PORTSTEWART, Northern Ireland -- "Glee" is not just an American TV show, it is also the emotion many people feel and express toward the trouble Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is having, since they consider Murdoch's properties a blight on their formerly pristine media landscape.
There are two strains running through the phone-hacking scandal that monopolizes much of the media attention in the UK. One is the attitude of the mainstream media types who are frustrated by the success of Murdoch properties, most notably Fox News Channel in America (to which I contribute). They see Murdoch's troubles with the now shuttered News of the World tabloid as an opportunity to destroy the Murdoch empire, which they have been unable to do by competing with it.
The second strain is legal. After the apparent suicide of a former News of the World reporter and unprecedented resignations of high-ranking officers at Scotland Yard, whose allegedly paid connections with News of the World are at the center of parliamentary and police inquiries, Labour and Tory politicians are positioning themselves for major political advantage.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed the Justice Department is looking into allegations that employees of News International, a division of News Corp, hacked, or attempted to hack, into the phones of 9/11 victims. Several Democratic members of Congress and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) have called for such an investigation.
The response to this by the British and American mainstream media reeks of hypocrisy. Whatever one thinks of the morality of paying for news stories, the British press, under Labour and Tory governments, have been doing it for years. Fleet Street was built on cash for gossip. American media are slightly more sophisticated in pursuing "exclusive" stories.
There are other forms of "payment" U.S. media make to politicians -- mostly liberals -- with whom they agree. They repeat the talking points of Democrats or refuse to challenge statements that are factually incorrect. They frequently fawn over people they like and challenge those they don't like. Call it a political version of an "in-kind" contribution.
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