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Fox News Parent NewsCorp May Face Corruption Investigation 145

Posted by timothy
from the semi-absolute-power dept.
rtfa-troll writes "The Guardian reports that News Corporation may face FCPA investigations after an 'official of the British ministry of defence' was charged 'for allegedly receiving £100,000 from Murdoch's tabloid newspapers.' News Corporation, headed by Rupert Murdoch, is loved by most of the readers of Slashdot as the owner of Fox News and as the company which put the overly complicated paywall on the Wall Street Journal. The article states that the charges 'would be hard for the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission to ignore and would warrant investigation under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which could lead to risks for 27 TV licences within the Fox network.'"
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Fox News Parent NewsCorp May Face Corruption Investigation

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  • by 3seas (184403) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @06:25PM (#42069339) Journal

    You know who is not going to be covering this story.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @06:30PM (#42069377)

      You know who is not going to be covering this story.

      I was hoping it was going to be /. but that bubble has already burst.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @06:36PM (#42069429)

      Of course Fox News will cover the story!

      But they will begin every sentence with, "The lib'rul biased media says that..."

    • by jd2112 (1535857) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @07:28PM (#42069751)

      You know who is not going to be covering this story.

      You know who is not going to be covering this story.

      They will cover it, but put so much spin on it that it will make Murdoch look like the victim.

      • They will cover it, but put so much spin on it that it will make Murdoch look like the victim.

        So you mean... just like every other story they cover?

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          What? Bribes are the free market at work. Murdoch is just an entrepruner tring to give jobs to the unwashed masses, and the government is persecuting him for doing so in a free-market way.
          • by Myopic (18616) * on Friday November 23, 2012 @12:10PM (#42074755)

            I know you meant you comment as a jest but I don't want to skip an opportunity to point out that you are literally correct. A free market is a market with zero regulations - zero. In such a market you could buy or sell anything without limitation, certainly including political influence. That is one more illustration why markets are good, free markets are bad. Reasonable adults discuss which regulations are worth their cost and don't blather about how regulations are always bad, which is what it means to advocate for "free" markets.

            • When does "political influence" become a "bribe?"
            • by AK Marc (707885)
              A "Free market" (in the economic definition, not the libertarian definition where they use studies in the economic term to support the unrelated "unregulated market", but for some reasons, the liars refuse to use the correct term "unregulated market" and instead deliberately misuse a technical term "free market") *requires* massive regulation. Why? Because, in practice, the actors in a free market have an interested in breaking the rules that govern a free market.
              • by Myopic (18616) *

                "the rules that govern a free market"

                We aren't talking about the same thing. A free market is a market specifically without any regulations [wikipedia.org] (which is another word for "regulation").

                The real problem is that MOST people think of "free market" as a "transparent, competitive" market, but those qualities aren't at all a part of a free market. In reality, it is (light, carefully considered) regulation which produces transparency and competition. So most people want transparent competitive markets but then vote fo

        • by jd2112 (1535857)

          They will cover it, but put so much spin on it that it will make Murdoch look like the victim.

          So you mean... just like every other story they cover?

          Yep, pretty much.

      • Well, to a businessman, he *does* look like the victim. He's not, but he looks like it, because the FCPA basically makes the company responsible for every bribe one of their employees pays to get something done. This results in many companies greatly curtailing the business they do overseas, especially in countries where bribery is the rule rather than the exception. I'm sure it costs the US billions every year--effectively, a price of morality. As it turns out, most businesses are more concerned about

      • by Myopic (18616) *

        You mistakenly phrased your sentence in the future tense. You should have phrased it in past tense [youtube.com].

    • by guttentag (313541) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @07:36PM (#42069797) Journal

      You know who is not going to be covering this story.

      Oh, Fox will cover it... Via The Simpsons. There is a provision in the contract that specifies the Fox network may not interfere with the show's content. And it results in awkward things being broadcast by Fox, like this (from Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]):

      The Simpsons also often includes self-referential humor. The most common form is jokes about Fox Broadcasting. For example, the episode "She Used to Be My Girl" included a scene in which a Fox News Channel van drove down the street while displaying a large "Bush Cheney 2004" banner and playing Queen's "We Are the Champions", in reference to the 2004 presidential election.

      I'm sure many slashdotters could cite even more awkward examples of The Simpsons poking the Fox bear.

    • You know who is not going to be covering this story.

      Sure they will. And they will "balance" it out with data and rationale completely in-line with their original defensive statement.

      Very rarely have I seen the news "balanced" with something that completely disproves the topic being presented; it would make all news null. People still believe that there is such a thing and that it works, however.

    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      Corruption?!? Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulation. That's Milton Friedman, and he got a goddamn Nobel prize...

