It appears that media mogul Rupert Murdoch may have some level of, dare I say, morality and compassion inside of him.
A day after New York Magazine reported that higher-ups at Fox News directed producers and reporters to avoid engaging in gun-control talk, Murdoch’s New York Post published an editorial calling for an end to the legal sale of high-powered automatic weapons.
The editorial comes in the wake Friday’s horrific shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. — which left 20 young children and eight adults, including the shooter, dead. Perpetrator Adam Lanza used a military-style .223 caliber assault rifle to carry out the gruesome murders.
“Has technology rendered the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution obsolete? That is, has the application of modern military design to civilian firearms produced a class of weapons too dangerous to be in general circulation?” the editorial starts out asking. “We say: Yes.”
The paper’s stance may come as a surprise to those who typically associate Murdoch’s News Corporation publications with conservative-leaning right-wing ideology. Equally as surprising, Murdoch may have wanted to open up dialogue about gun-control on his Fox News cable network as well. It’s just that his employee, Roger Ailes, president of Fox News Channel, apparently said no.
Sources at Fox News told NY Mag that the channel’s executive weekend producer, David Clark, and executive vice-president Michael Clemente instructed staff to stay clear of gun-control talk.
According to NY Mag:
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. According to a source, one political panelist e-mailed Clark that Bloomberg was booked on Meet the Press to talk about gun control. Clark responded, “We haven’t buried the children yet, we’re not discussing it.”
During the weekend, one frustrated producer went around Clark to lobby Michael Clemente, Fox’s executive vice-president for news editorial, but Clemente upheld the mandate. “We were expressly forbidden from discussing gun control,” the source said.
The article goes onto highlight the opposing ideologies that Murdoch and Ailes have on gun-control. Since Murdoch is the boss, it would seem that he’d have the final word on whether or not the conversation would get airplay. But, as the head of cable’s No. 1 rated news channel, it appears that Ailes has some leeway to shut the boss down on an issue or two.
Regardless of whose call it was to limit gun-control talk on Fox News, the Post editorial is quite clear in its stance:
“Historically there is scant political will for weapons control. And it’s unlikely that there will be, once the Sandy Hook slaughter fades from the nation’s consciousness,” the editorial reads. “Weapons designed expressly to kill human beings, and then modified (wink wink) to meet the federal machine-gun ban, have no legitimate place in American society.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 18, 2012