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Fox News show has interesting take on News of World hacking scandal

July 15, 2011 |  5:07 pm

Pretty much since the beginning of the News of the World phone hacking scandal, Fox News has covered it with less teeth than some of its rivals. But a segment on Fox & Friends on Friday morning may have been one of the most creative spins on the scandal -- or, to hear two personalities on the network describe it, even a tempest in a teapot.

Early on in the segment, tucked bizarrely into a story about an unrelated hacking incident at the Pentagon, show host Steve Doocy expressed wonderment at the "piling on" that was happening in the media. "The company has come forward and said it happened a long time ago, at a tabloid in London, somebody did something really bad," he said.

Doocy's guest, media consultant Robert Dilenschneider, nodded and wondered why people couldn't "get beyond" the scandal.

"Murdoch has apologized but for some reason the public, the media, keeps going over it, again and again" -- eliding completely, of course, the fact that the British government and the FBI were going over it too, which may be one reason not to get beyond it. (Not long after, embattled News International executive Rebekah Brooks and Dow Jones CEO Les Hinton resigned, suggesting that News Corp. itself hasn't come close to getting beyond it either.)

The Fox & Friends pair then went on to make a comparison between a number of banks that had been hacked into, head-scratchingly confusing those being hacked and the ones doing the alleged hacking. "Citigroup, great bank. Bank of America, great bank. Are they getting the same kind of attention for hacking that happened less than a year ago that News Corp. is getting today?" Dilenschneider said.

Doocy didn't challenge his guest's comparison. But later that day, the pundits did, with Mediaite among the sites to jump on the conflation.

"So, let me get this straight," wrote the site's Jon Bershad. "A News Corp. outlet has admitted to hacking into citizen’s phones and has been accused of bribing politicians and police and this is the same thing as other companies being the victims of computer hackers?! How on earth did you get there?"

Of course, for those who want an, ahem, more aggressive take on the scandal, there's this: Current's Keith Olbermann, known for going hard after Fox News  and News Corp., has just announced that on Tuesday he will offer several hours of live "coverage and analysis" of Rupert and James Murdoch's testimony in front of the British Parliament.

-- Steven Zeitchik