NPR's Folkenflik explains how Fox's embrace of Seth Rich conspiracy theories could jeopardize Murdoch's Sky bid
David Folkenflik: Regulators are reviewing "whether Fox’s handling of the Seth Rich’s story meets standards required for British broadcasters"
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From August 7 edition of NPR's All Things Considered:
NARRATOR: Six years ago media mogul Rupert Murdoch shut down one of Britain's largest newspapers because of a scandal over its coverage of a girl's murder. He made that move to protect a huge business deal in the U.K. which later collapsed. He since resurrected that deal but a new journalistic scandal involving Murdoch’s Fox News channel and a murder in the U.S. could damage his prospects in London once again. NPR’s David Folkenflik has the story.
DAVID FOLKENFLIK: The headlines could hardly come at a worst time. Murdoch hopes to take full control of the British satellite TV company Sky in a deal worth over $14 billion. Last week NPR broke the news of allegation that Murdoch's Fox News concocted a story on the killing of a young Democratic aide in order to help President Trump. Seth Rich was 27 years old. His killing last summer in Washington, D.C., has not yet been solved.
The toll that the story took on the Rich family echoes the pain suffered by the family of Milly Dowler. Milly was a 13-year-old English girl who went missing in 2002. Her body was found six months later. Six years went by before the Dowlers learned that a British Murdoch tabloid illegally hacked into their daughter’s cell phone. Her mother Sally Dowler testified that the revelation rekindled the family’s anguish.
Outrage built. Murdoch closed down the 168-year-old News of the World to try to salvage his bid for Sky. The Murdoch family already controlled roughly 40 percent, but the bid was doomed. Murdoch apologized in person to the Dowlers and later testified before Parliament.
The Murdochs are now once again seeking to acquire Sky. The deal is being delayed over concerns the Murdochs control too much of the British news media. Following NPR’s reporting, several members of Parliament are now asking government officials and regulators to review whether Fox’s handling of the Seth Rich story meets standards required for British broadcasters.