Is The Murdoch Mob Coming Under FBI Scrutiny?

MurdochalypseAuthor and Rupert Murdoch biographer, Michael Wolff, is reporting that Murdoch and his crime family may be staring down charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act:

“Among the areas that the FBI is said to be looking at in its investigation of News Corp. are charges that one of its subsidiaries, News America Marketing, illegally hacked the computer system of a competitor, Floorgraphics, and then, using the information it had gleaned, tried to extort it into selling out to News Corp.; allegations that relationships the New York Post has maintained with New York City police officers may have involved exchanges of favors and possibly money for information; and accusations that Fox chief Roger Ailes sought to have an executive in the company, the book publisher Judith Regan, lie to investigators about details of her relationship with New York police commissioner Bernie Kerik in order to protect the political interests of Rudy Giuliani, then a presidential prospect.”

Wolff documents the magnitude of the corruption at News Corp that has become so integral to their corporate culture that they don’t even regard what they’re doing as corrupt. Wolff also notes the mechanism by which Murdoch has evaded justice to date:

“…it’s because the fundamental currency of the company has always been reward and punishment. Both the New York Post and Fox News maintain enemy lists. Almost anyone who has directly crossed these organizations, or who has made trouble for their parent company, will have felt the sting here. That sting involves regular taunting and, often, lies.”

No kidding. Fox News, in particular, brazenly lies about their perceived enemies who include pretty much any Democrat. Certainly President Obama has been the frequent target of dishonest attacks. Currently Media Matters is the victim of a sustained campaign that misstates the law in order to challenge their tax-exempt status. And the Fox-led assaults against ACORN, Climate Change, immigrants, and voting rights have all been subject to the fabrication factory run by Murdoch and company.

The RICO statutes may be just the vehicle to rein in these crooks. Here’s hoping that the legal authorities will crack this case and bring the Murdoch Mob to justice.

Fox News Escalates Its War On Media Matters

Fox News has been engaging in a relentless campaign against Media Matters for more than a month. They began in June with allegations that Media Matters had violated their tax-exempt status by factually covering Fox News broadcasts as well as other right-wing media. The Fox campaign included frequent solicitations on the air (more than 30 times) by Fox anchors beseeching their viewers to file complaints with the IRS challenging Media Matters’ non-profit status. Amongst those participating in the onslaught were Bill O’Reilly, Bret Baier, Steve Doocy, Charles Krauthammer, James Rosen, Ann Coulter, Dick Morris, and Bernie Goldberg.

The latest salvos come from two fronts: 1) An official filing of an IRS complaint against Media Matters by a Fox crony (more on that later), and 2) from the Fox Business Network which has just completed a three-part series on the subject.

The arguments presented by Fox Business were pitifully weak and often contradictory. For instance, the article stated that some of Media Matters’ activities were “not found in the scope of nonprofit tax law.” That’s a contorted argument because the tax law was never meant to include every imaginable activity that might occur. There is nothing in the law that says that an exempt organization can provide Italian food during meetings, but that doesn’t mean they are in violation of the law if they send out for pizza.

The article also quoted Marcus Owens, a former IRS official, as saying that his remarks in defense of Media Matters were misconstrued. The only problem with that is that the article itself quoted Owens explicitly defending Media Matters saying that their activities are “generally protected by the first amendment,” and that they are “not going to jeopardize its tax-exempt status.” So the article is disparaging its own source. It further points out that…

“Media Matters says in its tax returns that it has not engaged in political campaign activities or lobbying. But Media Matters has run items that advocate for legislation, which would violate the tax law if it became a substantial part of the nonprofit’s activities.”

And what does the article regard as “substantial?” A single 2004 posting on the Media Matters web site in support of the Fairness Doctrine. That’s it. Compare that to the Media Research Center’s NewsBusters, a conservative mirror image of Media Matters. NewsBusters conducts persistent campaigns including one in opposition to the Fairness Doctrine. They also have campaigns against immigration, George Soros, and in support of the Tea Party. These are not years-old, isolated efforts. They are current and ongoing. Yet Gray has not filed a challenge to the tax-exempt status of the Media Research Center. Or the Heritage Foundation. Or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Or the Tea party’s own Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks.

