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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

  • Whistleblower in Murdoch Phone-Hacking Scandal Found Dead

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    On Monday, Sean Hoare, a former reporter who helped blow the whistle on the Murdoch-owned News of the World, was found dead in his home. Hoare had been the source for a New York Times story tying phone hacking to former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who would later become director of communications for British Prime Minister David Cameron. Coulson was arrested as the scandal broke open earlier this month. Police say Hoare appears to have died of natural causes, but the determination had not lessened suspicion of foul play. Hoare not only talked about phone hacking, but phone tracking as well, or as he said they called in the newsroom "pinging," where he said News of the World would pay police, he believed, to track individuals’ locations. [includes rush transcript]

  • Weakening of Media Consolidation Rules Helped Murdoch Build U.S. Media Empire

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    The intense scrutiny on Rupert Murdoch and practices by News Corp. employees is also widening the spotlight on its vast media holdings in the United States. News Corp. owns a number of outlets, including Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox News Channel, the National Geographic Channel, HarperCollins, TV Guide, the Weekly Standard, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, as well as the film studios 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight. News Corp.’s dominant standing in the U.S. media received a major boost in the early 1990s when the Federal Communications Commissions waived a regulation meant to curb media consolidation. We speak to Matt Wood, policy director at the media reform group, Free Press. [includes rush transcript]

  • NYC Schools Approve $2.7 Million Deal with Murdoch-Linked Firm to Track Student Performance

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    The New York City-based group Class Size Matters has just launched a petition calling on New York officials to reject a no-bid contract that would give the company Wireless Generation, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, access to the personal data of schoolchildren. The deal was awarded shortly after the former head of New York City schools, Joel Klein, joined News Corp.’s board. Klein attended the British parliamentary hearing with Murdoch on the phone-hacking scandal today in London. We speak to Leonie Haimson, a New York public school parent and executive director of Class Size Matters. [includes rush transcript]

  • Ralph Nader: Obama is a "Political Coward" for Not Picking Elizabeth Warren to Head Consumer Bureau

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    After months of fierce opposition from Wall Street, corporate lobbyists and Republican lawmakers, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau officially launches this week in Washington, D.C. A product of last year’s overhaul of financial regulation, the bureau was established to protect consumers from deceptive practices. Republicans have sought to weaken its reach with a number of restrictive measures, including granting other regulatory bodies veto power over the bureau’s decisions. This week, Republicans scored another victory with President Obama’s announcement of his choice to head the bureau. Obama has tapped former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray instead of Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard professor who first proposed the bureau and has overseen its establishment for the past year. "[Cordray] is no Elizabeth Warren. He doesn’t have her communication skills,” says Nader. “She is a rare find. And by throwing her overboard, Obama has signaled to hundreds of good, smart people all over the country, who would like to turn our government around and make it stand for the people, that they may be too good for the president, they may be too good for the rogue Republicans.” [includes rush transcript]

  • Ralph Nader’s Solution to Debt Crisis: End Corporate Welfare and Corporate Tax Loopholes

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    As negotiations continue on a debt deal, we ask longtime consumer advocate Ralph Nader for his solution. Nader says, “Now we have the situation with the deficit and the debt and spending and jobs. And it’s not that difficult to get out of it. The first thing you do is you get rid of corporate welfare. That’s hundreds of billions of dollars a year. The second is you tax corporations so that they don’t get away with no taxation. The Citizens for Tax Justice put out a report recently. They had 12 major corporations, like Honeywell, Verizon, General Electric, and in three years, they made $167 billion in profit, paid zero tax, and got $2.5 billion back from the Treasury.” [includes rush transcript]

  • Muslim Victim of Post-9/11 Hate Crime Calls on Texas to Spare Life of His Assailant

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    In Texas, a hate crime victim is attempting to save the life of a convicted murderer who shot him in the face at close range after 9/11. Rais Bhuiyan is suing Governor Rick Perry in order to stop the execution of death row prisoner Mark Stroman scheduled for Wednesday. Stroman shot Bhuiyan in 2001, partially blinding him in his right eye. Stroman, an Aryan Brotherhood member, also killed Vasudev Patel, an Indian immigrant who was Hindu, and Waqar Hasan, a Muslim born in Pakistan. "I strongly believe what Mark Stroman did was a hate crime because of his ignorance, and he was not capable of distinguishing between right and wrong. Otherwise, he would not have done what he did,” Bhuiyan said. “The way my parents raised me, and my Islamic faith teaches me, that he is the best who can forgive easily. And my faith teaches that no one has a right to take another human life. Islam doesn’t allow for hate and killing.” In a statement written in prison, Stroman says, “Not only do I have all My friends and supporters trying to Save my Life, but now i have The Islamic Community Joining in ... Spearheaded by one Very Remarkable man Named Rais Bhuiyan, Who is a Survivor of My Hate. His deep Islamic Beliefs Have gave him the strength to Forgive the Un-forgiveable ... that is truly Inspiring to me, and should be an Example for us all. The Hate, has to stop, we are all in this world together." [includes rush transcript]

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