While Rupert Murdoch is understandably embroiled in matters involving another News Corp. property on the other side of the pond, Fox News has been intensifying its own battle in the United States, finally deciding it's had enough of the self-appointed media watchdog, Media Matters for America.
The network — which has always gone its own way, of course — lately launched a bold on-air editorial campaign against Media Matters, the not-for-profit liberal-watchdog organization that has sworn Fox’s demise as its raison d’etre (although it's also having a field day with Murdoch's News of the World scandal).
Former conservative-turned-progressive journalist David Brock heads Media Matters and has sworn to take down Fox as part of the organization's mission to attack "conservative misinformation" in the media.
Fox’s comeback is to argue that Media Matters has veered into politics, which is supposed to be verboten for its status as an educational, tax-free not-for-profit organization. In spot after spot, segment after segment, from the mouths of contributor after contributor, Fox is now attacking the organization as brazenly affiliated not only with left-wing politics but also with the Democratic Party.
Media Matters’ counterpoint is that Fox is in the hip pocket not only of conservative thought but also of the Republican Party.
The thing is, there are lots of “supposed to’s” involved here, all of which are being violated. America's mainstream broadcast TV networks, to which Fox arose as a right-wing alternative, are “supposed to” be fair and balanced and not help the left achieve its agenda; are they? One could also argue that religious not-for-profit organizations are “supposed to” keep faith in the pews and not call for boycotts of political or commercial entities with whom they disagree; do they?
Of course, Media Matters isn't the only organization haranguing News Corp. this week — there's been an ongoing spat with Jon Stewart, and a concerted social media effort to get brands to boycott Murdoch's media properties, including @drop_fox on Twitter.
Americans may only just be catching wind of the two-year battle between News Corp. and the Guardian newspaper over the phone-hacking scandal (a story its journalists broke) that has rocked the UK all the way up to the British parliament.
That scandal has led to the closure of the News of the World tabloid — Britain's oldest newspaper (at 168 years in print) and highest-circulation newspaper in the world — this coming Sunday.
Looking ahead, expect the media landscape to shift dramatically, as News Corp. fights to restore its reputation (and fortunes) in the UK, while in the US, the war between Fox News and its opponents heats up as the 2012 election season nears.