Rupert Murdoch is reaping what he sowed. The media magnate's American-based cable network, Fox News, is getting bit in the butt by the sensationalist culture he created. It was funny to see him squirming before Parliament last week, acting like he didn't know anything about folks' phones being hacked. His mainstream media competitors have been lapping it up, covering the scandal 'round the clock as if Murdoch were Casey Anthony.
The story has even taken a twisted, dark turn: One of the whistleblowers in the News Corp. debacle turned up dead of mysterious causes. This makes me a little uneasy about writing this column. Fox News is into some gangster shit.
However, I'm not surprised Murdoch has been getting away with his crap in England and the United States for so many years. The type of scandalous, slanted coverage News Corp. is known for was born and bred in Great Britain. And just like the pilgrims, sleazy journalism migrated to the New World. American tabloids have been doling out cash to sources with scandalous stories about famous people since the turn of the 20th Century or even before. Today you have notorious websites such as Deadspin willing to pay people with incriminating evidence of a celebrity athlete's penis or his voicemails — or maybe trying to court a young, beautiful woman who is not his wife.
The Fourth Amendment is used and abused by American media companies every day. Certainly, our forefathers did not intend freedom of the press to mean the press could buy people off, tap phones, sleep with sources, or do other shady crap that unethical journalists pull off to get a scoop. I certainly agree that anyone who committed a crime in pursuit of a story should go to jail, but the U.S. Justice Department needs to be careful as it begins to criminally investigate Fox News.
As much as the left-wingers want to see Fox News go down, it wouldn't be in President Barack Obama's best interest if that happened. Fox News employs more than 53,000 people. A lot of them are hard-working Americans who will be out of jobs if Murdoch's empire crumbles. The last thing the president needs is more people in the unemployment line.