Forget the Emperor/Prince; It’s Fox ‘News’ That Has No Clothes

August 31st, 2012 · No Comments · Uncategorized

By Denise Tessier

From two recent wire reports:

The Navy SEAL who wrote an account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden under a pseudonym was identified . . . by Fox News.

The prince has no clothes – but British newspapers aren’t running the pictures.

The fact that these two wire reports appeared on the same page in the Journal gives me the entrée needed to point out this recent chasm in media publishing choices.

First, Fox chose to “out” the retired Navy SEAL – despite the fact that the SEAL’s publisher had asked news organizations to withhold the identity of the author of “No Easy Day,” scheduled for release Sept. 11. The Journal’s wire story quoted a Special Operations Command colonel saying the outing could endanger the retired SEAL’s life and jeopardize the lives and operations of still-active SEALs the author worked alongside.

Yet Fox chose to release his identity – a disingenuous choice considering the Fox media / entertainment organization cloaks itself in red, white and blue stage sets and generally casts itself in a mien of patriotism.  A legitimate news organization would not have chosen to run the name of a man who has served his country in this way, knowing it likely would endanger his life and future U.S. missions by Special Ops soldiers. But then, this is Fox.

In the wake of that outing, legitimate news groups like the Associated Press now include the SEAL / author’s name in stories, pointing out, as the Journal’s A3 Aug. 24 story did, that he “was first identified by Fox News.”

One can cynically point to this as par for the course for an organization owned by Rupert Murdoch. And that’s what so interesting in learning about the naked-prince story.

British tabloids used to shock American readers with their focus on scandal, especially when it came to the British Royals. (In those days, we Americans looked on our own tabloid equivalents, like the National Inquirer, as comical rubbish – certainly not “news” papers).

But now, as the Journal wire story reported Aug. 24:

The country’s scandal-loving tabloids devoted many pages . . . to the story of Prince Harry’s naked romp in a Las Vegas hotel suite. But all heeded a warning from royal officials that printing the images, already seen by millions on the Internet, would infringe on the prince’s privacy.

So while Ireland’s Evening Herald ran the stark-naked prince on its front page, British newspapers made do with pictures of Harry in bathing trunks.

At the request of the Royals, the papers chose not to run the pics, citing the prince’s privacy. The full version of the above-linked story carries further explanation, saying:

Bob Satchwell, head of industry group the Society of Editors, said papers were merely complying with editors’ voluntary Code of Practice, which declares “it is unacceptable to photograph individuals in private places without their consent.”

But other media-watchers said a scandal that erupted a year ago over phone-hacking and other tabloid wrongdoing had tamed Britain’s once-rambunctious press.

. . .Once, editors might have risked it, arguing that publishing the images was in the public interest because Harry is a public — and publicly funded — figure.

So, across the pond , tabloids are reining themselves in because of the fallout from phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World, while on this side of the Atlantic Murdoch’s enterprise publicly identifies a  Navy SEAL with impunity.

Outing the Navy SEAL isn’t a passing titillation. Fox ‘s decision is an ongoing one in terms of its lasting effects on lives and missions. It’s a self-serving, cheap stunt for the organization, proving once again that for Fox, notoriety trumps any ethical approach to news.

Tags: ········

No Comments so far ↓

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment