Upcoming Ads Get Tough on Murdoch

NEW YORK A series of TV and print ads asserting that News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch wants complete control of U.S. media will launch this week.

The campaign was conceived by MoveOn.org and Common Cause, two public advocacy organizations, and produced by Zimmerman and Markman in Los Angeles.

The campaign breaks in advance of the Federal Communications Commission’s June 2 media consolidation ruling, which will determine new ownership rules across media. Both organizations are concerned that the FCC is likely to loosen media ownership rules further and that it will put Murdoch in a position to take further control of U.S. media. News Corp media holdings include the Fox TV network, eight cable networks, 34 TV stations, newspapers, movie studios, publishing and record companies.

The TV spot focuses on Murdoch and a channel surfer’s inability to get the octogenarian media mogul off his screen regardless of which channel he visits. A voiceover then declares, “On June 2nd, the Republicans on the FCC plan to get rid of an important regulation so that Rupert Murdoch can buy more TV stations, radio stations and newspapers, giving him control over much of the news you hear.” The spot ends with the tagline, “This monopoly is no game.”

“I understand that these organizations need a scary monster to point to in order to alarm their audience,” said Nicholas Weinstock, a News Corporation spokesman. “I think they’ve selected Rupert Murdoch with blatant disregard for the facts about News Corporation or the reality of the American media market.”

The print ads depict Murdoch on NBC, CBS, ABC and on News Corp’s Fox with the headline: “This Man Wants to Control the News in America. The FCC Wants to Help Him.”

The legal departments of Comcast, Time Warner Cable and other cable and broadcast operators are currently reviewing the TV spot for content, but so far none have declined to run it, according to a representative for MoveOn.org.

Print ads will run this week in The New York Times, Washington Post and elsewhere. The TV spots are slated to start May 29 in Washington, D.C., and in New York.

This story updates a previously posted item.