Connecting the Dots from News Corp Scandal to the Dangerous Lies of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal

Forbes:  “The head of a marketing division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., [Paul] Carlucci once rallied his sales force by showing a film clip from The Untouchables in which Al Capone beats a man to death with a baseball bat.” [Warning:  This video is graphic.]

There is a cancer on the U.S. media.  That cancer is the disinformation machine aimed at spreading and endlessly repeating the most absurd falsehoods on a host of vital issues to the health and well being of Americans.

As Former NY Times Executive Editor Howell Raines put it last year: “Why has our profession … helped Fox legitimize a style of journalism that is dishonest in its intellectual process, untrustworthy in its conclusions and biased in its gestalt?” That was a WashPost op-ed, “Why don’t honest journalists take on Roger Ailes and Fox News?“

The cancer’s most dangerous symptom — the one that will ultimately prove fatal to human civilization and the American way of life as we know it today — is the relentless lies on climate science (see “Foxgate: Leaked email reveals Fox News boss ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science” and “93% of WSJ‘s Climate Op-Eds Misrepresent Science“).

UPDATE:  Joe Nocera, who originally supported the takeover of the WSJ by News Corp, now says “The Journal Becomes Fox-ified“:

Along with the transformation of a great paper into a mediocre one came a change that was both more subtle and more insidious. The political articles grew more and more slanted toward the Republican party line….  [E]ditors inserted the phrase “assault on business” in an article about corporate taxes under President Obama. The Journal was turned into a propaganda vehicle for its owner’s conservative views.

Today, the NY Times published a scathing piece on the cancer that has eaten away at News Corp, which owns Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, whose falsehood-filled editorial page is another key component of the disinformation campaign:

Time and again in the United States and elsewhere, Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation has used blunt force spending to skate past judgment, agreeing to payments to settle legal cases and, undoubtedly more important, silence its critics. In the case of News America Marketing, its obscure but profitable in-store and newspaper insert marketing business, the News Corporation has paid out about $655 million to make embarrassing charges of corporate espionage and anticompetitive behavior go away.

That kind of strategy provides a useful window into the larger corporate culture at a company that is now engulfed by a wildfire burning out of control in London, sparked by the hacking of a murdered young girl’s phone and fed by a steady stream of revelations about seedy, unethical and sometimes criminal behavior at the company’s newspapers.

David Carr, the NYT‘s media critic, diagnoses the spread of the cancer to News Corp operations in America like a board-certified radiologist with shocking news for a patient who apparently thought he was perfectly healthy:

So far, 10 people have been arrested, including, on Sunday, Rebekah Brooks, the head of News International. Les Hinton, who ran News International before her and most recently was the head of Dow Jones, resigned on Friday. Now we are left to wonder whether Mr. Murdoch will be forced to make an Abraham-like sacrifice and abandon his son James, the former heir apparent.

The News Corporation may be hoping that it can get back to business now that some of the responsible parties have been held to account — and that people will see the incident as an aberrant byproduct of the world of British tabloids. But that seems like a stretch. The damage is likely to continue to mount, perhaps because the underlying pathology is hardly restricted to those who have taken the fall.

As Mark Lewis, the lawyer for the family of the murdered girl, Milly Dowler, said after Ms. Brooks resigned, “This is not just about one individual but about the culture of an organization.”

Well put. That organization has used strategic acumen to assemble a vast and lucrative string of media properties, but there is also a long history of rounded-off corners. It has skated on regulatory issues, treated an editorial oversight committee as if it were a potted plant (at The Wall Street Journal), and made common cause with restrictive governments (China) and suspect businesses — all in the relentless pursuit of More. In the process, Mr. Murdoch has always been frank in his impatience with the rules of others.

The whole piece is a must-read, but these paragraphs jump out:

News America was led by Paul V. Carlucci, who, according to Forbes, used to show the sales staff the scene in “The Untouchables” in which Al Capone beats a man to death with a baseball bat. Mr. Emmel testified that Mr. Carlucci was clear about the guiding corporate philosophy.

According to Mr. Emmel’s testimony, Mr. Carlucci said that if there were employees uncomfortable with the company’s philosophy — “bed-wetting liberals in particular was the description he used” Mr. Emmel testified — then he could arrange to have those employees “outplaced from the company.”

“This is not just about one individual but about the culture of an organization.”

