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There’s no doubt that the News Corp. scandal in the United Kingdom is indeed a scandal. Yet, is it the end of the world for Rupert Murdoch? Is it definitive proof that Murdoch’s media empire is unprincipled, undisciplined and evil? Does it warrant a congressional investigation? Is it the singular event that will bring down Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, as the Left so fervently hopes?
The answer to all of these questions would appear to be “no.” Phone hacking is reprehensible even by the sketchy standards of tabloid journalism, in addition to actually being illegal. But the self-righteous clamor resounding from the Left over a British scandal is several orders of magnitude removed from the story’s importance to American audiences. The Left’s unqualified delight in finding a piece of Murdoch’s media empire caught doing something wrong says a lot more about the way leftists think than it does about News Corp.
The nation is in the midst of a high-stakes struggle over the debt, taxes and spending, but you’d hardly know it from looking at Media Matters for America’s website. The Fox-obsessed recent journalism grads at Media Matters have been foaming at the mouth since the scandal broke: “The DOJ And Congress Need To Get Involved In Murdoch Hacking Scandal,” “Senators: Investigate News Corp.,” “Expert: Hacking May Have Violated U.S. Law.” Those are just some of the headlines featured on Media Matters’ banner as of Sunday night. For Media Matters, as for much of the rest of the Left, this is the most important story in the world.
Even the relatively less delusional Associated Press couldn’t help but pile on. An AP story dated July 17 related the facts of the scandal, as well as much of the speculation, but not before taking a gratuitous swipe at Murdoch’s media empire:
Though the former executive, Rebekah Brooks, and the police chief, Paul Stephenson, have denied wrongdoing, both developments are ominous not only for Murdoch’s News Corp., but for a British power structure that nurtured a cozy relationship with his papers for years.
Overall, mainstream media outlets have had a hard time hiding their glee over Murdoch’s embarrassment. MSNBC declared: “Murdoch Empire Under Threat,” while ABC treated readers to a detailed, none-too-flattering examination of the entire Murdoch clan in a piece entitled “Faces of a Scandal.”
Mainstream media have never understood how or why News Corp. has been so successful, refusing to believe that outlets like Fox News attract viewers because they are more in tune with the American psyche than the other big networks. The leftist narrative declares that nefarious, underhanded tactics have to be the source of Fox’s success and that of other News Corp. outlets. The hacking scandal is the “proof” they’ve been so desperately waiting for; no matter that it involved a now-defunct tabloid that was published in a nation half a world away. We would have never seen this kind of media feeding frenzy had the scandal involved some equally obscure outlet (by American standards) owned by The New York Times or one of the old networks.
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