Note to U.K. regulators: this is a terrible idea. Make sure you watch Robert Greenwald’s classic documentary Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War On Journalism and weep. Variety reports on the head of Murdoch’s U.K. based Sky News calling for the end of impartiality rules there:
The head of Sky News, the U.K. news web that is controlled by News Corp., has defended Fox News — and called for the scrapping of impartiality rules that prevent a U.K. version of Fox News being licensed in Britain.
John Ryley, speaking to the Cambridge Union Society Tuesday, said that he admired Fox News, which was recently under attack from Rupert Murdoch’s son-in-law Matthew Freud for undermining journalistic standards.
The Sky News topper said: “At Sky News, we provide impartial and independent news.
“That’s not because Ofcom (the U.K. media regulator) tells us to but because it’s what our audience expects of us. In simple terms, it’s good business for us to be impartial.”
Ryley added: “That’s not to say there aren’t different ways of approaching television news.
“Whatever you think of Fox News, there is no denying that it has shaken up the sometimes staid world of U.S. TV news by using commentators like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity alongside its core news output.
“Although it has my admiration, I know that the Fox News model would not be right for Sky News. For some, opinion will be the right path to follow. For us, it is impartiality.”
In an era of almost limitless information choice, Ryley said that it was “anachronistic, patronising and unnecessary” to “enforce a universal obligation of impartiality on all forms of television news.”
“We should trust journalists to exercise editorial judgements and we should trust viewers to choose the news that they want to consume,” he added.
Ryley’s endorsement of Fox News will be noted by commentators because it follows Freud’s attack in the New York Times on the controversial U.S. news web…
[continues in Variety]