Fox News Accuses "Mole" of Larceny; Fox News Steals Stuff All the Time | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

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Fox News Accuses "Mole" of Larceny; Fox News Steals Stuff All the Time

Renegade Fox News employee Joe Muto got a lot of attention when he joined Gawker and started writing dispatches from the inside of the Murdoch empire. He got only one post in before he was found out and fired from Fox, with a follow-up letter from the legal folks being sent to Gawker threatening legal action over "information and videos that have been unlawfully obtained."

Gawker responded by publishing a picture of Bill O'Reilly with a topless woman.

Well, yesterday Muto got a visit from the cops, who served a search warrant accusing the "Fox Mole" of grand larceny, petit larceny, and computer tampering. Man, Rupert Murdoch sure doesn't like people rooting around in his business. Muto explains it best: "I should have done something more innocuous, like hacked a dead girl's phone and interfered with a police investigation."

He's right to point out the hypocrisy. But, transcontinental phone-hacking scandal aside, Fox News steals stuff every single day.

Since we're already talking about unlawfully obtained information, let's talk about Fox Nation. It's a section of the Fox News website reserved for a giant collection of aggregated stories. They're pulled together using a complex system called "just take it and hope no one notices."

We noticed when they did it to the Pulp -- they jacked one of our stories, byline and all, back in January, then took it down when we wrote about it. But it's far, far from an isolated incident: They got almost 2,000 Facebook likes on a story posted Monday, for example, that jacks entire paragraphs from a post on South Florida political blog the Shark Tank.

The story was about an unnamed source telling the Shark Tank that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz wasn't Barack Obama's first choice for leader of the Democratic National Committee. It also says Obama told Wasserman Schultz, "Don't forget you work for me."

Fox Nation took the top half of the post and changed pretty much nothing, even attributing the information to "as per our source." Even if you set aside the questionable journalism of copying information from a blogger's anonymous source, it's copyright infringement. And that's against the law, Rupert.

There is also a bunch of stories just from yesterday that don't bother paraphrasing anything -- they stole, for example, the first three paragraphs of a Politico story, which might be small enough to be considered fair use if the whole story weren't six paragraphs long. There's the five paragraphs they took from an eight-paragraph story on the New York Post website, the four paragraphs they took from a five-paragraph Washington Examiner column... This isn't hard to find. The stolen stories are cleverly categorized under "all of the damn stories."

They also hit a plagiarism home run yesterday, stealing an entire blog post from Hot Air Pundit. That alone would be good enough for a triple, but the poor slobs frantically posting these things get that extra base because Hot Air Pundit stole the work straight out of a CNN story from the day before.

It's starting to look like... like a double plagiarism.

So yeah, maybe Muto wasn't supposed to be snagging footage of Sean Hannity revealing brain-bubbling hypocrisy before an interview with Mitt Romney. But Muto's not the only one who's been lifting material.