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.


5 thoughts on “Fox News On Hacking Scandal: Move Along, Nothing To See Here

  1. The UK newspapers are one small set of a single, global newspaper production system which has included the New York Post for many years and now the WSJ.

    140 newspapers share a single production system where all news is shared. So a crime in one newspaper is a crime for all.

    The cancer metaphor is important because, like any multinational corporation, it has an integrated production system. In the case of the newspapers at News Corp, roughly 150 newspapers share a single platform. There is very deep intermingling between newspapers brands, within locations such as Wapping, the news factory for News of The World (and The Sun, The Times etc) and between geographic locations.

    Economies of scale in newspaper production drove the consolidation of newspaper production on a single platform, and the need to syndicate finished stories and rapidly share leads and editorial processes within the corporation and against competitors means there is a very big chance that the NoTW toxic tabloid journalism contagion will spread. The criminal content did not remain isolated in Wapping, instead it would of been spread throughout the 150 newspaper network.

    Cross media would also have ensured the textual content would of been spread into other formats like TV. In Australia FoxTel and Sky, in UK BSkyB, the US Fox.

    News International’s newspapers are a small set of a single, unified, global, newspaper production system. Its integrated principally by the digital pagination and advertising system, which operates on the same software as airlines or banks. Its a real-time market for matching ads to editorial and selling content. There are 140 newspapers around the world ALL sharing the same production system. The printing presses are also part of the system, and KRM has made massive investments in these news factories over the years.

    So, an editor in Australia can see into the news desk of the News of the World and see what is happening! Staff are moved around the empire all the time. Journalists and editors loyal to Murdoch, and prepared to do the dirty work are rewarded and the industrial fuedalism of personal loyalty is very strong.

    In this global news factory network, the cheapest form of content is sleaze, then sport. Next is gossip. Then opinion. In the UK its ok to do all of this, there is a market. In the US, the Republican moral majority does not allow titties on television, but Fox News is built on gossip. Research is expensive and often reveals unwelcome truths for the proprietor or his advertisers. Sleaze, sport, gossip and opinion are cheap and can be used to attack enemies.

    Fox News is tabloid journalism for the TV age. I hate to think what is being done at MySpace.

    It will be hard to contain the criminal liability just to the UK papers when the business and editorial systems are global. 140 newspapers which now includes the WSJ

    Just like the financial systems spread contagion in realtime, so too the toxic journalism and criminal content is automatically syndicated worldwide

    • Very interesting. The former Sr. VP of Fox News, John Moody, is currently in charge of a corporate division whose purpose is to aggregate content across News Corp properties. I wonder how he plays into this.

  2. I’m am so glad you shed some light on this interview. I happened to see it from a cllip on the internet(I never watch Fox not News if I can help it). When I heard this guy talking about how hacking is a terrible problem that must be addressed and that it has happened to government and private industry and therefor is a commonplace issue we must address, it’s as though he wants his audience to believe somehow it was Murdoch who was hacked and victimized. The cases he cites were examples of criminal misconduct against victims of the crime. In the News of the World case, on the other hand, they are the perpatators of these hacking crimes, big difference!!!
    I think the political class in Britian are sick of having to kiss Rupert’s ass and are going to use this to diminish his power as much as possible. The republican party in the U.S. on the other hand will protect him as much as possible to keep their 24/7 propaganda machine aka Fox News going strong.

  3. I haven’t had any luck finding Dilenschneider’s client list, but I wonder if this was a paid appearance on his part. The Fox reporter didn’t indicate any potential conflict of interest, but it’s hard not to guess otherwise.

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