Don’t pull that thing out unless you plan to bang

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.

54 replies
  1. 1
    rob! says:

    This country would be so better off without FoxNews its not even funny.

    Dare to dream…

  2. 2
    Dave says:

    Its licenses should be pulled.

    Can we leave the regular Fox station and Fox Soccer Channel out of this?

  3. 3
    Han's Solo says:

    Isn’t there some evidence that Elliot Spitzer’s hooker controversy was the result of phone hacking by Fox?

    The media would rally around its sister corporation

    So? Even if that is true, and I’m not sure it is, it would be a HUGE story. And HUGE stories generate huge revenues. The media may have a problem with it; but they would love it like they loved Casey Anthony.

    the entire right-wing echo chamber would go nuts

    Would anyone notice? They are always nuts. They went nuts over the New Black Panther Party and the Ground Zero Mosque. They, the right-wing echo chamber, are the boy who cried wolf.

    there would frankly probably be some kind of domestic terrorism

    .

    What, some wingnut will shoot up a holocaust museum or fly his plane into an IRS building? Yeah, they do that anyway.

  4. 4
    MattF says:

    I’m all for giving News Corp. a whack with a sharp instrument in a sensitive area, but not so sure that Spitzer is the person to do it. But I can think of a better person– name starts with an ‘O’.

  5. 5
    Larry says:

    But if there’s evidence that News Corp. hacked the phones of 9/11 victims, then all bets are off.

    In the mindset of Fox News and those who watch it, people who died on 9/11 aren’t “9/11 victims”. They’re New York elitists. The real 9/11 victims are the people who watched the towers collapse, in endless loops — probably on Fox News.

  6. 6
    Han's Solo says:

    @MattF: I don’t think Obama interjecting himself into this would be a good idea. Let Justice do its thing.

  7. 7
    pk says:

    Americans take on wrongdoing by rich and powerful corporations? Ha! You must be really high this morning DougJ! Don’t you remember our national motto “We have to look forward, not back” and what happened two minutes ago was in the long forgotten past.

  8. 8
    Zifnab says:

    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).

    So… same shit different day?

    When the opposition goes over the top and balls deep fighting you, threatening that they’ll go over the top and balls deep if you fight back rings a bit hollow.

    FOX will keep its media license because A) Dems are perpetually afraid of looking “unfair” and any action against Fox is by its very nature a partisan affair, B) the Dems don’t have the balls to pull the trigger on this anyway, and C) the courts would laugh away any regulatory move.

    If we couldn’t prosecute Bush Co for torture, why on Earth do you think we could revoke Murdoch’s news license?

  9. 9
    catclub says:

    I am reminded of the joys of Fitzmas.

    “But if there’s evidence that News Corp. hacked the phones of 9/11 victims, then all bets are off.”

    “But if there is evidence that the US tortures its prisoners, then all bets are off.” You mean like a Book where Bush admits it?

    It could be nice, but ‘We shall see’ is as optimistic as I can be so far.

  10. 10
    rob! says:

    The real 9/11 victims are the people who watched the towers collapse, in endless loops

    Have you ever seen it when MSNBC runs the 9/11 footage as it happened every year on 9/11? Its really sick and ghoulish to want to relive those moments like that, as if they are happening again now. 9/11 Porn–*shudder*

  11. 11
    MarkJ says:

    If the FCC pulled their license there wouldn’t be much left of the Right Wing Echo Chamber.

  12. 12
    dpcap says:

    Commenters there are already claiming it’s just a political attack.

  13. 13
    Chris says:

    @ Larry,

    In the mindset of Fox News and those who watch it, people who died on 9/11 aren’t “9/11 victims”. They’re New York elitists. The real 9/11 victims are the people who watched the towers collapse, in endless loops—probably on Fox News.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s wrong. Remember their “moral majority” leaders gloating on the night of the attacks that New York had finally been punished for harboring faggots and feminists, Bill O’Reilly insulting victims’ families when they said they were tired of being used for war propaganda, denying health care for 9/11 first responders…

    I had to wait until the “Ground Zero Mosque” freakout nine years after the attack to see them pretend to give a shit about the feelings of those affected by 9/11.

