By Chris Daly
Well, now it’s official. Something that many people have thought for a long time is now part of the findings of a British parliamentary report: Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person” to run a globe-straddling, influence-buying, phone-hacking, official-bribing media conglomerate.
Actually, the report released Tuesday may not be Murdoch’s biggest problem. He is already under investigation in the United States as well. Murdoch became a U.S. citizen in the mid-1980s, a move that facilitated his move into American broadcasting (since U.S. law requires that broadcasting remain in the hands of U.S. citizens). Perhaps more serious for Murdoch is the fact that his News Corp. (parent company of the British unit that is in trouble in Parliament) is a U.S. corporation, registered on the New York Stock Exchange. That means that News Corp. is subject to all the laws and regulations of the United States — including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. That law, dating to the 1970s, forbids U.S. companies from using their assets to pay bribes to officials in other countries. On the face of it, that would appear to make it a crime in the U.S. for News Corp. employees to do what they have already admitted under oath in Parliament: for years, they paid British police police officials for tips about their investigations.
If I were Murdoch (or even a shareholder in News Corp., which operates Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, among many others), that’s what I would be really worried about.