The remainder of the series consists of an abundance of nonsense. It suggests that having tax-exempt status is equivalent to having a government endorsement. It cites an IRS ruling that “a nonprofit will lose its tax-exempt status if, among other things, a significant portion of its communications consist of viewpoints or positions ‘unsupported by facts.'” Of course, Media Matters is notoriously stringent about providing factual support for everything they post.

In addition to Fox News and Fox Business, the Murdoch propaganda family continued piling on Media Matters with articles on Fox Nation that still retain the first position in their “New Stories” section, despite being more than a month old. The Fox Nationalists posted links to a pre-filled-in form that could be printed out and mailed to the IRS. News Corpse has requested information from the IRS on the volume of complaints, if any, they have been receiving in the past month. That request is still pending. However, it may be safe to surmise that the response of the Fox audience was not particularly impressive, because they had to resort to filing their own complaint indirectly via former George H.W. Bush counsel, C. Boyden Gray.

C. Boyden GrayIn filing this complaint, Both Fox and Gray asserted that they are unaffiliated with one another. Gray insisted that he is not representing Fox and is not on the payroll. What they neglected to disclose is that Gray was previously identified as a both a Fox News Supreme Court Analyst and a Fox News contributor. This puts in doubt their claims to being unaffiliated, and it destroys any pretense of transparency.

Gray’s obviously biased perspective is well represented in the letter he sent to the IRS. The core of his complaint is the allegation that Media Matters has “declared war” on a television news channel [Fox News]. Of course the truth is that Fox News had long before declared war on Media Matters. Consequently, Media Matters may just be regarded as defending itself from a powerful, international, media megalith.

Gray’s complaint began with a claim that “Media Matters’s efforts to harm Fox News are intended to weaken the Republican Party.” Gray offers no support whatsoever for that claim. The truth is that Media Matters is merely attempting to demonstrate the bias on the part of Fox News for the GOP. And despite Gray’s charge, every example he cites of Media Matters allegedly attacking Republicans actually show that they are reporting on what others in the media are saying about the party.

Gray also makes a rather incoherent argument that the IRS is somehow violating the free speech rights of Fox News by granting Media Matters tax exempt status. The tortured case he makes seems to be that such status somehow punishes Fox News. Suffice to say that he never explains how, or establishes that Fox News’ rights have been violated in any way.

But the height of Gray’s Inanity is his contention that Media Matters has embarked on an “unsupportable attempt to tie Fox News to the Republican Party.” However, tying Fox News to the Republican Party is about as difficult as tying your shoelaces. The support is overwhelming and includes surveys that show the extreme imbalance of Republicans to Democrats on Fox News. It includes the rampant utilization of talking points directly from GOP sources on one program after another throughout the broadcast day. It includes memos from executive editors directing their anchors and reporters to frame stories favorably to right. It includes the overt hostility and racism that Fox Nation publishes repeatedly.

Setting all of that aside for the moment, it would interesting to hear how Gray would reconcile his assertion that Media Matters is trying to “weaken the Republican Party,” with his assertion that any attempt to tie the party to Fox News is “unsupportable.” If the party and Fox News are unconnected, then how could one be harmed by attacking the other? Gray’s arguments are an endless loop of contradiction. They can’t both be true.

Given a full examination, Gray’s complaint to the IRS is amateurish blather. He fails to prove a single point in his letter. But he does manage to prove that Fox News, and the Murdoch-led News Corp, is a deceitful and unethical enterprise for endeavoring to partner with Gray on this puerile exercise. they are exhibiting their proclivity for bullying their perceived enemies and using their media perch to smear those with whom they disagree. They are a criminal enterprise and should be treated as such. Hopefully the investigations just getting underway will put these gangsters where they belong.

