NOTE: I will be on Countdown Tonight at 8 pm ET. You can find a local Current TV channel here. My topic: “Connecting the Dots from News Corp Scandal to the Dangerous Lies of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.”
UK Guardian: If phone hacking had been perpetrated by a liberal news conglomerate, the company would be dead. But the Obama administration doesn’t have the spine to pursue Murdoch.
I love counterfactuals — probably because politics in this country has become so, well, counter factual (see National Journal: “The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones”).
The UK Guardian has an awesome counterfactual — an Obama White House with the spine to go after the metastasizing pathology that is Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Let’s jump into the wormhole that takes us to this exciting alternative universe (where, presumably, we also have a climate bill, but don’t get me started):
What’s not remotely clear at this point, however, is whether the people and organisations who can actually do something to bring the America-based Murdoch empire to heel are paying much attention. I refer mainly to the agencies with subpoena and enforcement power in the federal government, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice.
It will, in fact, surprise me if the authorities working for the Obama administration take this up in a serious way. After all, Obama’s typical approach is to insult his allies while he cozies up to his enemies.
Imagine if the roles in this scandal were reversed. That is, imagine that the perpetrators of the voicemail hacking, apparent bribery of police and who knows what else were part of a liberal news conglomerate while Republicans controlled the White House and at least one house of Congress.
You can bet that a George W Bush administration would respond with savage pleasure. It would use the situation like this to punish its political opponents. One would expect the same from any of the plausible Republican candidates for president in 2012. And Republicans in Congress would be frothing at the mouth to ensure that the company paid dearly for its transgressions.
Indeed, in this parallel universe, the executives of the media company might well have been hauled before courts, congressional committees and grand juries already. And Fox News would be leading the calls for termination of this imaginary company’s broadcasting licenses, which surely would be in jeopardy.
The Obama administration doesn’t seem terribly interested, despite news stories suggesting that an investigation has begun, and his party doesn’t have anything like enough spine to force the issue. The Democrats stand for essentially nothing, as they’ve shown repeatedly in recent years. To be fair, moreover, Washington has other issues on its table – the debt ceiling, for example, which threatens to blow an even bigger hole in the struggling economy.
Well, technically, that’s a parallel universe “ouch.” In this universe, I think we’ve all become inured to such criticism — heck, we dole it out ourselves!
Still, one can always hope for a Star Trek or Fringe (quantum) leap….