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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, July 08, 2011

End of the News? Or the World?

The liberties taken by CBS producers on the Esplanade don't come close to the daily ethical lapses in Rupert Murdoch's media empire. And there's a real question whether abruptly folding one of the principal offenders will change anything.

The chickens are coming home to roost on the media machine that includes Fox News Channel, the Wall Street Journal and some of Britain's raunchier tabloid newspapers. Starting with the now late News of the World, which apparently sanctioned phone hacking on everyone from politicians and actors to terror victims and missing 13-year-old girls.

Rupe shuttered the venerable NOTW without so much as a sniffle. It was clearly an effort to erect a blast fence to a bombshell that exploded today -- the arrest of a former editor (and former spokesman to Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron) on suspicion of corruption and phone hacking.

It also had a lot to do with the pending decision by British regulators to allow Murdoch to take 100 percent control of British Sky Broadcasting and the bags of cash that represents to his bottom line.

The folding of NOTW, a Sunday-only tabloid, is the essence of cynicism. News International immediately announced plans for the six-day Sun to expand into Sundays. New nameplate, same old dirt.
“It was shocking,” says Sarah Ellison, a Vanity Fair contributing editor covering the story. “But when you think about it for two minutes, it’s purely cynical. It’s a way of sacrificing something Murdoch doesn’t care about to save what he does care about, including Rebekah Brooks , his prized News International editor in London. They seem to be sacrificing lower-level people in order to save the people who are in charge.” Brooks was very much in charge as News of the World editor during much of the misconduct, but it is the paper’s 200 employees who are now losing their jobs.
But it may not be that easy. By entangling Cameron, the scandal could threaten the entire Tory government.

And while the laws and rules are different in the United States, it may just prompt a bit closer scrutiny across the pond at the relationship between Murdoch's right-hand man in the Colonies, Roger Ailes, his Fox News Channel and the Republican Party that Fox News seems to direct with daily talking points.

Shuttering NOTW won't end the controversy. Rather, the blood from the corpse is now in the water and the Murdoch Empire is facing a lot of bad days ahead.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Murdock wanted to show that he got it, was contrite and sincere about not using the practices that he winked at in this case, then the solution would have been to fire those involved, including the entire management, editorial and publishing, and replace them with people with the reputation for high ethical standards. Instead, what he did was punish the hundred of honest workers who depend on it for their livelihoods. Unless, there is some other reason for the closing, and this just provided an easy excuse.

July 08, 2011 10:14 AM  

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