Howell Raines’ words from last year resonate today:

Why haven’t America’s old-school news organizations blown the whistle on Roger Ailes, chief of Fox News, for using the network to conduct a propaganda campaign against the Obama administration — a campaign without precedent in our modern political history?

The reason is hardly different than the reason British politicians didn’t seriously investigate News Corp — they were simultaneously too cozy and too intimidated:

For the first time since the yellow journalism of a century ago, the United States has a major news organization devoted to the promotion of one political party….  In a bygone era of fact-based commentary typified, left to right, by my late colleagues Scotty Reston and Bill Safire, these deceptions would have been given their proper label: disinformation….

[Ailes] and his video ferrets have intimidated center-right and center-left journalists into suppressing conclusions — whether on health-care reform or other issues — they once would have stated as demonstrably proven by their reporting.

As for Fox News, lots of people who know better are keeping quiet about what to call it. Its news operation can, in fact, be called many things, but reporters of my generation, with memories and keyboards, dare not call it journalism.

And so the cancer goes untreated.  And that most certainly is how the world as we know it ends, not with a bang but a whimper from the once-vaunted U.S. media.

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Below are older comments from the Facebook commenting system:

Jim Smith

Wow this is worth a read.

July 18 at 1:06pm

Jim Smith

Worth a read that is….

July 18 at 1:06pm


When does Murdoch and the rest of the criminal mafia, starts serving time in jail?

July 18 at 1:21pm


When is Fox News shutdown because of attacking the Unites States foundations of democracy?

July 18 at 1:22pm


News of the World phone hacking whistleblower found dead.

Death of Sean Hoare – who was first named journalist to allege Andy Coulson knew of hacking – not being treated as suspicious.​media/2011/jul/18/news-of-​the-world-sean-hoare

July 18 at 1:25pm


In September last year he was interviewed under caution by police over his claims that the former Tory communications chief asked him to hack into phones when he was editor of the paper, but declined to make any comment.

Hoare emerged back into the spotlight last week, after he told the New York Times that reporters at the News of the World were able to use police technology to locate people using their mobile phone signals in exchange for payments to police officers.

He said journalists were able to use a technique called ‘pinging’ which measured the distance between mobile handsets and a number of phone masts to pinpoint its location.

Hoare gave further details about the use of ‘pinging’ to the Guardian last week. He described how reporters would ask a news desk executive to obtain the location of a target: “Within 15 to 30 minutes someone on the news desk would come back and say ‘right that’s where they are.'”

July 18 at 1:28pm



Tony Blair had three telephone conversations with Rupert Murdoch in the nine days before the start of the Iraq war.​ki/Rupert_Murdoch

July 18 at 1:32pm

Paul Magnus

Hey pk you have live links…….?????

July 18 at 4:58pm


Yes, you need to “Like” enough of your post (like each of your post and at some time you get top commenter status with hyperlinks)

July 18 at 5:34pm

Bob Siebert

I think it would be worthwhile if the FBI were to investigate the possibility that Murdoch — several layers removed, of course — had anything to do with the stolen HadCRUT/Mann emails.

July 18 at 1:34pm

John Tucker

I was thinking the same above – with the disclosed MO it doesn’t seem to be such a stretch.

July 18 at 2:30pm

Mike twotwo

Scotland Yard has been the lead investigator on SwiftHack, and the News Corp scandal. Progress has been slow in both cases. Both cases involve sophisticated theft of electronic information. Both cases involve headline news level material, heavily featured in Murdoch’s media outlets. Both cases have no doubt generated a lot of income for Murdoch’s media outlets.

July 18 at 3:37pm


Actually, it’s now widely believed that the CRU emails were released by a CRU intern in a moment of conscience. He (or she) just couldn’t let things go on any longer as they were without letting the public know about it.

July 18 at 5:34pm

Tori Collins

It’s widely believed among scientists that climate change is real and man made.

July 18 at 8:11pm

Richard Brenne

chsavage94 – Actually, it’s now widely believed that your comment is beyond idiotic. What is the evidence for your claim? Widely believed by who? Why do you support a crime? What other crimes do you support?

You and the other drooling trollers wasting all our time haven’t read any CP posts about this and are responding with no education, evidence, intelligence or wit. Not the slightest evidence of any of these.

