Yesterday on Fox News, a subsidiary of News Corp, Issa responded to those calls by claiming that (1) the Justice Department is investigating the matter so he doesn’t need to, (2) it is not his responsibility to look into an issue that occurred “in another country,” and (3) the “most inappropriate” course of action would be “picking on media”:
ISSA: Well, thank you for being fair and balanced. [...] This is being looked at by the Justice Department. This is being looked at by the Senate, and we’re keeping and eye on it. But at the same time, this is a story about a unit in another country, and we want to make sure we don’t enter the ground that is most inappropriate for us, which is we don’t start picking on media whether they’re the left or the right just because we can.
Issa’s claims are laughable for several reasons. First, just because the Justice Department is already probing an issue never precludes the House Oversight Committee, charged with investigating matters in the interest of the American people, from conducting its own inquiry. Second, the 9/11 victims allegedly hacked by News Corp employees was not a foreign matter, as Issa said on Fox News. According to reports, the victims were living in the United States — making the concern all the more important for the Oversight Committee. And the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which News Corp allegedly broke by bribing British police, makes the matter a concern of American authorities. News Corp is also embroiled in another hacking scandal, one involving its American marketing division and its domestic competitors.
Finally, Issa says he would not want to investigate the many criminal accusations against News Corp because the company consists of media outlets, and Congress should never be “picking” on media. In reality, Issa has used his taxpayer-funded media team to harass the New York Times with largely empty charges of inaccuracy. News Corp has aided in the campaign, airing segments attacking the Times for criticizing Issa.
The view that media outlets are above the law led to a crime spree in the UK. Politicians, under pressure from News Corp and threats of smear campaigns by its many newspapers, refused to take on the company as News Corp’s tabloids continued to recklessly hack celebrities, dead children, and political adversaries alike. Given News Corp’s growing control over American media, scrutiny over serious accusations of hacking is all the more important.
Last year, when I interviewed Issa concerning a separate News Corp issue, Issa suggested that he trusts News Corp because he personally “know[s] Rupert Murdoch.”