We try to steer clear of media critiques here at O-pinion; our readers are more than capable of sorting out which news outlets serve them best. But New York Magazine had a fascinating item Monday on an interesting divide between News Corp. boss Rupert Murdoch, who has taken to Twitter to call for stricter gun control, and his television network, which apparently was trying its very best not to talk about it.
Says writer Gabriel Sherman:
According to sources, David Clark, the executive producer in charge of Fox’s weekend coverage, gave producers instructions not to talk about gun-control policy on air. "This network is not going there,” Clark wrote one producer on Saturday night, according to a source with knowledge of the exchange. The directive created a rift inside the network.A few folks didn't get the memo to shush, including FOX News Sunday host Chris Wallace, who talked about the issue on his program with guests. Murdoch, too, felt compelled to say something. “Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons?" he tweeted over the weekend. But at the network, Clark's weekend dictate seemed to have ruled.
The divide shows the raw, powerful impact Newtown initially is having on the gun control debate. It's possible, as Sherman diplomatically speculates, that FOX was trying to keep its coverage focused on the human tragedy until after the victims were buried. (A courtesy the network didn't apply to the September deaths of four U.S. officials in Libya.) It's also possible that FOX honchos, like so many quiet gun advocates right now, preferred not to entertain a debate on guns with passions so hot against them right now. (The NRA has gone "on lockdown," Politico reports.)
But a news organization is obligated to report on the big news of the day, not what its heart thinks the news should be. Each day, media outlets try to sift through all that's happening and make those choices - and each of us sometimes gets it wrong. But willfully denying your viewers coverage of the debate everyone was having? Even the boss knew better.
Update: According to Politico's Dylan Byers, Murdoch's other outlet on the gun issue might be the New York Post, where the editorial board opines today that weapon technology has rendered the Second Amendment "obsolete."
Peter St. Onge