News corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch’s decision to cancel the O.J. Simpson book and interview demonstrated the corporate power behind Fox Broadcasting and Fox News and how divisions of the company are related to each other.
“I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project,” Murdoch said in a statement. “We are sorry for any pain this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown-Simpson.”
“Fox News Channel Has Nothing to Do With O.J. Interview” was the title of a John Gibson commentary. In fact, of course, the O.J. Simpson interview about murdering his wife was scheduled to be aired on a network that is part of the Fox News parent company called News Corporation. Gibson did his best to obscure that critical fact.
“A lot of people are mad at me and us here at the Fox News Channel for what the Fox Broadcasting Company is doing with this O.J. Simpson interview. By the way, Fox is many networks, all separate entities from this one,” he said. He added, “Are you mad at me because of some insulting thing that Homer Simpson says? If you do not like who wins on our football coverage or in the World Series, do you blame the Fox News Channel?”
Football and baseball were beside the point.
Later, he finally acknowledged, “And News Corporation owns a whole bunch of media operations. Most of which I don’t even know, much less have any influence over.”
Doesn’t know? Fox Broadcasting is not just another “media operation.” It’s a big part of the company. What’s more, Simpson’s book was being published by Regan Books, which is part of HarperCollins, another subsidiary of News Corporation.
Gibson couldn’t wash his hands of the disgraceful Simpson book and interview by saying, in effect, that it’s not his department.
Several Fox affiliates said they would have nothing to do with it.
In Central Pennsylvania, Frank Quitoni, co-owner and president of WWCP-TV, was quoted in the Centre Daily newspaper as saying, “I think it’s wrong that someone should be able to possibly make a profit on such a tragic, tragic thing.” The paper said the station would instead air a special on St. Jude Children’s Hospital and a locally-produced program about domestic violence.
The scheduled airing of the Simpson interview-and the scheduled publication of the Simpson book-once again gave the lie to the claim that News Corporation is a “conservative” company.