      -Syriana

    • Haven't read TFA yet - but it says "may face" corruption charges in the title. Meaning, if Rupert can apply enough pressure and cash at strategic points, the charges are going to disappear. That will probably take all of his pocket change though, and he may have to do without a few gourmet meals. It would sure be rough if he had to eat plain old filet mignon, like some commoner!

    • Oh, this is sweet!! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Friday November 23, 2012 @12:59AM (#42071365) Homepage Journal

      http://www.citizensforethics.org/legal-filings/entry/crew-petition-fcc-deny-renewal-news-corp-fox-broadcast-licenses-murdoch [citizensforethics.org]

      Washington, D.C. – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), asking the agency to deny renewal of three broadcast licenses held by Fox television stations. Because their licenses are set to expire in October, two Fox stations in Washington, D.C. and one in Baltimore – which are wholly owned subsidiaries of News Corp. – filed to renew the licenses this past June.

      CREW is objecting to the renewals because under U.S. law, broadcast frequencies may be used only by people of good “character,” who will serve “the public interest,” and speak with “candor.” Significant character deficiencies may warrant disqualification from holding a license.

      • by CRC'99 (96526)

        CREW is objecting to the renewals because under U.S. law, broadcast frequencies may be used only by people of good “character,” who will serve “the public interest,” and speak with “candor.” Significant character deficiencies may warrant disqualification from holding a license.

        Now this is gold. Especially if they reference the lovely 'phone hacking' scandal in the UK as ammo of how shitty this corporation is....

        • by sumdumass (711423)

          Nah. No matter how you look at it, they are only vicariously connected which means the people in charge of the stations- even the parent corps can comply with those traits. That's the entire purpose of a corporation, to separate the acts from the owners who took no part in them.

  • Mr Murdoch will be able to buy his way out of trouble, if not, I'm sure he has something on anyone with something to lose.
    • Re:Rupert will ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Thursday November 22, 2012 @06:29PM (#42069365)

      Mr Murdoch will be able to buy his way out of trouble...

      If you mean pay huge fines that are still less than his yearly caviar tab, and then continue on "business as usual", then yes you are correct...

      • by deskjet (2766693)

        If you mean pay huge fines that are still less than his yearly caviar tab, and then continue on "business as usual", then yes you are correct...

        No not really, more contributions and the like, he already has a track record of paying out to officials, why stop now?

    • Mr Murdoch will be able to buy his way out of trouble, if not, I'm sure he has something on anyone with something to lose.

      How much do you think he'll pay Dice, uh I'm sorry, Slashdot, to make this story disappear?

  • by rockiams (12481)

    Yeah, what he said....I don't watch Fox News, but it seems if they are as crooked as it has been reported, will they even report on this? And if they do, I wonder how they will spin it..."Liberal lefty media trying to discredit Fox again!"

    • Have you met anyone who watches Fox News regularly? They can tell those people anything. I'm not even sure "spin" is needed, straight propaganda is sufficient. Just say to their viewers "Rupert is being persecuted by the liberal media, he's innocent. This is the spin-free report you won't find on those other networks." Their viewers will not question it.
      • Have you met anyone who watches Fox News regularly?

        My father. *hangs head in shame*

        Needless to say, I avoid all political discussions with him lest it devolve into me trying (and failing) to convince him that Obama isn't an anti-semitic Muslim socialist who will destroy America with his horrible liberalism.

    • It'd be "trying to discredit Murdoch again". The Fox that this story is talking about is related corporately, but otherwise is disconnected to, Fox News. It is hated by many people on Slashdot though, not because of any rightist anti-science bias (it's a relatively apolitical channel, and people like Matt Goering and Seth MacFarlane do, actually, use their 30 minutes a week to occasionally poke at the right-wing) but because it cancelled their favorite show. Normally that's "Firefly", but occasionally it's

  • The FCC has no control over fox news on sat / cable.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Am I misreading something? Where was the FCC mentioned?

      1) The FCC has no jurisdiction over what goes on in the UK
      2) Fox doesn't JUST broadcast on cable and satellite. Fox has a number of affiliates, and they rebroadcast Fox news programs and contribute to local news programming.

      • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @06:58PM (#42069609)

        yeah, you were misreading (or not reading) TFA:

        The latest legal difficulties to hit News Corporation could also potentially have ramifications on its 27 TV licences within the Fox network â" the real financial heart of the operation. Three of the licences are up for renewal, and in August the ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (Crew) filed a petition with the US broadcasting regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, that called for them to be denied on the grounds that the company did not have the requisite character to run a public service.

        The FCC is being asked to deny renewal for 3 of the 27 Fox licences. Whatever regulates the sat/cable industry might be asked to consider if Fox is a reputable enough company to own a licence to broadcast - the UK has such requirements, and I can't really believe the US has a totally deregulated media industry (a corrupt one, maybe).

