April 6, 2009
Fox News Columnist Pays Big Price for Reviewing a Pirated Movie
By BROOKS BARNES
Roger Friedman, an entertainment columnist for FoxNews.com, discovered over the weekend just what Rupert Murdoch means by “zero tolerance” when it comes to movie piracy.
On Friday, the film studio 20th Century Fox — owned by the News Corporation, the media conglomerate ruled by Mr. Murdoch — became angry after reading Mr. Friedman’s latest column. (Movie bloggers had started opining about it late Thursday, alerting the studio.) The subject was “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” a big-budget movie that was leaked in unfinished form on the Web last week.
Mr. Friedman posted a minireview, adding, “It took really less than seconds to start playing it all right onto my computer.”
The film studio, which enlisted the F.B.I. last week to hunt the pirate, put out a statement calling Mr. Friedman’s column “reprehensible,” among other things. Then the News Corporation weighed in with its own statement, saying it asked had Fox News to remove the column from its Web site. (It did.)
Over the weekend, the Web site Deadline Hollywood Daily reported that Mr. Friedman had been dismissed. Sure enough, on Sunday came a revised statement from the News Corporation. “When we advised Fox News of the facts,” the statement said, “they promptly terminated Mr. Friedman.”
Interestingly, Fox News has been relatively silent. In a statement released on Sunday, the network said, “This is an internal matter that we aren’t prepared to discuss at this time.”
Efforts to reach Mr. Friedman were unsuccessful.
I am not defending Mr. Friedman, I believe he probably should have lost his job. I do suspect though that someone else as FoxNews.com was just as guilty for allowing the story to run.
What he did was run a review of the new X-men movie. There is speculation that this could cost 20th Century Fox millions on opening day.
What I do find amusing though is that this is the state of the media in the US. We have effectively reached a point in the American media in which there are no longer any standards. Reporters are held to no real guidelines for integrity. Reporters show biases with impunity and, let's say "stretch" the truth at times. How often do we see a reporter fired for any of these reasons?
Cost the home office millions though and your out of here.