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Journalism

Transformation in channels of news delivery and the ascendence of the blogger-reporter raise challenges for citizens and the Republic. The JUST Journalsim Section examines the nascent obligations of those who shape public opinion and purvey "news" in emerging media.

Marty PerlmutterPatricia Mendoza

Tuesday
May222012

Rupert Murdoch: ‘Not a Fit Person’

Martin Perlmutter
May, 2012 

After months of deliberation, Ofcom, the British broadcasting oversight board, submitted a report on the unfolding hacking case. They concluded that Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person” to run a media conglomerate. In so stating they seemed to go beyond the scope of their purview, perhaps adumbrating more severe chastisements that pend – possible loss of broadcast licenses in Britain unless management of News Corp. and its broadcast holdings is radically revised.

In the immediate aftermath of the hacking scandal, they closed the News of the World, Britain’s leading scandal sheet and highest-circulation weekly. James Murdoch resigned the chairmanship of the broadcasting division of News Corp. Some forty individuals in the company and in government were arrested and testimony taken. 

All of this has triggered a round of reflection among journalists concerning what is, and what isn’t, acceptable behavior in pursuit of headlines and stories. Bill Keller of the NY Times took a particularly deep look at the foibles, and mortal sins, of Fox News, as it has continued to pretend to be a “news” outlet while abdicating any moral or practical claim to that stature. In his op-ed, he details his reasoning. It is a piece that any practitioner or aspirant to the Fourth Estate should internalize.

Major criminal and civil consequences continue to unfold. We seem to be only at the late morning of this corrosive but curative process. It will be clarification of the moral strictures of journalism and the mortal consequences of radical deviation therefrom. 

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