Why the next News Corp. scandal may be harder to understand and much more important | Capital New York
The first is an ad hominem attack: Bitter, angry competitors looking for reasons to explain how they lost out to News Corp. are either deluding themselves into lodging frivolous claims or intentionally seeking revenge against Murdoch. That is: Don’t believe any of it because, look who is saying it.
The second is an “old news” attack: Rival companies have brought these kinds of claims forth before, and failed in the courts. That is: Don’t believe any of it, because it’s already been investigated and there is nothing at the end of the road here.
The third is just bluster: We’ve got a lot of dirt on other broadcasters, too, so watch out; we’ll be out with it soon. That is: Don’t believe it because soon many of these claims will be withdrawn under pressure.
All three are familiar to anyone who was obsessed enough with the hacking scandal to have been following it years ago when it began, and before it blew up in Murdoch’s face. It’s a cycle. An accusation meets with a denial, followed by litigation and/or investigation, followed by acquittal, followed by litigation and/or investigation into corruption, cover-ups or payoffs in the original litigation and/or investigation, followed by denial, followed by a confession on the matter of that initial accusation. As soon as that point is reached, it’s nothing but investigation, confession, investigation, confession for the rest of the seemingly limitless ride.
There is one very big point to remember in all this, legal matters aside: The British agency that regulates licensing of broadcast can apply a loosely defined principle in the granting of those licenses, which is whether the broadcaster is “fit and proper” to hold the license. No serious wrongdoing nor any illegality is necessary for a company that seeks to operate in Britain to be deemed unfit or unproper. So if the allegations prove true, even if nothing illegal was done, a perception of anticompetitive practice is, presumably, a reason to refuse licenses to News Corp. subsidiaries.