  14. 14
    catclub says:

    ETA for #9 (FYWP) Zifnab beat me to it. By mere milliseconds!

  15. 15
    David Hunt says:

    Would anyone notice? They are always nuts. They went nuts over the New Black Panther Party and the Ground Zero Mosque. They, the right-wing echo chamber, are the boy who cried wolf.

    Oh, we’d notice! Remember, Peak Wingnut is a myth. Wingnut is a fully renewable (and apparently inexhaustable) resource. So far, supply has show boundless abiity to expand to meet demand.

    Or to say it with less Econ jargon, if you think that Fox is nasty now when they’re just trying to destroy everything to the left of David Koch, wait till you see what they’re willing to do when they’re fighting for their continued existence.

  16. 16
    catclub says:

    “MarkJ – July 13, 2011 | 10:19 am · Link

    If the FCC pulled their license there wouldn’t be much left of the Right Wing Echo Chamber.”

    Hahaha. A funny. Can I introduce you to Mr Scaife?

  17. 17
    Napoleon says:

    Wouldn’t any FCC license only apply to their over the air broadcast channels?

  18. 18
    Dennis SGMM says:

    Contrast the handling of the S&L crisis thirty years ago with the handling of the 2008 financial meltdown. Contrast the number of people who were indicted then with the number who were indicted now. I’m not going to hold my breath while waiting for Newscorp to suffer any scrutiny either from the DOJ or from Congress.

  19. 19
    Han's Solo says:

    @David Hunt:

    if you think that Fox is nasty now when they’re just trying to destroy everything to the left of David Koch, wait till you see what they’re willing to do when they’re fighting for their continued existence.

    Sure, they could turn up the nasty, but they already have a reputation as a propaganda outlet. I don’t want to use too much econ jargon either, but they are at the point of diminishing marginal returns.

  20. 20
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    If you haven’t read Hugh Grant’s story in The Statesman, you should.

  21. 21
    David in NY says:

    I can’t stop wondering how right wingers keep knowing about the next scandal involving a Democrat before anyone else does. The scoops don’t first appear in a Murdoch publication, but in some fringe source. Take Spitzer himself, for example. Who knew about his escapades first? The common wisdom is his banks and then the FBI, but that’s not so:

    “Four months before a hooker scandal brought down Eliot Spitzer, controversial Republican operative Roger Stone tipped the FBI to the governor’s penchant for prostitutes. The information Stone provided was very detailed – right down to the calf-length black socks Spitzer allegedly wore while bedding his paid paramours. In a letter sent to the FBI on Nov. 19, Stone alleged that Spitzer “used the service of high-priced call girls” while in Florida.”

    NY Post, March 23, 2008

    I sure like to know how the Post’s buddy Stone got this info, and what the FBI did with his letter. Maybe it’s all a coincidence. Maybe.

    [See also Anthony Weiner. How did some obscure wingnut blogger, “Dan Wolfe,” get on his trail months before anybody else? How did he and Breitbart get the texts? I don’t think anybody actually knows any of this, and it’s gotten lost in all teh sex and teh politics. But it remains a mystery.]

  22. 22
    handsmile says:

    As this volcanic story continues to rock Whitehall and Wapping (NewsCorp’s HQ), it is worth noting that at this very moment in a London courtroom, Julian Assange is appealing his extradition to Sweden on rape allegations.

    It’s a bracing reminder of how justice is deployed within the political/media ecosystem. And that whistleblowers are rarely not treated with derision. A fact not lost I suspect on the host of Murdoch’s former employees. [Excerpt from a comment on an earlier thread]

    Zifnab (#8) re your last sentence and catclub (#9) your first:

    Why must you go and spoil this delicious schadenfreude sundae I was about to consume?! But yeah, I think your peas are what I really should be eating this morning.

