Sunday, July 17, 2011

Allegations of Wrongdoing Uncomfortably Close to Fox News

If you've been following the rapidly expanding scandal from across the sea in Great Britain involving parts of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, you know that it's been wild in the last few weeks as the story has rapidly hit mainstream in this country. Now there is a smattering of allegations that could, if true, bring the media baron's Fox News organization into the possible glare of a Congressional investigation

The Nation magazine published an article that quoted a long-forgotten blog post by a former Fox News executive alleging that Fox has a special limited access area or "brain room" for "counterintelligence". Putting that information together with another piece Rolling Stone wrote mentioning perhaps the same "brain room" it makes you wonder what the activities might have been and at what level the activities were controlled from. Whether it was Fox News Chief Roger Ailes calling the shots...or someone else.

The Nation continues:
Dan Cooper was one of the people who helped create the Fox News channel with Roger Ailes, and was fired in 1996. In 2008, Cooper wrote on his website that David Brock (now head of Media Matters) had used him as an anonymous, on-background-only source for an Ailes profile he was writing for New York magazine. Before the piece was published, on November 17, 1997, Cooper claims that his talent agent, Richard Leibner, told him he had received a call from Ailes, who identified Cooper as a source, and insisted that Leibner drop him as a client--or any client reels Leibner sent Fox would pile up in a corner and gather dust. Cooper continued:

“I made the connections. Ailes knew I had given Brock the interview. Certainly Brock didn’t tell him. Of course. Fox News had gotten Brock’s telephone records from the phone company, and my phone number was on the list. Deep in the bowels of 1211 Avenue of the Americas, News Corporation’s New York headquarters, was what Roger called the Brain Room. Most people thought it was simply the research department of Fox News. But unlike virtually everybody else, because I had to design and build the Brain Room, I knew it also housed a counterintelligence and black ops office. So accessing phone records was easy pie.”

The article later concedes that it's possible for Ailes to have gotten the information that Cooper was a source for the article in other ways, but, with the burgeoning scandal in Great Britain, it makes you wonder.

Also, the article mentions that the News of the World, a British tabloid owned by News Corp. that's now out-of-business due to the phone hacking scandal, allegedly tried to bribe an ex-New York City police officer to hack the phones of 9/11 victims. So far, the evidence is largely circumstantial, but there is a push in Congress from REPUBLICANS like Peter King of New York for the FBI whether or not the News Corp. was involved in an effort to hack the 9/11 phones, and it looks like the FBI is going to be on the case.

We'll see how fast this one percolates. All-in-all, it looks like it's going to be interesting to watch.

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