Tag Archives: Rupert Murdoch

Murdoch: As Commander Black Ops At Fox News

I read this story last night and just couldn’t help myself.  I will save comment for end of post.

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News ran ‘black ops’ department, former executive claims

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News television channel had a “black ops” department that may have illegally hacked private telephone records, a former executive for the station has alleged.

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News television channel had a black ops department that may have illegally hacked private telephone records, a former executive for the station has alleged.

Roger Ailes talks to Fox correspondents Jenna Lee and Nicole Petallides  Photo: REUTERS
Jon Swaine

By , New York

11:07PM BST 20 Jul 2011

Dan Cooper, who helped launch Fox News as managing editor in 1996, said that a “brain room” carried out “counter intelligence” on the channel’s enemies from its New York headquarters.

He was threatened after it found out he spoke to a reporter, he claimed.

Another former senior executive said the channel ran a spying network on staff, reading their emails and making them “feel they were being watched”.

The channel, which has come under pressure amid allegations that outlets owned by Mr Murdoch might have attempted to hack the voicemail messages of September 11 victims, firmly denies all the allegations.

Mr Cooper, who left Fox News soon after its launch, provided a quote for a 1997 article about Roger Ailes, Fox News’s president, by the journalist David Brock in New York magazine.

The quote was not going to be attributed to him, but he alleges that before the article was published, Mr Cooper’s agent received a telephone call from Mr Ailes threatening to withdraw Fox’s business from all his clients.

“There are only two possible ways Ailes found out,” Mr Cooper said. “Either Brock told him or they got hold of Brock’s phone records and saw I spoke to him.”

He first alleged that the records were obtained by researchers in the “brain room” in 2005 in an article on his website about the launch of the channel.

“Most people thought it was simply the research department of Fox News,” he wrote. “I knew it also housed a counter intelligence and black ops office. So accessing phone records was easy pie.”

Mr Cooper said yesterday that he helped to design the high-security unit. “It was staffed by 15 researchers and had a guard at the door. No one working there would engage in conversation.”

Mr Cooper said he was “willing to consider the possibility” that Mr Brock named him, but added: “I assume he operates under journalistic ethics and protected a confidential source. Brock told me at the time that Ailes told him he would never work again if he wrote the article.”

Mr Brock now runs Media Matters, a Left-leaning American media watchdog. A spokesman for the group said: “He declines to comment.”

Another former Fox News senior executive, who did not wish to be named, said staff were forced to operate under conditions reminiscent of “Russia at the height of the Soviet era”.

“There is a paranoid atmosphere and they feel they are being watched,” said the former executive. “I have no doubt they are spying on emails to ensure no one is leaking to outside media.

“There is a unit of spies that reports up to the boss about who was talking to whom. A lot of people are scared that they’re going to get sidelined or even that they’re going to get killed.”

A Fox News spokesman said: “Each of these allegations is completely false. Dan Cooper was terminated six weeks after the launch of the Fox News Channel in 1996 and has peddled these lies for the past 15 years.”

The FBI is investigating allegations that journalists on a British newspaper may have tried to have September 11 victims’ phones hacked. Both former Fox News executives said they thought Mr Ailes would never have let his reporters do likewise.

I find this amazing since he can’t seem to stay awake, doesn’t seem to know what is going on around him, and swears he did nothing illegal.  If this is true, I can’t wait to see Rupert in black paint and guns a blazing.

He has hired the best defense and a good PR firm.  A most extreme measure for a king who is innocent of all wrong doing.


The Media: Shallow, Deceitful Coffee Shop Talk

One of Americas and the worlds biggest problems in the standard, style and empty, insubstantial and silly discourse concerning the serious issues plaguing the United States and the entire world.

It is no coincidence that the problems facing the country  are taking our society by surprise in part because television, all of television channels have for years hidden them behind the glitz and glamour of celebrity lifestyle programs.

Does anyone really remember any experts or commentators analyzing the details about the economy or the debt?  Other than the cursory discourse?  On the other hand, most of us have a vivid memories of news anchorman speaking live from their studios with singers, colorful politicians and movie stars.

Concern about TV ratings have always taken a toll on the quality of television discourse in this country.  The local channels have been competing against each other to see who can put on the cheapest show.  Television discussion is hostage to cheap stereotypes and convenient clichés.  Emotion just always take priority over reason.   The print media is no different.  Just read the headlines:  Lohan in rehab again; Palin on road trip.

All that can be explained as, the day after the show, most of us will chat about the outrages comment made by some cult TV personality and not the sober proposals by the likes Robert Reich or other economists.  They have made us stupid.  Dumb downed us to the point that all we want are stupid reality shows.

Reality shows?  The media, television and print, created the greatest reality show.  The trial of Casey Anthony.  It is the trial that became impossible to avoid.  Everywhere you looked they reminded you of a young life lost and another that for months was dangling in the balance.

Magazines paid five-figure sums to witnesses to make them cover stars, and even ex-wives of witnesses have been thrown in to the spotlight.

News broadcasters gained access to the Anthony home and to home videos, while others took viewers to the prison holding Miss Anthony to inform them she had bought a comb and an eyebrow pencil while behind bars. It starts out as a local story then the networks send satellite trucks and start spending money to build up equity of the story and it becomes a TV show – the more details people get, the more they want.  Viewers get sucked in.  A real like soap opera.

Casey Anthony became a hate figure, especially on the internet, since details came out in view of her behaviour and lifestyle during a one month period bbetween the time Caylee was seen alive and the time she was reported missing by her grandmother.  Some stations opened everything to broadcast live non-stop coverage of the trial with endless analysis of every twist and turn.  A journalist was interview people in the line waiting to get into court.  One woman said ‘I can’t wait to see it. This is the ultimate reality show.’ She didn’t see that this is a real case with real people.

It became a spectacle, just something to watch just like reality television.

The point being, it was all about ratings.  Not one station, magazine or newspaper bothered to find out the facts.  No one did their homework.  No one bothered to investigate, was their real evidence, was there a motive or whatever.  They just couldn’t be bothered with truth or the pursuit of facts.  Real journalism is dead.

And while we, I exclude myself since I didn’t watch, were transfixed on trash, unimportant “news”, the real issues, the economy, assault on women’s rights, immigration, and poverty were relegated to nonsense.

Morality and ethics are absent in the media.  Ask Rupert Murdoch.  We have the Patriot Act that spies on us, but the Brits have Rupert Murdoch.  News International hacked and spied, paid policeman to get cheap stories.  They hacked mobile phones messages and gained unlawful access to confidential personal data, including tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemized phone bills.  Cabinet ministers, MP’s, actors and sports stars were targets of the Murdoch private investigators.  Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers has paid out millions of dollars to settle legal cases that have threatened to reveal evidence of his “journalist’s” repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories.  Not only do they make stories up, they now, at least for the past 4 years, have and apparently continue to commit criminal acts to get a “story.”

It seems that the hacking of Fox News’s twitter account was poetic justice.