Friday, July 15, 2011

Will Fox News pay a price for Murdoch's fall?

not surprisingly, Media Matters is paying close attention to how much or, we should say, how little coverage Fox News is giving to the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal in England.

Media Matters has for some time been doing a splendid job of monitoring the pathetically biased news coverage over at Fox, so they must have been salivating at the opportunity to track how obvious Fox would be in low-keying the scandal enveloping its parent company, News Corp., and owner, Rupert Murdoch.

According to Media Matters:

Over a nine-day period from July 4 through July 13, Fox produced 30 segments on the crisis, as opposed to 71 for MSNBC and 109 for CNN.

Okay, that's sort of interesting, but clear evidence that Fox News under-reports facts that are inconsistent with its wacky hyper-right wing world view is hardly earth-shattering. Just more of the same.

Hate to say it, but Americans, especially the right-wing variety, are just not going to pay all that much attention to what goes on on the other side of the pond. If the matter remained in England, that might have been the end of it, as least regarding Murdoch's fortunes here.

But, as they say, this story might have legs. According to CNN:

The FBI has launched an investigation into Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. after a report that employees or associates may have attempted to hack into phone conversations and voice mail of September 11 survivors, victims and their families, a federal law enforcement source told CNN Thursday.

Just to be clear, it appears that the investigation of possible hacking of 9/11 victims' and their families' phones is an extension of the Murdoch owned British newspaper scandal having to do with accusations that its reporters illegally eavesdropped on the phone messages of murder and terrorist victims, politicians and celebrities.

The accusations would appear not to involve Murdoch owned entities in the U.S.

Nonetheless, that does beg a very interesting question. What would the repercussions be, if any, for News Corp. properties like Fox News and The Wall Street Journal if it is found out that 9/11 victims had their phones tapped by employees of the Rupert Murdoch media empire?

Clearly, News of the World, which bore the brunt of the scandal in England, decided to shut down rather than die a slow death at the hands of mortified advertisers who decided that the newspaper was just too toxic.

9/11 has for so long been such an important part of the way that Fox News in particular has draped itself in the American flag, that evidence that the parent company was violating the privacy of the victims and their families in such a dramatic way might just be too difficult a fact to spin away, or ignore away (see above).

Might people start to tune out or, better yet, advertisers start to walk away?

We can only hope, but it will be interesting to see.

(Cross-posted to Lippmann's Ghost.)

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  • Unfortunately, not many Americans even know that Fox News is linked to Murdoch, much less to News of the World. People will be outraged about the latter's phone-hacking of 9/11 victims' families, but very few will connect that with Fox. Fox certainly won't tell them.

    If it turns out that Murdoch entities in the US have engaged in similar abuses (not just foreign ones doing things in the US), that will be different.

    By Blogger Infidel753, at 10:12 AM  

  • People who froth at the mouth over Fox News will continue frothing no matter what negative press might emerge. Such people are professional frothers, and if you attack their news outlet they'll just shrug it off as more liberal bias, and keep on frothing...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:47 AM  

  • If Fox News dies along with the rabid right in America, that would be great

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:11 AM  

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