Thursday, July 14, 2011

Schadenfreudegasm: Murdoch Impailed

(Steve Bell)
"Our underlying philosophy is that all media are one."~ Rupert Murdoch

"Rosebud" ~ Charles 'Citizen' Kane
If "all media are one," as Murdo says, then the phone-hacking scandal unraveling in the U.K. will be the common thread ensnaring his entire network around the globe from Sydney to New York. In the same way Charles Kane's world shatters, Murdo's grasp on his empire is slipping at the tender age of 80. Corruption is as corruption does.

It's an absolute joy watching him fall from the heights of his corporate imperium and I'm literally experiencing schadenfreudegasms that are making it hard to get any real work done. In what will likely prove to be the greatest media saga of our time, Murdo has finally succumbed to News Corp's depraved culture, the one he created and fostered.

“We don’t deal in market share. We create the market.” ~ Rupert Murdoch
Murdo's Fox News has created its market by influencing and degrading U.S. political culture to the point where CEO Roger Ailes, once a lackey for President Richard Nixon (remember? he's the only guy ever to resign in disgrace) is now lauded as a "genius." Ailes has wanted to avenge Watergate for years, but now his methods may be catching up to him, too. Criminal is as criminal does. Even the New York Times' Richard Cohen, who writes to defend Murdo, concedes that Fox's "shrill right-wing demagoguery masquerading as news made a significant contribution to the polarization of American politics, the erosion of reasoned debate, the debunking of reason itself, and the ensuing Washington paralysis."

The good news is that a growing number of U.S. senators are calling for action and momentum is building for the SEC and FBI to conduct an investigation into News Corp to determine whether the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act has been violated. Eliot Spitzer thinks so:
"The rampant violations of British law alleged—payments to cops to influence ongoing investigations and the hacking of phones—are sufficient predicates for the Justice Department to investigate. Indeed, the facts as they are emerging are a case study for why the FCPA was enacted. We do not want companies whose headquarters are here—as News Corp.'s is—or that are listed on our financial exchanges—as News Corp. is—polluting the waters of international commerce with illegal behavior. (News Corp. shareholders are also rising against the company, with a huge lawsuit filed Monday in Delaware by three institutional investors claiming that company executives failed to act quickly enough to stop the phone hacking.)"
While I'm inclined to caution against directing any sanctions at the media, News Corp is not that - it's a criminal organization and must be treated as such.

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