        Anyway, keep your eyes open, this time next week the Leveson Inquiry publishes its report [telegraph.co.uk] into News Corp.

        • So an incident in a subsidiary branch 6000 miles away from the US should induce major headaches for a US-based organization at the hands of the US government.

          Well, if it's good enough to tear down all of Acorn over one jackass office...

          Alternatively...

          • by AK Marc (707885) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @08:05PM (#42069963)

            So an incident in a subsidiary branch 6000 miles away from the US should induce major headaches for a US-based organization at the hands of the US government.

            That's what often happens. For one, foriegn bribes are illegal in the US. That is to say, if a fooreign subsidiary uses bribery, it is a crime (under US law) that can be charged against the parent company. That's why one company I worked for with more than 30 foreign subsidiaries had very very liberal expense accounting. You were expected to pay for bribes yourself, then charge them back as "dinner" or such, no receipt needed, and unprosecutable as far as the feds are concerned.

            It was a requirement of doing business, as some countries require bribes. One specific example would have a US analog of:

            What would you do if the Elbonia TSA made you pay $5 to get your laptop bin back at the security check? They are government employees, so slipping them $5 for your laptop would be a federal crime in the USA.

            So yeah, if he gets convicted of bribery in the UK, then his company is on the hook for breaking the foreign corrupt practices act, and should lose all US licenses.

            Why do you want to reward people who break the rules, so long as they break them creatively enough to satisfy you?

            • One, your accounting gimmick doesn't shield you from prosecution. It MAY make prosecution more difficult, but the company - and you personally - are absolutely criminally liable for paying the bribe, no matter how you attempt to obfuscate it. All you need is affirmative knowledge of an intent to influence an official's duties with some sort of compensation.

              Whether the FCPA covers your example of paying to get your laptop back out of the bin is less clear. There's actually a case or two going through the

              • by AK Marc (707885)

                There's actually a case or two going through the system now that will define who, exactly, counts as a "foreign official", specifically, does every employee of a government count as a foreign official?

                The current definition is that anyone paid by a foreign government or employed in a government facility or capacity is a foreign official.

                What they need is an official US recognition that some governments *require* bribes for regular daily operation. For example, I worked somewhere that had equipment in a place with security guards that were off duty cops (government officials under the current definition) and they extracted extra money by refusing entry without a fee. You either pay it, or you don't wor

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Um.... of course? If subsidiaries didn't count, they you could just spin off a subsidiary to do your bribes for you and you'd be safe. In fact, companies would go further and spin EVERYTHING off into subsidiaries and only keep the top execs in the main company, Then they could have their companies do anything and be isolated from legal responsibility.

            • by gbjbaanb (229885)

              and to prove your point, just consider tax legislation, and how companies create subsidiaries to manage this.

          • Rupert Murdoch personally paid off celebs in the UK, for them to NOT bring charges against the companies he owned there. It's not an "incident in a subsidiary" company. Rupert was directly involved. Rupert made the decision that it was cheaper to pay people off, then to continue with "business as usual". Rupert did NOT direct his underlings and cronies to stop breaking the law - he paid off, and gave his tacit consent to keep on keeping on.

            Not to mention that your geography isn't real good. 6000 miles?

        • I kinda think that you're the one who is missing something. The FCC does have authority over SOME of Fox's news outlets. Television stations, specifically. Shutting down some TV stations won't stop Fox spewing their poison over cable, or internet, but it will shut down those three television stations.

      • Yep, you're missing pretty much everything.

        - A US company is not allowed to bribe foreign officials as a matter of US criminal law.
        - News Corporation's British "news" papers, The Sun and The News of the World, bribed UK policemen, violating that US law
        - The FCC doesn't allow entities that violate the law criminally to own TV broadcast networks. Hence the purpose of this story.
        - Fox News, which is what the GP was talking about, is not a TV broadcast network. So no, it's not at issue here, like the GP s

    • by riverat1 (1048260)

      If you had even read the /. post you would have noticed that they're talking about the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act [wikipedia.org] being involved. Nothing about the FCC.

  • If fox get's pulled what happens to the NFL games?

    Will they have to open NFL Sunday ticket with no black outs and free for all? and get the out local feeds to cable as well.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @10:21PM (#42070637) Homepage Journal

      If fox get's pulled what happens to the NFL games?

      There will be a bidding war.

      Don't worry, you're not going to miss anything if Fox disappears, except perhaps the singular experience of seeing Karl Rove shit his pants on live TV when the network declared Barack Obama re-elected.

