The Imelda Award

This award recognizes those who represent the spirit of former Filipino First Lady Imelda Marcos, who became infamous for maintaining an opulent lifestyle while millions of her nation's citizens lived in poverty.Millionaire Rupert Murdoch, one of the world's most ruthless capitalists, has carved out an odd role for himself in the New World Media Order: he has emerged as one of the planet's most ardent protectors of the ruthless communists who run China.The latest China-basher to get bashed by Murdoch is Christopher Patten, the last British Governor of Hong Kong. Patten had a contract to write a book for HarperCollins, a publishing company that is part of Murdoch's universe of media properties.Not surprisingly, Patten's manuscript included some not very nice words about the Chinese government. Murdoch thought this might harm his growing business interests in China, so he ordered executives at HarperCollins to kill the book.News of this heavy-handed maneuver soon leaked to the British press, resulting in a mountain of bad publicity. Eventually, Murdoch took the highly unusual step of issuing a public apology to Patten, and agreeing to pay him an undisclosed sum of money.Murdoch's attempt to muzzle an outspoken author in order to expand his global business ambition makes him an easy pick for this month's Imelda Award. But we can't help feeling that it is Patten who will have the last laugh.His book was quickly picked up by another publisher -- Macmillan -- and given all the fuss surrounding its publication, it will surely be a bestseller when it hits the stores in September. How satisfying it is to know that Rupert Murdoch will not earn a single penny from any of those sales.

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