Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington sought to have 27 Fox Television broadcast station licenses revoked in the wake of the UK hacking scandal. With no success from that effort, it is now going after three individual station licenses that are up for renewal.
The stations are Fox WTTG and MNT WDCA in Washington DC, and MNT WUTB in Baltimore.
CREW has been arguing that the scandal demonstrates that Fox parent News Corporation lacks the necessary good character to qualify as an FCC licensee.
“It is well-established that News Corp. has been involved in one of the biggest media scandals of all time. Its reporters hacked voicemails and bribed public officials while top executives – including Rupert Murdoch – either approved the conduct or turned a blind eye,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “To say those responsible are not of good character is a colossal understatement – ‘despicable’ and ‘loathsome’ are more apt. Retaining U.S. broadcast licenses is a privilege, not a right. Based on its egregious actions, News Corp. should lose that privilege.”
CREW noted that in the absence of success from its earlier call to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski for a blanket license revocation, it is using the three-month period between applying for and acquiring a license renewal to file petitions to deny.
CREW cited specific comments made in the UK concerning Rupert Murdoch’s lack of fitness to run an international company, and James Murdoch’s “astonishing lack of curiosity” about the actions of his employees.
Sloan concluded, “It’s clear that both Rupert and James Murdoch were complicit in New Corp.’s illegal activities. If the Murdochs don’t meet British standards of character, they can’t meet American standards. The Atlantic Ocean has no character-cleansing properties.”
Fox declined an RBR-TVBR request for comment on the matter.