We’ve been over this: “Hide the decline” means reconcile the tree ring data, the “trick” was just a similar statistical technique to provide accuracy, not the inaccuracy you and your ignorilk desperately crave. Five credible institutions found no scientist had done anything wrong. Scientists want to see their science move forward, not backward as you do. Nothing was found in 11 years of e-mails that implicated anyone about anything unless taken out of context.

The e-mails were hacked to Swiftboat the Copenhagen Conference and they largely succeeded. Congratulations, you win a dead planet!

July 18 at 8:31pm

David Stockbridge Smith

Another chapter in the modern history of the great plunderers.

July 18 at 2:18pm

Bryan Seigneur

The defining thing about Lenin and his successors’ brand of Communism, was the way that they were so sure of their philosophy that the ends of their revolution justified the means. Great evil was allowed to flourish. American conservatives should recognize the lesson and not let Ailes, Murdoch, Cheney, and others to be their champions.

July 18 at 2:30pm

Rarian Rakista

Conservatives lack the critical thinking skills to make that realization. What the conservative mind will do when he is prosecuted is say that they never really trusted him anyways, even if they did.

July 19 at 1:10am

Bart Laws

Indeed — Murdoch founders on the shoals of phone hacking and police bribery but disseminating an unending stream of lies through his various media properties has earned his operations nothing but respect from the journalistic establishment. That does not appear about to change either.

July 18 at 2:36pm


Here is some more on the announcement by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) that it is investigating an allegation that John Yates helped the daughter of the former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis get a job in the Metropolitan police.​media/blog/2011/jul/18/pho​ne-hacking-scandal-live-co​verage

Not “our” Ipcc…

July 18 at 2:52pm

Mark Ellison

Bob Somerby has been making this point for a dozen years at his blog, The Daily Howler. He has chronicled media’s dereliction of its duty and the corrosive effects it has had on our democracy.

July 18 at 3:03pm

Maurice Bretzfield

I’ll bet that the shredders are working overtime at Fox and WSJ….

July 18 at 3:58pm

Rarian Rakista

I doubt it, destruction of evidence is usually a longer sentence than whatever crime they throw at you.

July 19 at 1:09am

Geoffrey David Henderson

Murdoch has been manipulating his readers and society for a very long time. Finally some detail of how he has done this is emerging. Hopefully it will liberate constructive comment from non-Murdoch media, and honest journalism can lift its head once more. If any good is to come of this business, it would be the emancipation of journalists to pursue their work in a professional level – sorry to those who have been able to do so anyway but are caught by the sheer breadth of Murdochs world.

There may be a problem. A change of editorial philosophy at News Limited that somehow “normalizes” content into acceptable standards will have other repercussions.

Favor enjoyed by certain business sectors because of Murdoch support may now feel abandoned. Certainly a new media standard at Murdoch has a chance of being a cleansing one – if it happens of course. But those industry sectors are powerful indeed. Think oil, finance and others, even media sans Murdoch still wield enormous power. They will react to a new paradigm to try and retain their privilege, and to America’s (and the world’s) detriment.

This forum is about Climate, not politics per se. But the political landscape and thus other landscapes have been influenced and shaped my the press/media worldwide for a very long time.Climate issues, so vital to life as we know it, have clearly been manipulated by media. Now is an opportunity to change the scene. Let us hope that affected countries – US, Australia and Britain will have the courage and vision to change for the better.

July 18 at 4:08pm

Paul Magnus

Can barely bear to listen to this….
On the GW debate in Auz with Monkton…

July 18 at 4:14pm


July 18 at 5:35pm

Paul Magnus

you must feel like a god prok ….

July 18 at 6:09pm

Joe Goodman

So how many of us got on the No Fly Watch List right after the Nov 2004 Election?
Wanna bet a lot of people were phone hacked…and then ended up on the List.

July 18 at 4:26pm

James Powell

Yesterday’s New York Times Week in Review had an article titled, “Drought: A Creeping Disaster.” The author has also written a book about fresh water in the 21st century. His only comment on the possible causes of this summer’s drought is this throwaway line, “Climatologists disagree about what caused this remarkable dry-out.”

July 18 at 4:28pm

David Stockbridge Smith

If the News Corp scandal bleeds over to Fox news, is there any chance it could impact (implicate) the GOP leadership and the powerbrokers behind the party. How widespread is this thing?

