Murdoch's U.K. papers have been plagued by phone-hacking allegations, and most U.S. news outlets are all over the story — with a few notable exceptions
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. media empire is in the midst of its biggest scandal ever, involving illegal phone-hacking in the U.K., alleged police bribery, potentially endangering the royal family, and other morsels irresistible to most media organizations. News Corp.'s stock has tanked, and Murdoch has given up his bid to take over British cash-cow broadcaster BSkyB. And yet, the scandal is not headline news at some of News Corp.'s prominent media outlets, including the New York Post and Fox News. (Watch a CNN story below.) Is Fox intentionally downplaying the bad news about its boss?
Yes. And Fox News is embarrassing itself: The network's almost non-existent coverage of this "Watergate-scale" scandal is a real challenge for "anyone who denies that Fox is a propaganda operation rather than news," says James Fallows at The Atlantic. It's not that Fox News and its website are entirely ignoring the bad news, they're just treating it "the way the Soviet press covered Chernobyl: 'Small problem in the Ukraine.'"
"Like Pravda covering Chernobyl: Fox News on the Murdoch problems"
We shouldn't expect Fox to be all over this story: The media obsession over Fox's lack of enthusiasm for this scandal is "total garbage," says Eric Wemple at The Washington Post. "It’s unfair, unnatural, and stupid to insist that News Corp. cover News Corp.," or that any news outlet give full-press coverage to a scandal at its parent company. And that's fine, because despite Murdoch's huge stable of media companies, there are still plenty of competitors thrilled to cover his dirty laundry.
"Why expect Fox to cover News Corp.?"
Fox News should be loving this scandal: This "metastasizing phone-hacking scandal" could be the best thing that ever happened to Fox News and its chief, Roger Ailes, says Gabriel Sherman at New York. As long as Fox and Ailes can avoid being implicated in the mess, they become "all the more central to News Corp.'s business," especially after the fall of the BSkyB deal. And since Ailes has a rocky relationship with Murdoch's inner circle, any pain for them is gain for Ailes.
"In the Murdoch hacking scandal, Roger Ailes stands to gain"
Other stories from this topic:
- Best Column: Britain's tabloid 'hack attack'
- Opinion Brief: 'Phone-hacking' scandal: Rupert Murdoch vs. The New York Times
- Fact Sheet: Will Britain's tabloid phone-hacking scandal sink Rupert Murdoch?
- Roger Ailes