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July 22, 2011 / sadhbhanu

The Right Word: Bill O’Reilly breaks Fox News silence on phone hacking

Color-phone-hack-murdoch

Bill O’Reilly finally lifted the veil of silence that has shrouded the hacking scandal involving News Corporation, which owns Fox News. It is unclear why he waited until Tuesday, (the same day that Rupert Murdoch had to eat humble pie during a British parliamentary investigation) to finally mention the scandal that has dominated coverage on every other major network. Perhaps he felt compelled to respond to a memo released by the watchdog group Media Matters, urging O’Reilly to uphold his oft-stated commitment to “independence” from News Corp’s influence or perhaps the anchor was concerned that he could jeopardize his status as “the most trusted political reporter in America” if he failed to even acknowledge a major news story just because it involves the company he works for.

Anyway, whatever his reasons, he finally decided that avoiding the issue was not going to make the story go away.

He got an update on the status quo from Fox News correspondent Amy Kellogg and while he did acknowledge that the story was pretty big and “is going up and up and up” all the way to David Cameron and that the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone was ” the kind of thing that will anger folks”, he still thought that the scandal was mostly a British problem that the US media are making too much of.

He took up this point with Dr Nile Gardiner, a former assistant to Margaret Thatcher and senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

You know look, people are exploiting this situation. It is a bad situation, anyone who broke the law should be held responsible. Everybody knows that. Journalists are citizens too. We break the law, we should be held responsible for it. But here in the United States there isn’t any intrusion of this story thus far on News Corp properties, none! Yet you have the New York Times absolutely running wild with the story, front page, front page, front page, column, column, column, vicious stuff and ah it’s all ideological! Is it not?

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