Fox Nation vs. Reality: On Palin Bus Tour

This is a prime example of why political parody has become so difficult. The subjects of satire are too good at making themselves look stupid without any help. What does that leave for those of us who satirize them? Check out Fox Nation’s article on a planned mid-August bus tour by President Obama:

Obama Bus Tour

Really? Please note the “Obama 08″ poster on Fox Nation’s photo proving that Obama obviously used buses before Sarah Palin did. Seriously, it’s their own photo. Yet Fox implies that Palin invented the political bus tour? Are they daft? (Don’t answer that). Palin didn’t even come up with an original name for her road trip. She copied the name, “One Nation,” from the progressive and union movement that held a rally in Washington, D.C., last October.

I think that the Fox Nationalists are actually pretty close to the truth this time. They just left out a small detail. Palin didn’t invent the political bus tour, she invented the “aborted” political bus tour. As we know, the cross-country trip that Palin planned (and is still promoting on her SarahPac web site) lasted all of six days and never made it past New Hampshire. Then she blatantly lied when asked about why the tour came to a screeching halt:

Palin: “Imagine our surprise when reading media reports today that the ‘One Nation Tour’ has been cancelled…The coming weeks are tight because civic duty calls (like most everyone else, even former governors get called up for jury duty) and I look forward to doing my part just like every other Alaskan.”

The only problem is that, unlike every other Alaskan, she never showed up for jury duty. In fact, she wasn’t even in Alaska. A few days after making her jury excuse for quitting the bus tour, she turned up at the debut of her crockumentary, “The Undefeated,” in Pella, Iowa. Incidentally, the film was a rip-roaring failure at the boxoffice and is already heading to video and the discount bins at WalMart.

Sarah Palin is a pitiful joke. The only thing she’s running for is the bank to deposit the cash she cons out of glassy-eyed fans who somehow find something coherent in her word jumbles. And the only way Obama could be charged with copying Palin on this is if he rolls into a handful of towns and then jets back to Camp David for some R&R.

Fox Nation vs. Reality: On Labor Day

The fact checkers at Fox Nation are a notoriously incompetent crew. Today they are featuring an item that references an article at RealClearPolitics about Sarah Palin scheduling an appearance in Iowa on Labor Day. However, the Fox Nationalists don’t seem to know what holiday is celebrated on September 5:

Sarah Palin

This error is particularly conspicuous given that there was nothing in the RealClearPolitics article about Memorial Day. In fact, they cited Labor Day very near the top of the column. There could not have been any mix-up as a result of a transposition. Fox Nation’s editors are wholly responsible for a mistake born of ignorance.

Or was it a mistake? Fox has been castigating America’s workers for years. They characterize them as thugs, leeches, and loafers looking for handouts. Is it really so surprising that Fox would seek to suppress recognition for a holiday that celebrates working people?

Furthermore, Fox may not want to have associated their star political analyst with a day honoring Labor. Palin will be keynoting a Tea Party affair in Iowa and Fox surely wouldn’t want to confuse readers by insinuating that the event had anything to do with those socialists who work for a living. Palin’s reputation is damaged enough as it is by having been the subject of one of the biggest film flops this year.

Try as they might, Fox News cannot do away with Labor Day. They can only insult workers by pretending that it doesn’t exist.

The Dilemma For Fox News

The news is not cooperating with Fox News. The major stories of the day are presenting the network with a unique programming dilemma. They can’t report on the biggest stories because they either involve Fox News or are contrary to their ideological bias.

News CorpThe biggest media story in decades concerns Fox’s parent company, News Corp, which is embroiled in a phone hacking and police corruption scandal. They certainly can’t report on that in much detail. They ignored it completely for the first week or two. When they did begin to cover it they downplayed the story and defended their Dear Leader, Rupert Murdoch.

GOP Debt Ceiling VotesThen there is the congressional debt ceiling debate. The most recent developments in that story involve GOP House Speaker John Boehner walking out of the negotiations and getting dressed down by President Obama. The public is fairly unified in opposing the GOP position that favors tax cuts for the wealthy and entitlement cuts for everyone else. That’s gonna be tough for Fox to cover.

