NEWS CORP SCANDAL

15Jul11

The scandal rocking England and the News Corporation says many things. It is about arrogance and illegalities in pursuit of sales. It is about high tech and low morals. It has all the elements of a great scandal. Many are enthralled as it enfolds and wonder who will be the ‘collateral damage’. The question I have is simple. So how come so many organs of the News Corp’s seem to be ignoring it or down playing it? Why are the so-called media outlets of the commonsense people, hardly telling us about some rather nasty business in its own house?

The NY Post, Fox News on cable and several other media outlets owned by Rupert Murdoch are not focusing on the story. The Murdoch/conservative apologists are saying “It’s unfair, unnatural, and stupid to insist that News Corp. cover News Corp.” (Washington Post) Actually, that would be true if there weren’t an underlying code of honor in journalism. Journalism strives for the truth. Journalism’s role is to inform the public. That’s what is expected. The fact that these apologists and the media outlets aren’t applying the public’s right to know is an indicator what is so wrong with concentrated media.

Concentrated media holdings stifle competition and allows potentially damaging reports, either by omission or commission to evolve. This scandal now has both. News Corp companies have committed crimes and now News Corp companies are not reporting these crimes. One can only imagine if this scandal was at the door step of the NY Times. Fox News would be there 24/7. They’d be calling for heads to roll all the while gloating about “liberal lack of family values”.

We’ve seen this before in the movies. Back in the 30s Frank Capra’s films were full of tycoons who tried to manipulate the public. In CITIZEN KANE, the two headlines during the Kane election were “Fraud at the Polls” or “Kane Wins” depending on how it suited the owner of the newspaper chain. There are more examples. We have been warned. The power to inform can, and will be subverted for less than honorable reasons.

There are many good reporters at the media outlets in question, but the leaders of News Corporation, and Fox News in particular, have been exposed. They are not ‘fair & balanced’. They are not journalists. They are vain, arrogant, and sometimes biased criminals wrapping themselves in a political philosophy to sell news and ads.

There is an old fisherman’s saying, “The fish stinks from the head.” Simply, it means when a fish starts to rot, the head smells first. Mr. Murdoch it is time to get ahead of this scandal and start lopping off the bad heads. it is time for true journalism to find a home at News Corporation. If not, you’re the smelly head.

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