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Rupert Murdoch Wanted A Fox News-Style Channel In Britain: BBC Chief

First Posted: 12/20/10 08:23 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:20 PM ET

Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch wanted to turn his British Sky News network into a Fox News-style, opinion-heavy channel, the head of the BBC said in a speech last week.

According to the Guardian, Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, told an audience at a seminar on impartiality in broadcasting that Murdoch "had told him he would like Sky News to go down a polemical 'Fox-style' route - but that the editors of the channel had brushed off his wishes."

The revelation came during a speech where Thompson caused some surprise by saying he thinks Britain's strict impartiality laws on television and radio are outmoded. (Television and radio hosts are not allowed to endorse political parties or take political positions on air.) As the Guardian noted, this makes Thompson an unlikely ally of the Murdochs--sworn enemies of the BBC--who have also called for the easing of the standards.

"Why shouldn't the public be able to see and hear, as well as read, a range of opinionated journalism and then make up their own mind what they think about it?" Thompson said. "...Why not entire polemical channels which have got stronger opinions? I find the argument persuasive."

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Filed by Jack Mirkinson  |