As authorities in both the U.S. and U.K. consider investigations against News Corp. for its systematic hacking of phones and e-mail, CEO Rupert Murdoch has spoken little publicly about the allegations. Tom Rouse, a blogger at the UK progressive blog Left Foot Forward, has a flashback to the first time Murdoch avoided scrutiny over the issue.
Back in 2009, when new revelations emerged about hacking under the leadership of former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, Murdoch was set to appear on Fox Business, a News Corp. subsidiary and a sister network of Fox News. Host Stu Varney attempted to ask Murdoch about the latest news on the scandal, but he quickly backed off. As soon as Murdoch heard the question, he instructed Varney to change the subject. Varney, typically a bully towards any guest Fox views as left-leaning, meekly obliged his boss’ request:
VARNEY: The story that is really buzzing all around the country and certainly here in New York is that the News of the World, a News Corporation Newspaper in Britain, used–
MURDOCH: I’m not talking about that issue at all today, I’m sorry.
VARNEY: Okay. No worries, Mr. Chairman that’s fine with me!
Murdoch: I’m too far removed out of here.
A post by Media Matters shows a large disparity between coverage of the scandal on Fox News versus coverage on their rival networks, MSNBC and CNN. During a special web-only Fox News segment, contributor Cal Thomas apparently referenced the network’s reluctance to discuss the hacking when he blurted: “I’m not going to touch it!”
FAIR, a media watchdog based in New York, has noted that Fox News blowhard Bill O’Reilly and host Megyn Kelly had called for federal prosecutions of individuals and news organizations over the hacking of Sarah Palin’s e-mail account. Neither host has used that same standard for News Corp.