  23. 23
    wrb says:

    Not possible. The perfidious distracted us with Arabs then conquered us.

  24. 24
    Scott says:

    Yeah, FCC regulates only over-the-air broadcast, not cable, not newspaper, not Internet. Getting the FCC involved might not touch Fox at all, unless it was their non-news channel that broadcasts “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” and stuff like that…

  25. 25
    Han's Solo says:

    Someone on BJ yesterday said that if News Corp is destroyed during Obama’s time in office that Obama will officially be the best President ever. I kinda agree.

    John Oliver (the daily show) referred to the situation as a schadenfreude-gasm. I kinda agree with that too.

  26. 26
    The Moar You Know says:

    I can’t stop wondering how right wingers keep knowing about the next scandal involving a Democrat before anyone else does.

    I think that if you can put two and two together, you can stop wondering. “The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” was perhaps the most truthful and accurate statement to ever come out of a Clinton’s mouth, and I would bet the deed on my house that said conspiracy has been pulling this trick (and paying off the necessary law enforcement) for a couple of decades now.

  27. 27
    bkny says:

    there’s no way eric holder’s doj will investigate newscorp; but man, there is no way in hell hinky shit isn’t happening on this side — esp with roger ailes at the helm of fox.

  28. 28
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    Murdoch is on the run. He has announced that he is pulling out of the BSkyB takeover.

    This will hurt him. It remains to be seen whether it will actually damage him.

  29. 29
    DougJ in Damascus says:

    They own a lot of local stations, I think that is what this applies to, btw.

  30. 30
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Viva BrisVegas

    It remains to be seen whether it will actually damage him.

    The worst that could happen to Murdoch is that he’ll have to go out to his yacht and sulk for a week or two.

  31. 31
    David in NY says:

    @ The Moar You Know (26) — Sure. But I want to know exactly which laws they’re breaking, and be told by a prosecutor. Somehow, once the sex is out, people lose interest in the initial, and quite important questions. How did they know, and did they find out legally?

    And as to Spitzer, maybe the FBI knew something (though it was George Bush’s FBI at the time).

  32. 32
    catclub says:

    Dennis SGMM @ 30 “The worst that could happen to Murdoch is that he’ll have to go out to his yacht and sulk for a week or two.”

    Wasn’t there some British media mogul who killed himself that way – jumped off the yacht?

    Like I posted elsewhere, we live in hope.

  33. 33
    catclub says:

    David in NY @ 31: There was speculation that the US could not say: “our informant inside the Pakistani government told us where OBL was.” Instead, they said they tracked the cellphone of his courier.

    Of course, it would be even more fun if they HAD tracked him by his courier’s cellphone, but then said that their informant inside the Pakistani government ( ISI) had told them where OBL was! Discord! witch hunts!

  34. 34
    Karen says:

    @The Moar You Know

    “The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” was perhaps the most truthful and accurate statement to ever come out of a Clinton’s mouth

    I worked for the American Enterprise Institute in the late 90s (when they were more “libertarian”)

    I know that there is a vast right wing conspiracy because my job was to send thank you letters to the donors (Scaife gave a lot of money).

  35. 35
    mds says:

    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.

    According to my Foxtard parents, Rupert Murdoch is being persecuted by the English for his conservative truth-telling. So good luck with that.

  36. 36
    Chris says:

    @ catclub,

    Wasn’t there some British media mogul who killed himself that way – jumped off the yacht?

    Yeah, Robert Maxwell, drowned while yachting in the Canary Islands. Sworn enemy of Rupert Murdoch, more redeeming qualities and on our side of the aisle, but still a hell of a crook, I gather.