Terrorism via Fox NewsThen there is the terrorism in Norway. Even though Fox began coverage of this story by assuming, without evidence, that the suspect was a Muslim with ties to Al Qaeda, it turns out that he is, in fact, a Christian right-winger with anti-Muslim views. Does this mean that Rep. Peter King (R-NY) will chair new hearings into Christian extremism? Would Fox cover that?

It’s so bad for Fox that they can’t even cover the weather. The record-breaking heat wave could be construed by many as proof of Global Warming. At least that’s the same logic Fox used when snowstorms were cited as evidence that Climate Change was a big hoax.

Fox News Heat Wave

What does that leave for Fox to cover. If somebody doesn’t kidnap a pretty white girl soon, Fox may have to go dark. Perhaps that’s what Hannity and Geraldo are planning this weekend. Of course, they could always hack into some famous people’s cell phones and see if there is any news there that doesn’t make the network look bad. Barring that, they could switch to a shopping channel schedule and peddle gold coins and legal services for mesothemiola sufferers.

I can pretty much assure you that Roger Ailes and company are praying for an earthquake in Venezuela or a pornographic Tweet from Barney Frank.

Is MSNBC Serious About Competing With Fox News?

When Keith Olbermann abruptly departed from MSNBC the network’s schedule was thrust into chaos. Lawrence O’Donnell was moved up two hours. Ed Schultz went from early evening to 10:00pm. Schultz’s old slot was a menagerie that eventually settled on Cenk Uygur for nearly six months.

All of this turmoil occurred at the same time that Glenn Beck was slated for an early termination of his contract at Fox News. That made much of the Fox schedule vulnerable as Beck’s audience formed the foundation for the evening news hour and primetime. So what did MSNBC do to take advantage of this opening?

Nothing – nothing at all. Their schedule barely budged. There were no new face outside of the 6:00pm slot that Schultz vacated, and even those were often familiar faces on the network. This was the best opportunity for MSNBC to challenge Fox during a period of weakness and MSNBC slept through it.

Now MSNBC is compounding their mistakes by (reportedly) replacing Uygur with Rev. Al Sharpton. The circumstances of Uygur’s departure are disturbing, but that’s a subject for another article. While Sharpton can be an aggressive advocate for lefty issues, he is hardly the banner carrier for progressive journalism. With a background predominantly in civil rights and social activism, his lack of experience in broadcasting does not portend well for MSNBC. His areas of expertise are rather narrow and he can come off as bombastic and rigid.

The purpose of a news and public affairs network is the same as any other network – attracting and appealing to viewers. Additionally, a news network must seek to inform and stimulate dialogue. Thus, having a journalist with broadcast experience in the anchor chair gives the program a significantly better shot at success.

MSNBC already has people on the payroll who fit the bill, and also expand the diversity of the roster, which is sorely needed. However, even some members of the National Association of Black Journalists are reticent about Sharpton. Instead, MSNBC should consider someone like Joe Madison, a long-time radio host based in Washington, D.C. with a record of success on the air and in the streets. Another attractive candidate would be Melissa Harris-Perry, a professor of political science at Tulane University and a frequent guest on Rachel Maddow’s program.

Maddow presently has the highest ratings on MSNBC. That makes someone like Harris-Parry particularly compelling. A black woman with intelligence, insight, and personality could reproduce at 6:00pm the success Maddow has in primetime.

Ideally MSNBC could significantly strengthen their lineup by pitting Joe Madison against Fox’s lame Glenn Beck replacement “The Five.” Then give Hardball a single airing at 6:00pm, followed by Harris-Parry at 7:00. Leave primetime in tact with O’Donnell, Maddow, and Schultz (although I wouldn’t mind seeing Schultz replaced by someone like Chris Hayes or – don’t laugh – Anthony Weiner, an articulate, passionate progressive who didn’t really do anything that should forever disqualify him from public service).

If MSNBC is serious about competing with Fox News, they need to consider more dynamic solutions. Al Sharpton is never going to beat Bret Baier. And without a stronger leadin, the primetime schedule is unnecessarily hampered. The network has come close to Fox in important demographic ratings and they could put Fox away if they act now while Fox is wobbly and their management is being investigated internationally. The travails of Rupert Murdoch and company will make it difficult for them to concentrate on issues other than staying out of jail. MSNBC should capitalize on that distraction. The question is: Is MSNBC really serious about competing with Fox News?

