Fox News is coming apart

Roger Ailes, who runs Fox News, is set to be fired by Rupert Murdoch, owner of the network, over charges that he sexually harassed TV journalist Gretchen Carlson.  Megyn Kelly has also said that Ailes harassed her, though other Fox News employees are defending their boss.  In fact, three of the network’s biggest stars–Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Greta Van Susteren–are threatening to quit if Ailes leaves.  This would mean, for better or worse, the end of Fox News as we know it. [Read more…]

Journalists gone wild

Are you following the scandal swirling around media magnate Rupert Murdoch’s empire, which includes The Wall Street Journal and Fox News, just to name two of his American holdings?  It seems reporters from his British tabloid News of the World have been caught hacking into voice mails of celebrities, crime victims, members of the Royal family, and even families of 9/11 victims.  Now investigators have uncovered evidence that reporters have bribed police officers for story tips–leading to the resignation of the head of Scotland Yard, no less–as well as questionable connections to leading politicians, including Prime Minister Cameron.

Murdoch has shut down News of the World, whose editor has been arrested.  Here is the best overview I have found of the whole tangled story:  News International phone hacking scandal – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

And of course some people are hoping that the scandal might pull down Murdoch and his conservative-leaning news outlets, including Fox News, though there seems to be no obvious connections.

First, does anyone know how a reporter could hack into someone else’s phone or voice mail?

Second, does this scandal teach us anything about contemporary journalism?

Not letting Google find your sites

Rupert Murdoch is considering yanking his many news operations–which include Fox News–from being accessed by Google:

Mr. Murdoch said that consumers shouldn’t have had free access to information online that they paid for in other formats.

“I think we’ve been asleep,” he said. “It costs us a lot of money to put together good newspapers and good content. They’re very happy to pay for it when they buy a newspaper, and I think when they read it elsewhere they’re going to have to pay. Not huge sums. You’d be surprised how much can be done, how cheaply, into the average home.”

Echoing accusations of “parasitism” and “kleptomania” that other News Corp. execs have levied against Google for featuring their content on Google sites, Mr. Murdoch said search companies “steal our stories.” News Corp. declined to comment.

Mr. Speers said that those sites argue that they’re helping news outlets, by sending them readers who click the search results. “Isn’t it a two-way street?” he asked.

“They don’t suddenly become loyal readers of our content,” Mr. Murdoch said. “We’d rather have fewer people coming to our Web site but paying.”

“The other argument from Google is that you could choose not to be on their search engine,” Mr. Speers said. “You could simply refuse to be on it, so that when someone does do a search, your Web sites don’t come up. Why haven’t you done that?”

“I think we will,” Mr. Murdoch said. “We do it already, with The Wall Street Journal. We have a wall, but it’s not right to the ceiling. You can get the first paragraph of any story, but if you’re not a paying subscriber to, you get a paragraph and a subscription form.” (Journal articles are currently indexed by search engines and are available for free through Google results. Visitors reach the pay wall only after clicking subsequent articles after the article discovered through search.)

Mr. Murdoch added that News Corp. believes that the fair-use doctrine, which allows for use of copyrighted materials in limited ways such as search results, “could be challenged in the courts and barred altogether.”

He thinks that the courts would do his bidding and eliminate the fair use doctrine? At any rate, does this make sense? Would you pay to access Fox News Online in a special trip to that site? Or would you just go with whatever comes up on Google?