More evidence, as if any were needed, that what Fox and the rest of Rupert Murdoch’s right-wing NewsCorp media empire does is not “news,” it’s propaganda:
Fox News stayed mainly silent on the News of the World scandal during prime time Thursday, largely filling its roster of shows with discussions about topics such as the Casey Anthony sentencing and the federal budget. A Fox News spokeswoman did not elaborate on the network’s approach but pointed to coverage as a business story on several news programs.
Earlier this week, Murdoch abruptly euthanized News of the World, a 168-year-old British media institution he purchased in 1969, because its top editors had been accused of approving the hacking of voicemail accounts of terror victims, war veterans and even a 13-year-old murder victim. Hundreds of journalists and other staffers suddenly found themselves unemployed as a result.
On Friday, Andy Coulson, one of those former editors, was arrested “in connection with allegations of corruption and phone hacking,” according to police. Coulson left NotW in 2007 to take a position as chief spin doctor for British Prime Minister David Cameron, a right-wing politician with ties to the Murdoch empire. Coulson resigned from government in January because of his association with the phone hacking scandal. Prime Minister Cameron held a news conference on Friday to deny he was aware of Coulson’s involvement in the scandal, despite alleged evidence to the contrary.
But Fox News apparently finds none of that to be sufficiently newsworthy to report about it online. On Saturday morning, the FoxNews.com homepage, which is chockablock with dozens of headlines to stories on a range of topics from gossip and politics to finance and entertainment, presented no stories about the scandal.
The home page of the New York Times on Friday morning was splashed with stories about the phone-hacking scandal, including a piece about the arrest of a former aide to British Prime Minister David Cameron; an analysis of the Tory government’s connection to News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch; a profile of Rebekah Brooks, the embattled chief executive of News International, Murdoch’s British publishing group; a piece about News of the World staffers; and an article about the public uproar in Britain. Most of the stories were given prominent placement, and they came after multiple front-page print stories over the last several days.
Meanwhile, the home page of the News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal featured one lead story about the ex-Cameron aide, former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, and two less-prominent links, and the Journal put one story about the News of the World on the front page of its print edition. At the Murdoch-owned New York Post, there was no prominent coverage of the scandal on its home page Friday morning, nor on the front page of the newspaper; instead, print coverage was tucked away inside the paper’s business section…
For Murdoch critics, the controversy was a chance to brandish evidence that News Corp. is a partisan and even unethical news organization. Indeed, even the shuttering of the News of the World was seen as a cynical attempt by critics to preserve Murdoch’s takeover bid for British satellite broadcaster BSkyB.
‘We’re pleased this story is becoming news in the U.S. and that attention is being given to a greater pattern of mismanagement and deceit from News Corp. that we’ve been tracking for a long time,” said Ilyse Hogue, a senior advisor at Media Matters, which monitors the media from a left-of-center viewpoint.
Such organizations at the other end of the spectrum have, for their part, lain low. A request for comment Friday from Brent Bozell, Media Matters’ ideological counterpoint at the conservative Media Research Center, was not immediately returned.