Posted tagged ‘News Corporation’

Business of News – the News Corp Business (and others)

August 18, 2010

"Conflict of Interest Wall"

I started today to write a post about conflicts of interest:  all that business about the News Corporation (as in Rupert Murdoch’s empire and parent company of Fox News) and its $1 million donation to the Republican Governors’ Association–

I started to write about News Corporation’s protest that the donation did not represent a shadow on the “fair and balanced” reporting of Fox News.  News claims any conflict of interest is nullified by the separation in its news division (the subsidiary company that didn’t make the donation) and its business division (the parent company that did make the donation).

This immense separation between the business side of the conglomerate and the news side is apparent even in the corporate name: “News” being one word and “Corporation” being another.

I included (in that not-published post) paraphrased jokes from Going Postal, the wonderful satire by the wonderful Terry Pratchett, in which Mr. Slant, zombie lawyer, explains the “Agatean Wall”, a barrier against abuse arising from conflicts of interest.

“‘How does it work exactly?” asked Vetinari.

“People agree not to do it, my Lord,” said Mr. Slant.

“I’m sorry.  I thought you said there was a wall,” said Lord Vetinari.

“That’s just a name for agreeing not to do it.”

In that post, I had all kinds of witty jokes.

And then, I got too depressed to finish that post.  Because the truth is that few of the people who go to Fox for their news will care about the big Republican donation.  (If they know of it.)

The fact is that news is a business in this country; news organizations have constituencies of consumers;  people tend to prefer reinforcement to challenge; in other words, they don’t mind biases in news, as long as the biases correspond to their own.   Which brings me to the item that kept me from finishing my other post – today’s headline in the New York Daily News (ironically not owned by the News Corporation) which claimed that Obama was supporting the 9/11 Mosque but not health care for 9/11 first responders, the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.  This, in spite of the fact that the Zadroga bill was defeated by Republicans in Congress, not by Obama or the Dems; in spite of the fact too, that Obama has not exactly supported the 9/11 Mosque (that’s been a source of complaint on other fronts) –  he’s supported freedom of religion on private property in accordance with local law.

So this evening Obama has released a statement explicitly saying that he looked forward to signing the Zadroga bill, when passed by Congress.  This, of course, is being touted by the Daily News as its personal victory.   No where does the victory article mention that Republicans have so far killed the bill, not Obama.   (I guess this level and kind of detail would not sell papers, even in NYC .)