'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Inside the FOX Hole
via YouTube, ht cathyferkleheimer
via Current: part 1, part 2
ShowPlug1: Live on Countdown @Current 8ET: Murdoch scandal latest: employees bribed cops to follow public figures by tracking cell phones
ShowPlug2: Murdoch BSkyB deal all but dead; ex-PM Gordon Brown says Murdoch used "known criminals" to hack him. @MichaelWolffNYC guests
ShowPlug3: McConnell's Debt Deal to POTUS: you can raise the limit provided YOU take responsibility for all budget cuts - w/ @SamSteinHP
ShowPlug4: Def. Sec. Panetta tells US troops they're in Iraq because of 9/11? We won't let UN see PFC Bradley Manning? I thought Bush left?
ShowPlug5: Guest: Col. Lawrence Wilkerson. Worsts: guess who once called for all hackers & websites that published info, to go to prison?
ShowPlugLast: And why aren't there more Fox whistleblowers? We'll get the story from a guy once Blackmailed by Murdoch's men: Me.
watch whole playlist
'Spies Everywhere', Michael Wolff
'Debt Duelers', Sam Stein
Tweet of the Day: @GRIMIS15 and Time Marches On!
'Loose Cannon', Col. Lawrence Wilkerson
Worst Persons: Lori Klein (R-AZ), Rep. Michele Bachmann, Bill O'Reilly
Comment: 'Inside the FOX Hole'
Current.com part 1 part 2, YouTube
Comment: unofficial transcript
Finally tonight as promised, an insider's perspective on the Rupert Murdoch scandal; more specifically, two important sidebar questions. Why do decent people work for Rupert Murdoch, and why are they afraid to report or whistleblow the truth about Rupert Murdoch.
Why, in a business where egos are so large and fragile that a guy I knew thirty years ago maintained a vigilant hatred of his employers and leaked information about them constantly because his name had once been mispronounced by his boss, why does almost nobody tell on Murdoch?
First, this awful, awful truth: I used to work for him. It was only sports, it was only for two and a half years, it was only for his minions and most of them were not really any worse than anybody else's minions, and I never even met Murdoch himself, but I used to work for him. Sports news on cable, five nights a week and hosting the baseball coverage on the FOX broadcast network all day Saturday. So I know why many people, decent people, work or worked for him: because they didn't think it was really going to be different.
But in the spring of 2001 I was able to get a second source to confirm a story I'd been working on for weeks, that its owners were informally talking about selling the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. This put me in more than a slight quandary; the then-owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team were Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. My bosses suggested the best course was to contact Murdoch's personal own public relations man. I related to them, and I have told of this saga before, that this Dodgers story has fallen into my lap, it didn't come from anybody inside our company, the two sources are impeccable, journalistically I'm obliged to try to pursue the story.
From Murdoch's flack came the answer that Mr. Murdoch never interfered with the content of the news. And silly me, I believed him! Provided I made it clear that the sources for the story were not from within News Corp, and provided I included News Corp's denial, Murdoch's man told us - my producers included - that we should go with it. I wrote the script, caveats included, and emailed it to the flack. The story ran on April 22nd, 2001.
Two and a half weeks later my agent got a call from the man in charge of FOX's baseball coverage which was to resume two weeks later; he explained that it would be resuming all right, but I wouldn't. I was no longer going to be FOX's baseball host. My cable show would be cancelled too. My salary would continue, but my time at FOX would not continue.
That night I got a phone call from a prominent newspaper columnist who covered TV sports, who told me what he had heard about my ouster. He said Murdoch had been on some sort of trip to Asia. When he got back, somebody told him that one of his own networks had reported that he was trying to sell the Dodgers. Before detonating, Murdoch waited just long enough to find out the name of the reporter - my name - and then he personally ordered me fired immediately.
I told the columnist that I knew nothing of the sort, it couldn't be possible, because I'd followed all the rules set down by Murdoch's own PR man. The day after that, I spoke again to the same columnist. Now he said he had misspoken. He hadn't heard anything about Murdoch firing me for reporting the Dodgers story, he had heard that I was telling other people that Murdoch fired me for reporting the Dodgers story. But I had never told anybody that.
Whatever, I thought, I have to pack. And I didn't think again about the Dodgers story or Murdoch 'personally' firing me. Never in the next seven years did I ever get the slightest official explanation, or even strong hint, from anybody at FOX or outside of it why I had been let go. But then, in 2008, a reporter asked Rupert Murdoch if he would ever hire me to work on FOX News and Murdoch said, quote:
"No. I fired him. Years ago. He was crazy."
And by the way, two years after he fired me, Rupert Murdoch sold the Dodgers.
The second half of my story I have never told publicly before. It's time. In June of 2000, after a year and a half of doing two one hour cable shows a night for Murdoch and baseball from 7 AM to 5 PM every Saturday, I got sick. My doctor told me that if I didn't among other things slow down at work, he would be treating me for heart disease within the decade. I took him very seriously. I told my employers about cutting back maybe from the six days to five, and offered to give back to FOX some of my salary in the process because my health was at risk, maybe my heart.
They immediately took me off the air. They refused to put me back on until I had gotten a letter from my doctor guaranteeing them that I was well enough to work. By itself that was hardly an evil thing to do, in fact I recognized it as a prudent business decision, and I complied because I didn't know what they intended to do with that letter. They blackmailed me with it!
The head of FOX Sports Net, the operation, told my agent that since they had a document that indicated that I was well enough to return to work they were now going to change my schedule. Instead of anchoring six days a week in the Los Angeles studio, they were going to have me anchor four days then fly to and from different interviews, events, and promotions, et cetera in other cities two different times per week. In short, they were threatening to work me into illness or into the hospital or both.
They offered an alternative. They would cut my work schedule not to five days, but to three, and they would cut my salary by 60%. And they expected an answer overnight. They got it. I took the deal. I had no choice. They were blackmailing me about my health, and FOX blackmail works. And that's the way it works. And Lord only knows, if it worked so well on somebody with resources and a high profile like mine, how often was it used against lesser figures in the company?
So. Report the truth about Murdoch, with the pre-approval of Murdoch's right hand man, and you're still gonna get fired. Work for Murdoch and tell the truth about Bill O'Reilly, and you're likely to get sued; ask Andrea Mackris. Work for Murdoch and tell the truth about Roger Ailes, and you're likely to get buried; ask Judith Regan. And realize at all times that they will do anything to you, like blackmail you about your own health, to get you to do what they want. And that, perhaps, is the partial answer to the questions why do decent people work for Rupert Murdoch, and why are they afraid to report or whistleblow the truth about Rupert Murdoch.
All of which works, as long as it's just one or two decent people versus Rupert Murdoch. When the worm turns, and the truth bursts from around the edges like ten tidal waves at once, as it has at the News of the World and the Sun and the Times of London, it will all come out at once. And when the tide recedes, there will be nothing left. Not of News Corp, not of FOX News, not of Rupert Murdoch. So all those bailing out now while the water is only waist high - start talking. Only the first 500 whistleblowers will be served.