Watchdog Asks FCC To Whack Fox Licenses

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics says the British phone-hacking scandel shows that the News Corp. subsidiary "lacks the requisite character to hold broadcast licenses here in the United States.’ The stations involved are WTTG-WDCA Washington and WUTB Baltimore.’

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), a government and corporate ethics watchdog group, today asked the FCC not to renew the licenses of the Fox-owned stations in Washington and Baltimore, citing the phone-hacking and bribery scandal in England that has roiled Fox parent News Corp. and its chairman  and CEO Rupert Murdoch.

As it must every eight years, Fox filed to renew the license of WTTG and WDCA Washington and WUTB Baltimore in June along with other licensees in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Petitions to deny the renewal are due by Sept. 1.

“The public interest demands that these licenses not be renewed,” said CREW in its petition. “News Corp. and Mr. Murdoch have engaged in a pattern of egregious, unlawful and conscience-shocking behavior that demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt News Corps.’ subsidiary lacks the requisite character to hold broadcast licenses here in the United States.’’

CREW maintains that in the “face of the overwhelming evidence of its bad character, the FCC, at a minimum, must conduct an evidentiary hearing that examines the full scope and gravity of the behavior of News Corp. and Mr. Murdoch while engaged in media activities.’’

Earlier this year, a British parliamentary panel concluded that Murdoch is “not fit’’ to run his international media company because of the phone hacking scandal. But no criminal charges have been pressed against Murdoch in Britain, although executives of News Corp.’s News of the World subsidiary have been indicted.

CREW argues that although the alleged crimes were not broadcast related, “individuals in News Corp.’s chain of responsibility were involved in the misconduct and their behavior related directly to their roles as members of the news media.”


News Corp officials were not commenting on CREWS’s petition.

Although the FCC rarely revokes TV station licenses, said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan, the Fox situation is “highly unusual…. I think they [FCC] will take this seriously,’’

Sloan said the there have been allegations that illegal hacking may have taken place on U.S. soil. And she says the FBI is investigating possible bribery charges that may lead to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“The FCC put a good character standard in there for a reason, it can’t be meaningless,” Sloan said. “If this kind of conduct doesn’t violate that standard, you really have to wonder what would.”

Comments (7)

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Allyson Mongrain says:

August 22, 2012 at 5:02 pm

She’s an Obama Hack—Sloan served as Minority Counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, working on criminal justice issues for then-Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI). Sloan also served as Counsel for the Crime Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by then-Representative Charles Schumer (D-NY). There, she drafted portions of the 1994 Crime Bill, including the Violence Against Women Act. In 1993, Sloan served as Nominations Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, under then-Chairman Joseph Biden (D-DE).[5]

Angie McClimon says:

August 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics should be condensed to CRE, as there is no ‘W’ in their name at all.
The FCC won’t deny renewal. The last time that happened on a large scale was with RKO-General and WOR-TV. Fox’s journalistic integrity leaves something to be desired but it will be status-quo.

    Ellen Samrock says:

    August 22, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    There actually needs to be an”S” before CREW. The phone hacking issue is a straw man set up to hide this group’s real agenda which obviously is to cripple Fox News. But what happens in England, stays in England. CREW, an organization no one has heard of, may not like their politics but Fox Television has run a clean operation on this side of the Atlantic. Let’s hope the FCC will see through their foolishness.

Just Fine says:

August 22, 2012 at 7:27 pm

I’m still kind of curious how News Corp can still own a pair of newspapers (The New York Post and the Wall Street Journal) and a pair of networks (WWOR and WNYW) in the same market. I always thought it was prohibited under FCC standards. Guess not.

Teri Keene says:

August 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm

I wish they take away the licenses of WFLD and WPWR in Chicago – those idiots signed that IQ deficient idiot “radio host” Mancow Mueller today, sure to be a ratings bomb. No one watches their newscasts and the management who runs each station are a bunch of retards! THEY SUCK!

Kimberly Gari-Luff says:

August 22, 2012 at 10:55 pm

I bet CREW has some liberal/socialist pinheads to apply for the licenses.

Ashley Messina says:

August 24, 2012 at 9:08 pm

As one who saw those infamous FCC postcards to RKO General posted with the licenses, all I can say is just remember that the FCC is Administrative. Such things as Due Process and Rules of Evidence do not necessarily apply. This one could get interesting…