      And if you think maybe I'm being hyperbolic with the "shit-his-pants" description, it means you missed what happened on Fox when the election was called for the President. You could smell the fear-sweat through the TV screen when he realized he was going to have to tell a bunch of sociopath billionaires that they bought exactly nothing for the shipping containers full of money they gave to Rove on the promise that they'd get their own white president to own.

  • For those of us who have played Illuminati, http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/28/illuminati-deluxe-edition [boardgamegeek.com] what we are seeing here is a further attempt by certain powers to destroy the visible power group 'News Corp'. The attack has been declared; we're now seeing the money being spent before the dice is rolled. We've already seen one successful attack to destroy - the News of the World newspaper in the UK. Will this attack be successful - or it might merely be to neutralise, leaving News Corp in play
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I enjoy Illuminati! and own the deluxe boxed set, but I think INWO is a better model. So the question is, who is attacking to destroy newscorp with the aid of the United States and Big Media?

  • "Only a hundred thousand? Come on, you can do better than that."
    • by c0lo (1497653)
      Better put... not only Faux New is corrupt, it's a scrooge as well.
    • by grcumb (781340)

      "Only a hundred thousand? Come on, you can do better than that."

      Well, to be fair, that UK pounds, and a hundred thousand of those are worth about 42 billion US dollars now....

      (Give or take.)

  • by cvtan (752695) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @06:42PM (#42069471)
    No, wait, I'm shocked, SHOCKED I tell you!
  • Loved? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by fahrbot-bot (874524)

    Rupert Murdock, is loathed by most of the readers of Slashdot as the owner of Fox News and as the company which put the overly complicated paywall on the Wall Street Journal.

    FTFY

  • Their ratings are in the toilet.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Fox (Bill O'Reiley) has actually been covering this for several months now.

  • Looks like they didn't pay off the RIGHT officials in the US...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    After reading TFA, I see only two opinions being used for the basis of the article, and neither of them appear to have anything to do with the headline of the /. post.

    "Mike Koehler, professor of law at Southern Illinois school of law and author of the blog fcaprofessor.com, said the charges "would be hard for the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission to ignore. We have been hearing allegations for a year and a half now, now we clearly have charges against high ranking officials at

    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @07:50PM (#42069885) Journal

      The fact remains that if a US company is convicted of bribing officials in a foreign country, that company can be prosecuted under domestic law. Whether NewsCorp will be or not is another question, but there have been strong hints dropped since the case really exploded in Britain that US authorities are carefully watching what happens in Britain.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        They don't need a foreign conviction to trigger an FCPA proceeding here. They can have a trial here independent of overseas proceedings, just like the Lacey Act.

    • by AK Marc (707885)

      "Melanie Sloan, Crew's director, said the charges of the four former News International employees played into its petition. 'News Corp argues that the conduct in Britain shouldn't matter here in the US, but the Atlantic ocean doesn't have cleansing properties – if Murdoch is seen to be unfit to run a global company in the UK, then he's unfit in this country, too.'"

      Not to mention that acting illegally in foreign countries is often a US crime as well, even if you discount it as indicative of systemic lawlessness. See foreign corrupt practices act

    • Fox News isn't affected by this case. I'd also add that I doubt the FCC will take action unless and until News Corp is taken to court and convicted in the US.

    • by Shavano (2541114)

      Ms. Sloan's organization (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington - CREW) tends to go after conservative politicians (are they more corrupt than liberal politicians? I think it's about equal...) and receives the majority of their funding from liberal sources.

      (Wikpedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_for_Responsibility_and_Ethics_in_Washington [wikipedia.org])

      Regardless of where they get their funding, they are going after both Democrats and Republicans according to their corrupt practices.

  • by guttentag (313541) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @08:03PM (#42069953) Journal
    Here's the PDF [3cdn.net] of the petition to deny News Corp's renewal of TV broadcasting licenses in the DC and Baltimore markets, based on its behavior in the UK.
  • by jsepeta (412566) on Friday November 23, 2012 @03:03AM (#42071799) Homepage
    Fox owns the House, which is controlled by the GOP, so don't expect a full investigation stateside.
  • He's just sold a big tranche of shares in News International
  • IGN Parent NewsCorp May Face Corruption Investigation.
    Hulu co-owner NewsCorp...
    WSJ Parent NewsCorp...
    (Any of nearly 100 papers in Australia) Owner NewsCorp...
    Dow Jones Parent NewsCorp...
    Harper Collins Parent NewsCorp...
    National Rugby League Owner NewsCorp...

    I don't want to sound like I'm giving a pass to Fox News. But Fox News isn't bad because of what NewsCorp does, Fox News is bad because their content is shitty.
    (This subtle distinction allows us to say, for example, that the WSJ, however shitty it is, is

It's a naive, domestic operating system without any breeding, but I think you'll be amused by its presumption.

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