News Of The World Whistleblower Found Dead

Now we have our first official “News Corpse”: The man who first raised allegations about hacking at the News Of The World, has been found dead. Via The Guardian

“Sean Hoare, the former News of the World showbiz reporter who was the first named journalist to allege Andy Coulson was aware of phone hacking by his staff, has been found dead, the Guardian has learned.”

The Guardian reports that “The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing.” The Guardian goes on to report that Hoare…

“…told the [New York Times] that not only did Coulson know of the phone hacking, but that he actively encouraged his staff to intercept the phone calls of celebrities in the pursuit of exclusives.

“In a subsequent interview with the BBC he alleged that he was personally asked by his then-editor, Coulson, to tap into phones. In an interview with the PM programme he said Coulson’s insistence that he didn’t know about the practice was ‘a lie, it is simply a lie.'”

This is, first and foremost, a tragedy for the Hoare family. But the significance to the ongoing scandal cannot be dismissed. Stay tuned because, as Hoare himself had once said, “There’s more to come. This is not going to go away.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Tone-Deaf Defense Of Murdochalypse

MurdochalypsePerhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, but Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal has published a self-serving op-ed that seeks to separate itself from the travails of its corporate parent, News Corp. The Journal argues that anyone who thinks there is any carryover from the UK scandal is overreaching. Never mind that the head of the Journal’s Dow Jones division, Les Hinton, was carried over to the states from his British perch at News International and has already resigned as a result of his association with the disgraced enterprise.

The op-ed takes a decidedly arrogant approach in suggesting that they, for some unexplained reason, are above it all and should not be tarnished. They regard the whole affair as a legal matter that is limited to the UK and that the real problem is the malfeasance of Scotland Yard for not properly investigating the crimes involved. The Journal’s editorial conveniently leaves out any mention that part of the problem with the police investigation is that they were on the receiving end of bribes from News Corp.

The only thing more grating than their arrogance is their victimehood. Apparently the only controversy is that the rest of the media world is ganging up on the long-suffering Wall Streeters and their bosses:

“It is also worth noting the irony of so much moral outrage devoted to a single media company, when British tabloids have been known for decades for buying scoops and digging up dirt on the famous. Fleet Street in general has long had a well-earned global reputation for the blind-quote, single-sourced story that may or may not be true.”

It’s not only Fleet Street. The “blind-quote, single-sourced story that may or may not be true,” is the standard operating procedure for Fox News. But why is the Journal so surprised about the moral outrage devoted to News Corp when it, so far, is the only party accused of hacking into people’s phones? And it is the only party, so far, accused of bribing the police for dirt on the famous. By the way, that is very different than the practice of “buying scoops” from private sources that the Journal is attempting to conflate with paying off the police.

The obvious attempt to muddy the discussion continues when the Journal addresses the critical of issue of relationships between politicians and the press:

“The British politicians now bemoaning media influence over politics are also the same statesmen who have long coveted media support. The idea that the BBC and the Guardian newspaper aren’t attempting to influence public affairs, and don’t skew their coverage to do so, can’t stand a day’s scrutiny.”

Here is where the op-ed deliberately tries to steer away from the real problem. Even if we were to concede that the BBC and the Guardian seek to influence public affairs through their coverage, the activities that are being “bemoanded” are those where News Corp seeks influence through intimidation and/or alliance with politicians, not via their reporting (which, of course, they do as well).

Next we see the editorial take another stab at victimhood with an unusual kicker aimed at a favorite bogeyman of News Corp, Julian Assange.

“We also trust that readers can see through the commercial and ideological motives of our competitor-critics. The Schadenfreude is so thick you can’t cut it with a chainsaw. Especially redolent are lectures about journalistic standards from publications that give Julian Assange and WikiLeaks their moral imprimatur.”

