Noted philanthropist Rupert Murdoch has announced that he is donating a substantial part of his fortune to create a new charity, the Royal National Institute for the Wilfully Blind.
‘I have lived with this untreatable condition for years,’ said the 82-year-old media mogul and disability rights champion. ‘But I never allowed my wilful blindness to prevent me from achieving my life’s ambition of earning billions of pounds as a boardroom tyrant, and now I want to help others do the same.’
Murdoch made his announcement after a report by MPs praised his ‘courageous efforts’ to show that people living with wilful blindness can play a full and lucrative part in society. In a lengthy tribute to the celebrated charity patron and human rights activist, the Commons Culture Committee recognised his substantial achievements in the fields of profiteering, media, and telecommunications, all despite suffering from “proper fits” throughout his career.
At a press launch for the new charity, Murdoch introduced video footage of some of the other sufferers he wishes to help, including his son James who is tragically afflicted with the same impairment. The moving film showed James struggling to understand basic questions in front of a panel of assessors. Other heart-rending cases included a woman identified only as former chief executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks, who was born ginger and charming and went on to develop crippling wilful blindness as well as severe scruple deficiency.
‘These young people have had their careers blighted not by the effects of wilful blindness, but by the callous ignorance of people who don’t understand the condition,’ Murdoch said. ‘But with my billions of pounds, and the cooperation of certain public figures from whom I have never previously asked or received a favour as far as I or my lawyers can recall, they too can survive the effects of wilful blindness to become as successful as me.’
Mr Murdoch’s generosity was hailed by campaigners and activists including four Conservative MPs, Tony Blair and the Metropolitan Police. ‘Rupert Murdoch is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life,’ said Mr Blair. One of the Conservatives, Louise Mensch, agreed, tweeting ‘Rupert Murdoch is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.’ In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: ‘Rupert Murdoch is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being we’ve ever known in our lives.’
The purpose of the new foundation is to pour funding into research for a range of treatments for wilful blindness. ‘We’ll look at radical options like eye-opening reports and surgery to remove rogue scapegoats which affect the vision,’ said clinical research lead Dr Les Hinton. ‘But in the end we think the best cure is probably just to cover it up until all the attention goes away. That’ll be £7,000, thanks.’