July 18 at 4:45pm


IMHO, Rupert Murdoch is a powerful, predatory, psychopath. The evidence was all over Fox News even before this scandal. Selling fear and hatred, fomenting violence, telling any destructive lie, accreting wealth and power. Murdoch has no self-regulation. Please try to avoid buying his “products” (WSJ, Fox, etc.)

OT, but the latest MODIS Arctic mosaic shows many forest fires and a huge pall of smoke over eastern Siberia. Huge even by recent standards.

July 18 at 4:48pm


Aqua Daily Daytime Active Fire Detection (MYD14CRS), Day 2011-199 (07/18/2011)

Ehh what is up with africa?

July 18 at 5:49pm


William Safire was around for plenty of the Fox News era and didn’t label it disinformation. Indeed, he appears to have been quite chummy with Ailes.​ticles/us/rumsfeld_dines_f​ox_news_wallstreet_journaa​l.htm

Of course the point was to bring up a conservative columnist who had integrity, but then there is the problem of thinking of one.

July 18 at 4:56pm

Lauren Samples Bartholomew

This won’t fase those with blind faith in Fox but maybe it will open some eyes.

July 18 at 4:57pm

Daniel Leyva

My fear is tha the widespread campaign of conservative corruption diseminated by the Murdoch Empire, already infected the USA and, because there are many conservatives in power, they could go out of their way to silence everyone.

July 18 at 5:24pm


The “Brain Room” at Fox (the name still cracks me up) currently being plastered over and painted. What Brain Room are you speaking of, asks Roger Ailes.

July 18 at 5:25pm

Tyler Austin

Is there really any doubt that Fox hires private investigators to dig up dirt by any means necessary?
Not to sound to prejudidjed, but based on their normal operating ethics and even the actions their editing department and regular reporters I have zero doubt that this scandal will widen to not only Fox but also the Canadian ‘Sun’ holdings of this company.

July 18 at 5:43pm

Candi Wease

Can we revoke Murdoch’s U.S.citizenship? His ties to this organized crime operation are clear, and he is the Godfather in charge and we all know it. If his citizenship is revoked, it would go a long way to clear up the cancer he is spreading.

July 18 at 6:33pm

Dominique Browning

“And so the cancer goes untreated…” Haunting words, Joe.

Who plays the role of doctor, when the media is the cancer-riddled patient? The media itself? A few journalists might lance a boil, apply leeches, but a full on round of chemo? The WSJ coverage has been flaccid, pathetic. We can hope that in the US some blood-letting will come from the NYTimes. After all, Murdoch vowed to destroy the Times when he bought the WSJ; that’s motivation enough to try extra hard. For the time being, anyway. There’s always hope.

If you really want to get depressed, though, read through the last couple of years of major magazine coverage of Murdoch, since he’s owned the Wall Street Journal. The fact is, when jobs are tight, very few are willing to bite the hand that feeds–or might throw a couple million bones at an institution. Some journalists are simply in awe of power and want to maintain the access to rub up against it.

And because all roads must lead to discussion of climate change, I cannot resist pointing out that the current round of hand-wringing about how Money Has Become Too Powerful is…what? willfully hypocritical? Murdoch uses Fox to lie to the public about climate change. Writers rarely resist a chance to take their act onto that platform–which legitimizes it. And what are we to make of New York’s finest warming the seats at performances of Swan Lake at the David Koch theatre at Lincoln Center? or taking their little ones to the David Koch Hall of Dinosaurs? The denier worms his way into the hearts of our children, for Heaven’s sake. And no one stops him.

So Murdoch buys power and society through media; Koch through philanthropy.

Trollope already wrote the novel…..The Way We Live Now.

July 18 at 7:04pm


Very pertinent points Dominique – the worrying thing is that Murdoch is just the most hideous example of media behaviour. The media tells you pretty much everything you know about what is important in the world – what you should worry about or celebrate. Celebrity, “reality shows”, sex scandals, evil terrorists, the top 10 must have gadgets, what’s in, what’s out, whether to care about the Iraq invasion, whether Climate Change is something potentially bad enough to stop you shopping for a day? That sort of thing.

The NOTW and The Sun in the UK (and others) have been sexist, homophobic, racist warmongers for years and nobody seemed to mind very much. We have major supermarkets, other major retailers and arms dealers cosying up to the government and that’s OK too. Then suddenly, now, shock horror, it’s a problem. How did that happen?

