as his second language.

Aznar led his Popular Party government in
backing Bush’s Iraq invasion and wisely didn’t stand in the 2004 election his party
lost days after the Madrid bombing. notes that he was personally proposed
by Mr Murdoch – but aren’t all News Corp board members?

A curious thing about the appointment is
that it has gone somewhat un-reported through the usual channels. Reuters
had the story overnight, but took it out of Madrid thanks to a
spokesman for Aznar. There is a press release on the News Corp website if you go looking for it, but it seems the
announcement officially came out of London after Aznar
had attended his first board meeting.
Hey, it’s News Corp and governance – you don’t expect things to run by
the book.

Notes the News Corp release of the
53-year-old: “One of Mr. Aznar’s main concerns is the battle against terrorism.
He is in favour of a firm policy, contrary to any kind of political concession,
as well as the idea of fostering close international cooperation among the
democratic countries. He is a firm supporter of Spain’s close
relationship with the United
States and of the European
Union’s commitment to promoting greater freedom and economic reforms.”

Sounds like a prime prospect for a gig on
Fox News. By the sound of the bio that News provides, Aznar’s dance card hasn’t been
all that full since 2004, but the appointment should provide room for
speculation about Rupert’s sudden Latin interest.

No doubt any friend of the Coalition of the
Blind and Willing is a friend of Rupert’s. Fox Sports has a Spanish-language
service in the US, but one might also wonder about the still-pending desire of
Spanish publisher Javier Moll to start daily papers in opposition to Rupert’s Adelaide and Brisbane monopolies
– if Peter Costello ever let him.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey