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Posted at 10:16 AM ET, 07/15/2011

Fox News, CNN confront coverage issues on Murdoch’s News International hacking scandal


An awkward moment on Fox News Watch. (Image from YouTube)

(Watch video here.)

The phone hacking scandal plaguing Rupert Murdoch’s News International and the just-closed paper News of the World has been covered extensively by nearly every major news source worldwide. Yet some stations are having a difficult time navigating just how and what to cover.

CNN released a report suggesting the Murdoch-owned channel Fox News has been avoiding the scandal as much as possible. It refers to an awkward moment on “Fox News Watch,” a show which covers the media, in which no correspondent wants to be the one to talk about the scandal first:

CAL THOMAS (Fox News contributor): Anybody want to bring up the subject we’re not talking about today for the — for the [online] streamers?

JAMES PINKERTON (Fox News panelist): Sure. Go ahead, Cal!

THOMAS: No, go ahead, Jim.

[LAUGHTER]

THOMAS: I'm not going to touch it.

JUDY MILLER (Fox News contributor): With a 10-foot [inaudible].

The debate over how often Murdoch-owned news sources report on the story has been a news story itself since the scandal started spilling over earlier this month. Sites are tracking how often the story is brought up by the top news channel. The latest numbers have each top news channel devoting a varied number of segments to the subject. Fox News is at 31, CNN at 109, and MSNBC at 71, according to the Atlantic Wire.

However, CNN is also avoiding one part of the story that hits closer to home for the news channel. CNN primetime host Piers Morgan was once an editor at News of the World, the tabloid at the center of the phone hacking storm, and members of the British parliament want Morgan to testify on what he knows about the hacking practices. That story, however, has yet to appear on CNN. Morgan has talked about his relationship to Murdoch and a spokesman for CNN confirmed to AdAge that the subject had not been raised because Morgan had not been officially summoned to testify.

The Post’s media columnist Eric Wemple wrote Thursday that perhaps neither station should be responsible for covering stories about their own stations. He wrote, “there’s still enough of what the British call “media plurality” to ensure penetrating coverage of the scandal. It’s unfair, unnatural, and stupid to insist that News Corp. cover News Corp.”

Watch the CNN report below:

Sky News, another of Murdoch’s entities, has covered the scandal.

By  |  10:16 AM ET, 07/15/2011

 
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