FBI looking into News Corporation, FCC probably not


According to widespread reports, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is opening an investigation into whether or not news operations owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation broke the law attempting to get information about victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

FBI Director Robert Mueller is said to be responding to a request for an investigation that came from House Homeland Security Committee Pete King (R-NY). Several other legislators have been asking for probes of News Corporation by any appropriate authorities.

In the wake of the scandal in the United Kingdom, News Corporation has had to close down its tabloid News of the World, ended its pursuit of the remaining stock in MVPD BSkyB, and has watched its stock take a beating, all in addition to repeated calls for investigations.

Thus far the FCC has not had anything to say about News Corp. and its travails. According to a Politico report, it is considered to be a British problem at the moment, and there really is no point of entry for the FCC to get involved.

RBR-TVBR observation: Nobody wants to be the target of an FBI investigation, but it does not mean that News Corp. has broken any US laws – and even if the FBI presses charges, the company is still innocent until proven guilty. The FCC would be hard pressed to make a case that News Corp. is unfit to hold a broadcast license if it has not been proven guilty of anything, so unless one of the company’s television stations does something egregiously wrong, we would expect that puts the FCC third in line to deal with News Corp., after investigators and the courts.