Eliot Spitzer says the DOJ should investigate News Corp.:
[I]t is hard to believe that the misbehavior in Murdoch’s media empire stopped at the water’s edge. Given the frequency with which he shuttled his senior executives and editors across the various oceans—Pacific as well as Atlantic—it is unlikely that the shoddy ethics were limited to Great Britain.
Much more importantly, the facts already pretty well established in Britain indicate violations of American law, in particular a law called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The Justice Department has been going out of its way to undertake FCPA prosecutions and investigations in recent years, and the News Corp. case presents a pretty simple test for Attorney General Eric Holder: If the department fails to open an immediate investigation into News Corp.’s violations of the FCPA, there will have been a major breach of enforcement at Justice. Having failed to pursue Wall Street with any apparent vigor, this is an opportunity for the Justice Department to show it can flex its muscles at the right moment. While one must always be cautious in seeking government investigation of the media for the obvious First Amendment concerns, this is not actually an investigation of the media, but an investigation of criminal acts undertaken by those masquerading as members of the media.
If DoJ does investigate and if a court were to find News Corp. liable, the penalties should extend beyond the traditional monetary fine. News Corp. should also have its FCC licenses revoked. Licensure and relicensure by the FCC require that the licensee abide by the law and serve the public interest. News Corp. appears to have blatantly violated this basic standard. Its licenses should be pulled.
Prosecuting News Corp. and stripping it of its tv licenses would be a bold move indeed. And without evidence of something juicy having taken place stateside, it would be very treacherous politically. The media would rally around its sister corporation, the entire right-wing echo chamber would go nuts, there would frankly probably be some kind of domestic terrorism (which the media would insist was unrelated to the fact that Fox hosts were encouraging it).
But if there’s evidence that News Corp. hacked the phones of 9/11 victims, then all bets are off. Even then, it may not be a slam dunk. But if the Brits have the guts to drive a stake through the heart of their de facto ruler, maybe Americans can take on Murdoch too.