Medialens in the UK, along with many others, have dissected the media relentlessly over the years. Don’t think that with Murdoch in tatters everything is now just fine – have a look at their latest media Alert:

The beacon of light in this miasma of consumerism, irrelevance and militarism are bloggers and indie news and analysis sites on the web. That is where the change will come from and is coming from. Brilliant work Joe!


July 19 at 5:26am

Partisan Pages

Makes me want to vomit!

July 18 at 7:18pm

Alana Bowman

and to think Fox channel comes free with a sub to Sky.

July 18 at 7:34pm

Barbara McClean Meyer

Makes one wonder about Hoare being found dead today..

July 18 at 7:38pm

Glen Etzkorn

when will the bogus fascist koch bros lose their ill gotten wealth and traitorish necks (following conviction for crimes against democracy) get their necks stretched? I want to send rope.

July 18 at 7:46pm

Dennis L. Everson

Wouldn’t it be simply WILD if Fox just….folded….over night?

July 18 at 8:51pm

Buck Brenda

Don’t toy with me, Skippy. I’m fragile.

July 18 at 9:04pm

Lane Attoe

not surprised! pleased to see “fixed news” go under!

July 18 at 9:11pm

Mark Fairchild

Going to be interesting to see how this thing picks up steam here in the U.S- Seems it’s up to the NYT to redeem themselves- whatever the motive. Trying not to get too excited at the thought of me standing outside the Fox building in my Luke Skywalker outfit….. stay in the moment, stay in the moment.

July 18 at 8:58pm

Tim Westwig

oh please please pretty please

July 18 at 9:40pm


Maybe finally there is recognition of the primary source of our unworkable government. The big propaganda media – Fox, Limbaugh, Levin, Savage and a host of copy cats say compromise is treason even though it allows government to function. THEY are the sole reason for the gridlock we see.

These radical right wing propagandists need to be stopped at all costs. Bottom line they are saying the Democratic Party has no legitimate right to govern. Thus, they reject the traditional American two party system. More and more they resemble political forces like the Taliban, or the Chinese – one party rule. Any violation of this needs to be attacked viciously, they believe.

America you better find a way to shut down the radical propaganda media or we can lose our democracy. To some extent we already have by their tacit behavior saying Democrats are an illegitimate Party.

July 18 at 11:42pm

Lea Ann Skogsberg

I majored in journalism because Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein investigated a President and proved he was willing to break the law. Jim and Tammy Baker were exposed by the Charlotte Observer–saving countless older people from being preyed upon for their savings–even though many donors gave before they were revealed as predators. I want journalism to reclaim the values of the 4th Estate. Fox (Fear of X–fill in the blank–News is a cancer. It needs chemotherapy and radiation and to be utterly eradicated–it is pure poison.

July 19 at 12:11am

Cathy Cousins Veal

I majored in journalism too (undergrad) … and have such regard for the icons of the 4th Estate … Woodward and Bernstein, Walter Cronkite, Katharine Graham, Ted Koppel, Charlie Rose, David Broder, David Brinkley. Many (most) of their contemporary imposters pale in comparison, both in terms of substance and ethics.

July 19 at 12:23am

Kevin Anderton

Waterboard Murdoch!

There, I said it.

July 19 at 6:51am

Eric Eckhart

More fun than a barrel of vomit!

July 19 at 7:39am

Tim Bishop

Alas, if Fox folded, what would happen to John Stewart and Stephen Colbert? Of course CNN would gladly fill the void.

July 19 at 8:19am


For real broadcast journalism, tune in sometime to “Alternative Radio”. Here’s a list of US stations http://www.alternativeradi​

July 19 at 11:13am

Terry Moore

Two lost decades due to denier nonsense. You can’t get more toxic than this. T

July 19 at 2:09pm

Rich Republicans are destroying America ,greed is not good

when will people start to learn that faux news is a media machine for the rich republicans agenda ONLY… they are not for the average american.

July 20 at 10:07am

Mindi Cater

Doesn’t anyone besides me think the death of the estranged, whistle-blowing News Corp. reporter is suspicious? I personally believe they have the resources, means and motive to murder anyone who threatens their empire.

July 20 at 6:39pm


Bed-Wetting liberals as opposed to shi*ing their pants lackeys of disinformation.

July 21 at 6:56pm

Mel Haun Sr

It is unbelievable that the hacking from 2006 was allowed to go forward without being investigated. Had that happened, we might have sunk faux noos years ago.

July 22 at 3:12am


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