A man named Bob Dilenschneider on Friday became the public face of Fox News’s (quite logical) attempt to soft-pedal the phone-hacking scandal rocking its parent company, News Corp. A PR mogul, Dilenschneider appeared as a guest on “Fox & Friends” and proceeded to downplay the goings-on.
Here’s some of what Dilenschneider said on the set:
Why are so many people piling on at this point? We know it’s a hacking scandal. Shouldn’t we get beyond it and really deal with the issue of hacking? Citicorp has been hacked into. Bank of America has been hacked into. American Express has been hacked into. Insurance companies have been hacked into . . . . So we have to figure out a way to deal with this hacking problem. That’s what we have to do.
Over the weekend, Dilenschneider’s appearance became one of the much-clicked-upon sideshows of the News Corp. story, proof that Fox can always find partners to suppress the ugly truth of the Murdoch way.
This morning the Erik Wemple Blog caught up with Dilenschneider and asked him about his conflation of hacking victims (banks and insurance companies) with alleged perpetrators (News of the World employees). Does he understand how people see him as a hacking bundler?
“I can, after hearing the transcript — yes,” says Dilenschneider.
Even so, Dilenschneider is not giving up on the broader issue: “News Corp. people did the hacking, but that’s a manifestation of the problem,” he told me.
True to his profession’s bedrock guiding principle, Dilenschneider stayed on message about the hacking. He inquired as to my filing status (single, married, etc.). I filled him in and he responded, “I think this is a big issue. I hope somebody doesn’t hack into your kids at school . . . Or hack into your financial records — that wouldn’t be good for you.”
Another theme of Dilenschneider’s “Fox & Friends” segment was that there are “other issues” that merit greater attention. Dilenschneider’s list?
“How about the debt? How about the economy and unemployment? How about the Euro Zone crisis? These are issues that affect the way you and I live,” said Dilenschneider.