The Washington Post

Media news derivatives: April 26

In case you missed it---Yesterday at the Leveson inquiry, we learned more about Rupert Murdoch’s business sense, his approach to newspapers and his heavy social calendar. The main point: He never asked a prime minister for anything!

Also: No one delivers a cable TV non sequitur quite the way Michele Bachmann does.


*AJR tells the story behind the Stranger’s Pulitzer win. It’s a good one.

*Rupert Murdoch is continuing his testimony before the Leveson inquiry. The questions are delving more into contemporary issues, like News of the World, phone hacking and so on. Murdoch isn’t looking too happy behind his microphones. At this very moment, inquisitor Robert Jay is half-lecturing, half-asking Murdoch about the “continuum” misconduct — it starts with bad ethics, then moves into action that triggers civil complaints through action that is criminal. He then asks Murdoch whether it’s true that if he were “serious” about “managing wrongdoing itself,” he’d have to take action toward preventing wrongdoing not only at the “most serious end” (criminal stuff) but would have to “instill” a generally ethical environment? Murdoch answers in the affirmative.

*Jack Shafer quite rightly wonders: What on earth is wrong with Murdoch lobbying the British government?

The Guardian, the Telegraph and the New York Times, among others, appear to be appalled by news that the media baron lobbied the UK government aggressively so that he could expand his holdings in the tightly regulated satellite broadcaster BSkyB from 39.1 percent to 100 percent. The Times cites subpoenaed News Corp. emails released by Leveson to show a Murdoch lobbyist working “hand-in-glove” with the office of a government regulator.

Isn’t climbing into the skins of regulators the very definition of lobbying? That’s how I understand it. Hate Murdoch all you want, but if you’re invested in highly regulated businesses like BSkyB and you need government approval to invest deeper in the regulated business, then working “hand-in-glove” with the regulators is exactly what the situation calls for. Should the Murdochs have ignored the regulators as they attempted to increase their holdings in BSkyB? Of course not.

*NewsBusters jumps on the story of SFLTV identifying the employee who’s allegedly responsible for NBC’s terribly edited George Zimmerman recording with an emergency dispatcher.

*More on guests for the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

*Bill O’Reilly hammers Andrea Mitchell for complaining about having to watch two Republican speeches at the same time. Was she complaining about having to watch Republicans or was she complaining about the technical difficulty of taking in two speeches at once? And: watch George Washington University Professor David Rehr virtually assure himself a repeat appearance on the “O’Reilly Factor.” Watch, too, the look on Rehr’s face as O’Reilly calls him an “intelligent man” who teaches “at a fine university.” These are great moments.

*The Former Fox Mole comes up with his best item yet — the tale of how Bill O’Reilly’s interview with ALF came about.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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