Murdoch vs. Muto

The "Fox News mole" is being charged for leaking to Gawker as Fox's corporate parent remains under fire for ethics violations

Let me get this straight: Even as Rupert Murdoch’s media empire remains under official scrutiny for an allegedly extensive phone-hacking scandal, News Corp.-owned Fox News is going after a former employee for leaking internal information.

That former employee is “Fox News Mole,” Joe Muto, who had been leaking inside details about Fox to Gawker (reportedly for money), but who lasted about two days before a digital trail led to his termination earlier this month. During his brief anonymity, he revealed breaking details about Fox’s dingy bathrooms and old computers.

That sort of leak, apparently, is taboo in Murdochland—Muto tweeted early this morning that the New York County District Attorney’s office raided his apartment on a search warrant, posted by Gawker this afternoon. But flouting news ethics are A-OK at News Corp. As Harold Evans opines in a piece today for wife Tina Brown’s website, The Daily Beast:

There is a pattern to the Murdoch sagas. He responds to serious criticism by a biting wisecrack or diversionary personal attack. What is denied most sharply invariably turns out to irrefutably true.

Evans also drops the scoop that Murdoch met with Margaret Thatcher just before his 1981 bid for The Times of London was approved, over that of an identical in-house offer and despite its breaking Britain’s anti-monopoly laws.

But back to poor Joe Muto, who hasn’t tweeted since this morning, which may mean he retained representation. He wrote:

Those other things include petit larceny and computer tampering; the charges are based on allegations that Muto took and shared content from Fox’s servers. As things appear to stand, Murdoch’s company is trying to ruin one peon while pretending its monarch will emerge blameless.

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Kira Goldenberg was an associate editor at CJR from 2012-2015. Follow her on Twitter at @kiragoldenberg. Tags: , , ,