Friday, November 24, 2006

When Networks Jump the Gun

Last week, JG's great blog entry discussed how News Corp. (parent company of FOX and Harper Collins) was planning to air an O.J. Simpson special on how he ‘would have committed’ the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, as well as publish O.J.’s memoir on the same issue.

Unlike NBC which refused to stoop to FOX’s level, FOX’s initial decision suggested that they favor ratings over ethics. News Corp. most likely used the Potter’s Box upside down or favored the belief that if enough Americans are sick enough to watch O.J. back at it again, why not air the content.

But in a dramatic turnaround this past week, New Corp. retracted its initial decision and issued the following apology: "I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project," News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch said. "We are sorry for any pain that this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson."

So, the question becomes... does retracting a decision that was terrible in the first place make FOX/News Corp. look even worse? If Rupert Murdoch was able to produce an apology and understand that he had caused pain to a few too many members of society - why did he consider airing the O.J. special in the first place?

It would look better if networks convened, used every possible resource at their disposal to make ethical, moral and beneficial decision to both their company and the public, and then proceeded without having to retract their steps at a later point.

Jumping the gun, and apologizing later often makes companies like News Corp. appear as though they never think things through in the first place. New Corp. looks almost as bad as if it had aired the show in the first place.



At Sunday, November 26, 2006, Anonymous JG said...

I don't think News Corp. had any idea how much negative publicity they would receive following their decision to air O.J.'s interview. I think they were more concerned with earning the buck than with the feelings of those they offended in the process. Retracting its decision, however, shows the network is man enough to admit wrong and take responsibility for actions ill-made. I think people will still look down on FOX, but at least they didn't follow through with the interview and make people even more upset than they already were.

At Sunday, November 26, 2006, Anonymous EG said...

I am also glad that FOX backed down from its decision to air the O.J. special, but the whole thing is still as bizzare and disturbing as ever. Just another indication that money is the ultimate decision-maker in too many media boardrooms.


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