First of all, I don’t know of any mainstream news organization that has given WikiLeaks their moral imprimatur. For the most part Assange has been roundly castigated and, so far as Fox News is concerned, he is regarded as a traitor who should face a firing squad. But the Journal is being stunningly hypocritical in that they themselves have adopted the Wikileaks model in an attempt to emulate its success. That is the express mission of the Journal’s Safehouse web site. Unfortunately, there is nothing safe about Safehouse, which does little to protect one’s anonymity. So unless you have some perverse desire to be ratted out, arrested, or sued, stay as far away from this un-Safehouse as possible.

Finally, the Journal launches into a defense of allegations that the U.S. could prosecute News Corp under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. But somehow they spin off such a prospect into an attack on their First Amendment rights. The implication is that any prosecution of a media entity for any crime whatsoever violates the Constitution. That’s a rather broad reading. The Journal complains that…

“Applying this standard to British tabloids could turn payments made as part of traditional news-gathering into criminal acts. The Wall Street Journal doesn’t pay sources for information, but the practice is common elsewhere in the press, including in the U.S.”

Is the Journal asserting that payoffs to police officials is an act of “traditional news-gathering?” In most places that’s a violation of law enforcement ethics and it is the reason that the commissioner of Scotland Yard resigned yesterday.

Moreover, the Journal’s closing argument is that the pursuit of criminal activity on the part of the press has, in the past, netted individuals who were not initially suspects. The example given in the editorial is that of Robert Novak who had participated in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. The Journal notes that others, including reporters at the New York Times, were swept up in the scandal. So What? That’s wonderful! Is the Journal suggesting that the press should keep its collective mouths shut because they might get drawn in themselves? That would be the duty of an honest, ethical press. Report the news – the truth – regardless of self-interest.

It’s as if the Journal is threatening its rivals to stay out of this mud fight lest they get dirty themselves. Really? That’s their defense?

Murdochalypse: Ruse Of The World

It’s too bad that Rupert Murdoch shut down the News of the World. If there were ever a time that it was needed, it’s now. The NotW’s specialty was sordid, scandalous, misbehavior by important persons and institutions. The fall of the House of Murdoch fits neatly in that mold: A billionaire media baron brought down by flagrant violations of law and morality. Numerous arrests and resignations. Billions of dollars in asset value evaporated. Just imagine how the NotW would have covered this story:

Murdochalypse

Today Murdoch’s British newspapers published his personal apology. It is reprinted below. Be sure to hover your mouse over each line for a translation from Murdochese to English.

We are sorry.

The News of the World was in the business of holding others to account. It failed when it came to itself.

We are sorry for the serious wrongdoing that occurred. We are deeply sorry for the hurt suffered by the individuals affected.

We regret not acting faster to sort things out. I realise that simply apologising is not enough.

Our business was founded on the idea that a free and open press should be a positive force in society. We need to live up to this.

In the coming days, as we take further concrete steps to resolve these issues and make amends for the damage they have caused, you will hear more from us.

The campaign to rescue Murdoch’s reputation, and that of his company, is in full swing. Yesterday Fox and Friends interviewed a former Nixon flack who tried to paper over the controversy as trivial and commonplace. Today on Fox News Watch, embarrassed by criticism for having avoided the subject completely last week, held a discussion that primarily castigated other media for over-reporting the scandal.

Murdoch himself is shacking up with lawyers and PR consultants this weekend in advance of his inquisition before Parliament next Tuesday. They will likely be advising him on how best to disguise his repugnant nature.

In addition, facets of the British government are edging closer to a hard line on media reform. The Liberal Democratic Party has requested an inquiry by regulators that could result in forcing Murdoch to divest his stake in BSkyB. Ed Miliband, the Labour Party leader, is calling for the News Corp empire to be broken up:

“I think that we’ve got to look at the situation whereby one person can own more than 20% of the newspaper market, the Sky platform and Sky News,” Miliband said. “I think it’s unhealthy because that amount of power in one person’s hands has clearly led to abuses of power within his organisation. If you want to minimise the abuses of power then that kind of concentration of power is frankly quite dangerous.”

Well said. We need more politicians in the U.S. with that sort of courage. It’s reminiscent Howard Dean, who said while campaigning in 2003 that he favored breaking up the big media conglomerates:

“I would say there is too much penetration by single corporations in media markets all over this country.”

