We have an opportunity to hold the owner of FOX News accountable before the American people for the detestable standards and practices he promotes as journalism.
Rupert Murdoch has been forced to shut down one of his British papers, News of the World, since it has been revealed that its reporters hacked into the voicemail of politicians, celebrities, British soldiers and even a missing girl who was later found murdered.
This week, it was reported that these practices may have occurred in the US as well. A former New York City police officer claims he was offered money by News of the World journalists to retrieve phone records of 9/11 victims and their families.
News Corporation — a US company — operates FOX News, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post. And if any News Corporation outlets were spying on Americans, we deserve to know.
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The hacking activities at News of the World were not limited to a few rogue reporters, but reflect systematic orchestration from the highest levels of News Corporation — just as we have seen the lies and misinformation agenda of FOX News get handed down from senior management there.
Les Hinton, one of the top News of the World executives at the time of much of these hacking activities, is now the Chief executive of Dow Jones, which publishes the Wall Street Journal. Hinton, who is one of Rupert Murdoch's closest personal confidants, testified in 2007 that the hacking was limited to one reporter. That now appears clearly untrue.
Yesterday, Senator Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said the reported hacking was "a serious breach of journalistic ethics" and called for investigations, but stopped short of saying he would pursue a Congressional investigation.
As this scandal may now impact Americans, and includes executives like Hinton at one of America's largest newspapers, congress owes it to Americans to get to the bottom of this. And given the pattern of abuses at News Corp, Rupert Murdoch himself should be made to testify.
Spying on victims of the worst terrorist attack in our history — to help sell more newspapers, or for any other reason — is totally unconscionable. And if executives knew about these abuses, or implemented similar abuses at other American outlets, they must be held accountable.
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Please conduct an immediate investigation into News Corporation's activities in the US, and make Rupert Murdoch testify before Congress. Staff and executives at News Corp. must be held accountable for any illicit activities — including possibly spying on 9/11 victims.
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