Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has come under some sharp scrutiny in England for one of his newspaper tabloids, News of the World, which hacked thousands of cell phones attempting to gather gossip for their columns.
When Murdoch arrived in England for the paper’s prompt closure, he was met with scorn from previously silent critics as “the tabloid also accessed voicemails left for a kidnapped 13-year-old girl who was later found slain. The relatives of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq may also have had their phones hacked”.
“It’s definitely a seismic moment,” said Julia Hobsbawm, head of Editorial Intelligence, a media analysis firm. “Arguably it’s the moment when the balance of power held by the mythology of Rupert Murdoch will have tipped.”
Rupert Murdoch owns News Corp, which in the US owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, among other properties.
On ABC’s This Week with Christine Amanpour, Court TV’s Steve Brill noted that in FCC law there is a clause that requires owners of television stations to be “of good character” in order to maintain their license to broadcast. Therefore, even though criminality may have only existed at the editorial level, given Murdoch’s oversight of a company where such criminality was able to take place, Brill predicts:
“I am reasonably certain that someone, maybe someone from the political left or whoever, is going to make a big deal of whether [News Corp. is] fit to have their FCC
licenses under the current management.”
In the worst possible scenario, this could mean that Fox News might have their license yanked. But, in all likelihood, if this opportunity gets any traction in the FCC whatsoever, they could only pressure Rupert Murdoch to sell off the television network.
My worst nightmare would be if Murdoch auctioned it off to the highest bidder, and it ended up with George Soros…..