And look what the media did to him. Meanwhile it was disclosed that the Conservative Party’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, met with Murdoch, his son James, and Rebekah Brooks, 26 times since he took office in May 2010. That’s once every other week. So at least we have some political consistency here in that conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic are equally devoid of ethics.

[UPDATE] Rebekah Brooks, who just two days ago resigned as CEO of Murdoch’s News International, has been arrested. Who’s next?

Fox News On Hacking Scandal: Move Along, Nothing To See Here

This morning on Fox and Friends, Steve Doocy interviewed PR flack Bob Dilenschneider in an attempt to whitewash the devastating scandal that has been roiling News Corp, the parent company of Doocy’s employer, Fox News. The discussion was strikingly self-serving, hypocritical, and dishonest. It began with Doocy asking Dilenschneider this question:

Doocy: What do you make of what…this particular hacking scandal with the News of the World?
Dilenschneider: Well, the News of the World is a hacking scandal, it can’t be denied, but the issue is why are so many people piling on at this point? We know it’s a hacking scandal, shouldn’t we really get beyond it and deal with the issue of hacking?

Rupert MurdochOf course! Move along people. Nothing to see here. Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers were caught hacking into the phones of politicians, celebrities, murdered schoolgirls, and victims of terrorist attacks, but that’s no reason to dwell on on it for a week or two. To continue this inquiry is just more “piling on.” Especially since we don’t even know the depth to which this scandal will eventually sink. After all, Murdoch has shut down his largest circulation paper in the UK, canceled his planned takeover of BSkyB (his largest attempted acquisition ever), and accepted the resignations of his top executives at News International and Dow Jones (the parent company of the Wall Street Journal). Surely that’s proof of how unimportant this is. Shut up already.

Dilenschneider goes on to equate incidents of hacking that took place at industry and government sites with the News Corp affair. This is an awkward effort to conflate the victims of industrial hacking with the victimizers and criminals at News Corp. Then Doocy offers this bit of commentary:

Doocy: The company’s come forward and they said, “look, this happened a long time ago – at a tabloid – in London.” Somebody did something really bad and the company reacted. They closed that newspaper. All those people got fired. Even though 99% of them absolutely had nothing to do with it.

Exactly! They fired a bunch of people who had nothing to do with it. What more do you want? And it was just a tabloid, so that hardly matters. But most importantly, it was a long time ago, so drop it already. Dilenschneider told Doocy that it was “a decade ago,” which is not true. The hacking was about six years ago and was effectively covered up. However, the most recent and disturbing revelations just came out a couple of weeks ago and are still coming out by the hour. You don’t see Fox News hammering away at old stories like that, do you?. Well, except for their highly coordinated attack on Media Matters which they have been pushing for three weeks. Doocy and his Fox and Friends pals have not let up on it for even one day. They even have an article on Fox Nation telling readers how to file a complaint with the IRS which they keep bumping up to the top of the “New Stories” list despite its non-newness.

Bob Dilenschneider, it should be noted, is a celebrated PR flack and crisis consultant. He specializes in rescuing the reputations of scoundrels. He is well known for working on the rehabilitation of Richard Nixon’s image post-Watergate. And he was the spokesman for Lou Dobbs as Dobbs was being pummeled for his anti-immigrant rantings.

In this matter Dilenschneider is conducting a textbook resuscitation procedure for News Corp and Murdoch. He tries to change the subject to unrelated incidents of hacking. He insists that his clients have done “all the right things,” despite having issued false reports and engaging in a steady drip of resignations. He declares that there are more important problems for people to focus on and should therefore ignore this one. In short, who cares, look away, we’re innocent.

He’s got his work cut out for him. Luckily, he also has the Fox News platform to implement his campaign of diversion and disinformation. Expect Fox to behave like a wounded mama bear. They are likely to strike out at someone or something in order to divert attention from their own nefarious dealings. Don’t be surprised if Fox News reports this weekend that President Obama was caught sacrificing children to Lucifer.