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Is Fox fit for Sky?

April 13, 2017

Most 86 years-olds are resting up and regarding each new day as a bonus. Not Rupert Murdoch, for him another day is another deal. So, it must still be extra frustrating when one of the deals you really want to do keeps being nixed by circumstances beyond your control – or, at least, circumstances you like to think are beyond your control.
In 2011, Fox bid for Sky but the deal was suffocated by the weight of the phone hacking scandal in News Corp, then part of the same parent company as Fox.
Now, separated from the miscreant newspapers, Fox has a new agreed bid on the table and has just won the wave through from EU regulators. All it needs now is for UK rule makers to take a similar view on the competition and plurality fronts and chillax on the ‘fit and proper person test.’
All looked well until a few weeks ago. Fox News is now in some ways the same kind of enfant terrible that the red top newspapers used to be within the otherwise sober media group. It is loud, it is shrill, it never lets the facts spoil a good story or a trenchant opinion, it is Marmite; you either love it or hate it. Certainly, life would be duller without it.
But, just as in 2011, it is not the medium’s content that has rocked the boat but the behaviour of the organisation’s employees.
This time it is allegations of sexual harassment – they have already led to the departure of the station’s long time boss and now lurid claims also surround its most prominent on-air star.
Rupert must feel like others alleged poor behaviour has jeopardised his dream deal again. It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for him. Except that there must be a culture abroad that means, either through pressure to achieve, or through a sense of entitlement because of achievement, unfit and improper behaviour propagates.

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