When the hacking scandal caught fire this summer, Murdoch's Fox News did its best to downplay the salacious scandal
, while Murdoch's Wall Street Journal
worked hard to ignore its direct link
On Fox's primetime opinion shows, hosts Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity appeared to have taken vows of silence in refusing to deal with the blockbuster story, a story at the normally enticing intersection of media and politics. From early July through mid-December, their shows aired a combined total of nearly 180 hours of original programming (or 10,800 minutes), and within those 180 hours they aired approximately eight minutes of Murdoch hacking coverage. Total. Eight minutes
Even Fox News' media watchdog program bungled the huge, breaking hacking story as hosts admitted
during a commercial break, captured on a video posted online, that they were intentionally avoiding the hot topic.
When Fox wasn't, at first, ignoring the story it was spinning madly
on Murdoch's behalf, trying to shoo people away from the sorry spectacle with lots of misguided, nothing-to-see-here-people pronouncements. One contributor warned
that any attempt to investigate News Corp. would be proof of a partisan agenda inside the White House, ignoring the fact that a Republican Congressman from New York had been among the
first to urge the FBI to look into News Corp. (After much criticism, Fox's news shows ultimately did begin covering the story more extensively
At the Journal
, editorial and opinion pages became home base
for Murdoch's public relations push-back effort in America, as columnists
rushed to their boss' defense by obfuscating the facts of the scandal and lashing out at their boss' critics.