A new analysis of the sexual harassment scandal that triggered a realignment of top management at Fox News Channel — including bringing down network boss Roger Ailes — finds parallels between the current situation at FNC and the 2011 phone-hacking scandal that hit Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper division.
Writing in The New York Times, Jim Rutenberg notes that both situations were marked by “settlements for alleged inappropriate behavior that continued unabated,” “a proudly pirate-like office culture that somehow seemed just fine — until suddenly it didn’t,” and “a parent company’s professed ignorance of the alleged misbehavior that was either willful or genuine but outside the norms of responsible corporate governance just the same (to put it mildly).”
Rutenberg reports that Murdoch’s phone scandal a few years ago “shut down The News of the World, his London tabloid; forced Mr. Murdoch and his son James to testify before Parliament; sent people to jail; and shook the rest of Mr. Murdoch’s giant global media company to its foundations.”
Rutenberg adds: “The Murdoch empire survived the hacking affair, but only after a painful corporate restructuring that was devised to transform Mr. Murdoch’s pirate ship into a more orderly frigate — or rather, two of them, since the company divided in 2013. (Now there’s 21st Century Fox, for television and movies, and News Corporation, for print.)”
The sexual harassment case, the piece notes, finds the company in “eerily similar terrain,” and “raises important questions about just how far the corporate transformation that followed the hacking situation truly went.”
Please click on the link to The New York Times near the top of this story to read the full analysis.