March 29, 2013

Jon Stewart roasts Rupert Murdoch over his bid to buy the LA Times. Murdoch already had a chance at the news publishing business with his News of The World rag, which blew up in his face over criminal activities and now new arrests. So why would he be given a special waiver to buy the storied newspaper?

It appears that Murdoch's hope rest on one man's shoulders.

In weighing a bid for The Los Angeles Times, Rupert Murdoch finds himself in a familiar role: waiting for rule changes from the government. With the resignation last week of Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, he may have to wait a little longer.

Mr. Murdoch, who has never shied away from a regulatory battle, has been beefing up News Corporation’s lobbying efforts in Washington in the last few months to urge regulators to revise a media ownership rule that would prevent the company from acquiring The Los Angeles Times and other newspapers in markets in which it already owns television stations.“He wants it,” one person close to Mr. Murdoch said of The Los Angeles Times.“They’re working on getting a waiver now,” added this person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal talks. But another person close to Mr. Murdoch said he currently considered a potential deal more trouble than it is worth given the regulatory hurdles in Washington.

The resignation of Mr. Genachowski, a Democrat, could further stall a plan favored by the departing chairman that would relax a longtime ban on consolidation between television stations and newspapers in local markets. The F.C.C. signaled on Friday that a vote on easing media ownership rules would move forward despite Mr. Genachowski’s departure.Initially expected to be presented for a vote early this year, the measure has already faced several setbacks. Last month, Mr. Genachowski said there would be no vote until the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, a Washington-based nonprofit, completed a study of the impact of cross-ownership on news gathering. That process could take several weeks, potentially pushing a vote to the summer.

(h/t Heather@VideoCafe)

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