  37. 37
    Lawnguylander says:

    I think prosecuting Murdoch and/or News Corp. would be a much bigger deal than some people here think. It would have all the elements for an Obama Tyranny mass media storm and they’d have no choice but to milk it. So when I heard rumors that the FBI was investigating News Corp. here, a conspiracy theory started forming in my head right away. The Democrats have had control of the executive branch and various agencies for 2 1/2 years now, time enough to find plenty of evidence of illegality by News Corp. But they’re smart enough to know that going after a media company that’s clearly an enemy of the administration would be portrayed as kicking it Hitler style. Having friends in the UK tie them to all kinds of horrible behavior first provides them some cover. I know that my theory runs headlong into “Obama/the Dems are puss1es” theme, but people don’t end up president and heads of agencies like the CIA without being ruthless to some extent.

  38. 38
    El Cid says:

    I heard that Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez was all oppressive for investigating and shutting down a TV station just because it publicly backed and advocated for an armed coup d’etat!

    That terrible tyrant!

  39. 39
    trollhattan says:

    Fairness Doctrine! With commie sauce and salted nuts, bitchez.

  40. 40
    dianne says:

    I’m not so sure even hacking the 9/11 victims would be enough to get the Justice Dept involved. However, if the politicians were being hacked all these years like they were in Britian, it might just cause enough of an outrage to get something done. Remember all those puzzling about faces from people who seemed so outraged about the various crimes of the Bush years and then the ashen, deer in the headlights look as they recanted?

  41. 41
    NR says:

    The Obama Justice Department? Going after a rich conservative?

    It is to laugh.

  42. 42
    Cain says:

    South Park reference, Dougj? Fingerbang? :-)

  43. 43
    DougJ in Damascus says:

    South Park reference, Dougj?

    No, Outkast, Bombs Over Baghdad.

  44. 44
    Jim Treacher says:

    Oh boy oh boy oh boy, silencing dissent!

  45. 45
    Deborah says:

    I have been listening to this song non-stop all week. Best song ever!!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVyVIsvQoaE

  46. 46
    Nellcote says:

    Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R., Wis.) said he planned to introduce a bill to curb the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, citing complaints by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others that the world’s oldest foreign bribery law leaves too much to the discretion of federal prosecutors.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/corruptio.....fcpa-bill/

  47. 47
    gopher2b says:

    “immediate investigation into News Corp.” and “Prosecuting News Corp.” are not the same thing. I would have a real problem with the US prosecuting a foreigner for bribing a different foreigner.

  48. 48
    DougJ in Damascus says:

    Oh boy oh boy oh boy, silencing dissent!

    I shouldn’t be surprised that someone who had a blog called Teacher Mother, Can I Sleep With Treacher would make light of child abduction and murder.

  49. 49
    Roy G says:

    That’s funny, I always thought FOX would go down when Roger Ailes was caught in bed with a dead girl AND a live boy. Wearing an SS uniform.

  50. 50
    Jim Treacher says:

    I shouldn’t be surprised that someone named DougJ would respond to mockery of his need to shut up his opponents by telling his opponent to shut up.

  51. 51
    DougJ in Damascus says:

    I shouldn’t be surprised that someone named DougJ would respond to mockery of his need to shut up his opponents by telling his opponent to shut up.

    So you don’t deny that you are making light of child abduction and murder?

    Get help.

  52. 52
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I’d be content just to have them banned from the customer waiting area at the tire center.

  53. 53
    Tehanu says:

    But if there’s evidence that News Corp. hacked the phones of 9/11 victims, then all bets are off.

    I wish… but News Corp. woud fight it all the way to the Supreme Court, and they* would just rule the same way they did in the Walmart case: as long as there was no actual written policy telling the employees to hack away, the corp. is off the hook.

    * Or at least, the traitorous scum on the Court who perpetrated Bush v. Gore.

  54. 54
    Jim Treacher says:

    So you don’t deny that you have a deep psychological need to silence your opponents?

    No surprise.

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