Tuesday, April 20, 2010
What would you do if you became the CEO of Fox News?
There is some legitimacy about questioning the future of Fox News, not because of its profitability, but because Rupert Murdoch's kids seem to hate each other and, possibly, him as well.
Given the question of what would I do if magically promoted to CEO / Chairman of Fox News, my reaction was clear and immediate - shut the damn thing down, turn off the lights, go home, collect enough brownie points to get into the heavens of every religion ever. But my trusted girlfriend, Dianna, had the nerve to point out some holes in my argument: News Corp, Fox's parent company, has approximately 64,000 employees. These are obviously not all bad people, or even biased / misguided journalists. And given that most journalistic outfits are in the shits right now, Fox News may be one of the larger employers of "journalists" in the U.S.
So let's say one day yours truly walks in and kills the power. What happens? Families from rich to small have suddenly lost their main source of income, and replacement jobs may not be around the corner. For the families lower in the food chain, given the competitive job market out there, I may have just sent them down the road to financial ruin, or even alcoholism and or homelessness, all based upon my lofty ideals. Do those families give a shit about journalistic objectivity when they are facing joblessness? After all, maligned or not, Fox isn't killing babies, just informed pubic discourse.
If I did Deep-Six the whole thing, would another, more conservative group be waiting to grab the market share and start the whole thing over again? Certainly there's a market for this stuff. And think about this - Rupert Murdoch may suck, but he is a shrewd businessman and and his brains do employ thousands. So even if I did get the reins and decided not to close it down, what if I can't pull this off and the whole company goes down the drain anyway? It's like the Sandman comic where Morpheus is given the key to Hell. Whether he keeps it or gives it away, he's still screwed.
I tried to reframe the argument, saying that owning a business denotes responsibility for its actions. So if I owned a toxic waste dumping company, I would be morally responsible for its actions, and since I do my best to live an ethical existence, I would have to shut it down. But once again the issue of jobs comes up. What if this dumping company was the only industry in town (America has so few left, you know) and by shutting it down I'd turn the place into Detroit. Could I live with THAT?
Someone in my head, I hear the voice of Ben Parker: With Great Power comes Great Responsibility.... (Sweet, two comic references in one article!)