Fox's fake news story last week may be about to cost the Murdochs dearly.
Last week, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News ran a story that a senior Democratic National Committee staffer, who was shot dead last month, was the source of the WikiLeaks documents on Hilary Clinton during the Presidential election. The problem is – it was a hard-right conspiracy theory. There was no truth to the story.
And now it’s posing a big headache for Murdoch – a man who is currently trying to take control of Sky in the UK. Why? He’s trying to buy Sky via Fox.
Ofcom are currently assessing whether Murdoch is a ‘fit and proper’ person to have control of a major broadcaster in the UK. Not only that, they have to ensure a Murdoch-controlled network would be committed to accuracy and impartiality. If Fox News are publishing fake news, that looks less likely by the day.
The commitment to ‘accuracy and impartiality’ looks even ropier given serious allegations that Fox News colluded with the Trump administration to put out the lies about the DNC and WikiLeaks – in order to distract from Trump’s own Russia scandal.
Campaigners have told Let Foot Forward that the Seth Rich story is one of the key reasons why the Department for Culture, Media and Sport stepped in this week to tell Ofcom to review all the new evidence.
Avaaz have been joined by Ed Miliband MP and others in threatening to sue the Culture Minister Karen Bradley if she doesn’t step in to try and step the takeover.
This is a letter from Avaaz’s lawyers to the Culture Secretary:
Alaphia Zoyab, senior campaigner at Avaaz, said:
“Fox News is a fake news factory that’s made a joke out of Britain’s broadcasting rules…
“The British government’s first priority should be to protect our democracy from the Murdochs. If the British government does not investigate these scandals before ruling over the Murdochs’ bid for Sky, it could find itself on the wrong end of legal action.”
Rupert Murdoch thought he could get away with taking over Sky if it was through Fox. But Fox News has done the family no service this week.
In fact, when it comes to Murdoch extending his reach into British broadcasting, this may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.