Perhaps there is a God, after all

UK prosecution threatens Murdoch’s U.S. broadcast licenses.

UK prosecutors are targeting the British branch of the Murdoch empire as a corporate defendant both for phone hacking and for systematic payoffs to police. A conviction could mean the loss of Fox’s U.S. broadcast licenses.

The destruction of Fox News would certainly be good for the country. It might even be good for the Republican Party. Any conservative who wants to challenge the principle that a criminal enterprise shouldn’t be allowed to hold great political power may be my guest.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

12 thoughts on “Perhaps there is a God, after all”

  1. “A conviction could mean the loss of Fox’s U.S. broadcast licenses.”

    And George Bush and Dick Cheney both being Texan could mean that their candidacy for P&VP might be denied, two legalistically correct assertions far too beautiful and fragile for our corrupt world. Or in other words, AS IF.

    1. Doubtful. Old Scratch might be looking collect from Rupert personally but surely he wouldn’t jeopardize the Murdoch media empire. It must count as one of his greatest achievements of the modern era and surely a source of immense influence for him in the earthly realm. Maybe it’s time for Rupert to pay what he owes but Scratch isn’t about to let any harm befall Fox News.

      1. My speculations from a year ago here about the coming Murdoch funeral games. Since they were mainly fact-free, the only update needed is Rupert´s recent divorce from Wendi, which will have little impact on the managerial control of the empire. Satan may reason that there´s nothing he can do to save Fox News for the Dark Side.

  2. Do not doubt for a picosecond that the Murdoch empire and their facilitators here would let that happen. No what will happen is that the US operations will sever their connection to the UK as quickly as the next-to-last man on an alpine rope lead will cut the line when the last man is falling into a crevasse.

    If the FCC were to even think about revoking Fox’s license, there would be such a gargantuan eruption of the Right Wing Noise Machine as to make Whitewater and Benghazi-IRS-Obamacare_Etc -Gates look like sedate High School Debate Club matches…

    1. They’ve already severed the connection – the former News Corporation spun off the print operations as “News Corp” and changed its name to “21st Century Fox” back in June. Both companies are still controlled by Murdoch, of course.

  3. Note that even the linked-to story doesn’t know what “licenses” (in quotes like that in the story) are involved. If any, I imagine those would have to do with the local stations that News Corp owns, which need broadcast licenses, not Fox News as such, which (AFAIK) does not.

    1. No, a network doesn’t need a license. But it’s not financially viable without local licensees. The linked story reports that News Corp. is arguing that charging the company criminally will destroy the enterprise. From their mouths to God’s ears.

      1. But the Fox NEWS network doesn’t run on those local stations at all — it just uses cable, like CNN, which owns no TV stations at all. The Fox TV network is what would be affected. I see that News Corp owns about 20 of the network’s stations, which is indeed higher than the other 3 networks — ABC makes do with only 8. Also, if Fox TV is actually subsidizing Fox News there would be more impact.

      2. Mark, you are surely confusing Fox with Fox News?
        In principle Fox could lose its licenses with whatever consequences (presumably Family Guy, New Girl, The Mindy Project, etc, after some initial negotiations would move to a greatly expanded The CW).

        But Fox News is a separate creature, of cable, not broadcast. And let’s be realistic here, Even if we discover malfeasance in Fox News itself, not some parent or affiliate corp, what would happen is what you would expect. Fox News as a corp and a brand disappears, maybe even a few execs go to prison, but all the pieces, Terminator 2 style, would separate then flow together a month later to create a new cable TV news station: “The Truth” or some similar Orwellian name.

  4. There is neither God nor justice in contemporary America. They were driven from our shores long ago, if indeed they were ever here at all. If there is one thing I’ve learned about this country in my more than twenty years before the bar, it is this: Nobody important ever really pays. There might be a minor sacrifice or two if the mob really begins to howl, but Murdoch and his minions will be fine.

  5. Any conservative who wants to challenge the principle that a criminal enterprise shouldn’t be allowed to hold great political power may be my guest.

    Libertarian more than conservative, but I’ll take the challenge.

    I think that illegalities in gathering news that the government would like to keep secret are a qualification, not a disqualification, for being a reliable provider of information about the government’s workings. (And I would hope that “provides reliable information about the world” would lead to significant political power.)

    In other words–by the standards the British are applying to News Corp, the NY Times is a criminal enterprise.

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