NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Senator Jay Rockefeller wants U.S. probe of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation

U.S. Sen­a­tor Jay Rock­e­feller of West Vir­ginia, who chairs the Sen­ate’s Com­mit­tee on Com­merce, Sci­ence, and Trans­porta­tion, called today for the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to inves­ti­gate pos­si­ble wrong­do­ing by Rupert Mur­doch’s News Cor­po­ra­tion (and its many sub­sidiaries) in the Unit­ed States.

Rock­e­feller is among the first elect­ed lead­ers in the Unit­ed States to weigh in on the News of the World phone hack­ing scan­dal, which has revealed that the Aus­tralian media mogul’s U.K. hold­ings have been oper­at­ing for years as a crim­i­nal enter­prise.

“The report­ed hack­ing by News Cor­po­ra­tion news­pa­pers against a range of indi­vid­u­als — includ­ing chil­dren — is offen­sive and a seri­ous breach of jour­nal­is­tic ethics,” Rock­e­feller said in a state­ment released by the com­mit­tee.

“This rais­es seri­ous ques­tions about whether the com­pa­ny has bro­ken U.S. law, and I encour­age the appro­pri­ate agen­cies to inves­ti­gate to ensure that Amer­i­cans have not had their pri­va­cy vio­lat­ed. I am con­cerned that the admit­ted phone hack­ing in Lon­don by the News Corp. may have extend­ed to 911 vic­tims or oth­er Amer­i­cans. If they did, the con­se­quences will be severe.”

Mean­while, over in the Unit­ed King­dom, Par­lia­ment appears set to vote on a sim­ple motion urg­ing News Cor­po­ra­tion to drop its bid for British Sky Broad­cast­ing (pop­u­lar­ly known as BSkyB). The Guardian reports:

Rupert Mur­doch will today face the humil­i­a­tion of the Com­mons issu­ing a unan­i­mous all-par­ty call for his scan­dal-rid­den News Cor­po­ra­tion to with­draw its £8bn bid for BSkyB, the great com­mer­cial prize he has been pur­su­ing to cement his dom­i­nance of the British media land­scape.

In an extra­or­di­nary volte-face, David Cameron will dis­own the media tycoon by lead­ing his par­ty through the lob­bies to urge him to drop the bid. Mur­doch can defy par­lia­ment and press ahead with the bid, prompt­ing a Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion inquiry, but he risks find­ing him­self ostracised by a polit­i­cal class that once scram­bled to bend to his wish­es.

Labour leader Ed Mil­liband released the text of the motion that he and his par­ty want Par­lia­ment to vote on. It is extreme­ly short and reads as fol­lows:

This House believes that it is in the pub­lic inter­est for Rupert Mur­doch and News Cor­po­ra­tion to with­draw their bid for BSkyB.

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