Fox News's astroturfers who defend the network online with armies of fake identities

In his new book Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires, NPR's David Folkenflik details how Fox News employees maintain dozens (and, in at least one case, over 100) different message-board accounts that they use to flood the comments of blogs that criticize Fox.

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NewsCorp shareholders make another bid to democratize the Murdoch family empire

The traditional shareholder revolt at NewsCorp (owner of Fox, Fox News, Sky, Harper Collins, the NY Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Sun) is back for another run, and this time it's gathering steam and may indeed make it. Rupert Murdoch and his family own a minority of the shares in NewsCorp, but their shares are in a special class of voting stock that means that they effectively get to do whatever they want with the majority investors' money. Effectively, Murdoch's initial pitch to investors was, "I'll take your money, but I'm not interested in your advice -- just cough up, shut up, and let me run this thing and I'll pay you some fat dividends."

But it's all gone rather wrong. Murdoch's ideological projects and nepotism have cost the business millions -- between a sweetheart deal that saw the company buying his daughter Elisabeth's startup Shine for £413M of the shareholders' money, and his son James's presiding over a phone-hacking scandal that destroyed News of the World, the bestselling newspaper (sic) in Britain, the investors are getting a bit tired of Murdoch running NewsCorp like his own personal fiefdom. It's one thing to play Colonel Kurtz in the jungle when it's making the shareholders rich, but when you start frittering away titanic assets like the NotW because you need to give your idiot son a job, well, that's another story.

As I said, this isn't the first time the shareholders have taken a swing at Rupert and his spawn, but this is a bigger, more multi-pronged, and better coordinated approach that any to date. Fingers crossed.

Dissident shareholders are pressing once more for the media mogul Rupert Murdoch to step down as chairman of News Corporation.

Shareholders from the US, UK and Canada filed a resolution on Tuesday, calling for News Corp to appoint an independent chairman. A similar resolution attracted strong support at the media company's annual shareholder meeting last year.

The proposal was introduced by Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS), which manages $4.6bn for Catholic institutions worldwide. It is backed by the UK's Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, with assets of £115bn ($178.9bn), and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, one of Canada's largest institutional investors.

In a separate resolution, Nathan Cummings Foundation, an ethical investment group, has called on News Corp to end the dual-class share structure that allows the Murdoch family to control its media empire despite owning a minority of shares.

Rupert Murdoch must step down as News Corporation chair – shareholders [Dominic Rushe/The Guardian]

Fox's talking heads bear uncanny resemblance to Kids in the Hall


From Backdrops R Us, a grid of Fox News talking heads alongside classic shots of scenes from Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall (particularly members of the troupe in drag). The resemblances are uncanny.

FOX News Figures Strangely Resemble Kids In The Hall Characters (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

More plagiarism from Glee

Last weekend, I blogged about Jonathan Coulton's discovery that the TV show Glee had plagiarized his arrangement for "Baby's Got Back."

Now, the magnificent DJ Earworm writes, "This is my call-out tweet from last February, expressing surprise at the similarities between Glee's arrangement and my own which had aired just a few months previously. I didn't think much about it, but I read that Jonathan Coulton story, and it seemed so similar to my own experience, I thought I'd share."

@AfroBlueDC sang MY mashup on NBC last Nov. … Now I find out @GLEEonFOX aired/sells SAME combo?! (Thanks, DJ Earworm)

Fox News broadcasts a live suicide

Yesterday, Fox News aired live footage of a man in Phoenix shooting himself in the head. According to the Times of India Fox got so excited about following a carjacking suspect in a high-speed chase that they forgot to cut the feed (which ran on a five-second delay) when he got out of his car, ran a short distance, pulled out a pistol, put it to his temple, and committed suicide.

"He's looking kind of erratic, isn't he?... It's always possible the guy could be on something," said Smith in a running commentary, unaware of what was about to happen.

Turning into some bushes, the suspect then pulled out a handgun, put it to his right temple and collapsed.

On air, Smith shouted "get off it! get off it!" in a plea to his studio colleagues to halt the live feed.

In the hours that followed, YouTube scrambled to delete the video almost as quickly as its users were posting it, saying it violated its terms of service.

US carjacking suspect shoots self in head... live on TV

Dan Harmon close to finding a new home at Fox -- would Community be better off there, too?

Coming on the tails of NBC's news that they'd be pursuing "broader" projects for their comedy lineup, Fox has announced that they're moving forward on a possible new sitcom being written by the former showrunner of Community, Dan Harmon. There aren't any details about the show yet, just that they've signed him on to write such a series, but is there a chance that Harmon will find himself more at home here than at NBC? Fox is, after all, the channel that brought us Arrested Development. Then again, they also canceled Arrested Development after just three seasons. But considering the shows they currently have on the air -- like Emmy-nominated quirkfests The New Girl and Raising Hope -- maybe Fox has seen the error of their ways?

And could Community pull a Buffy and find more success at a different network?

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Shep Smith makes a political funny

Say what you will about Shep Smith's politics and personality, he pretty much nailed the cognitive dissonance of Mitt Romney's reaction to Gingrich dropping out of the GOP race.

Shep Smith reacts to Mitt Romney reacting to Newt Gingrich quitting (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Jon Stewart on Fox's response to Warren Buffett's "socialism"

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Jon Stewart is in fine form in these clips in which he highlights the absurdity of Fox's headless-chicken impression in the wake of Warren Buffet stating the fact that there's something weird when billionaire contribute smaller proportions of their wealth to the upkeep of society than their cleaning ladies. I swear, I don't know why they air The Daily Show at night: I love it first thing in the morning, just the tonic to ginger up the blood.

Daily Show: FOX News Class Warfare: $700 Billion From Rich or Poor? (via Reddit)