Ethics group urges FCC to pull Fox licenses

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"It is well-established that News Corp. has been involved in one of the biggest media scandals of all time. Its reporters hacked voicemails and bribed public officials while top executives — including Rupert Murdoch — either approved the conduct or turned a blind eye,” Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director, said in a statement. 

“To say those responsible are not of good character is a colossal understatement — ‘despicable’ and ‘loathsome’ are more apt. Retaining U.S. broadcast licenses is a privilege, not a right. Based on its egregious actions, News Corp. should lose that privilege.”

CREW first urged the FCC to pull all 27 Fox licenses over the scandal in May, but the commission has not taken any action. 

Broadcast stations must file to renew their licenses every eight years.

The licenses of two Fox stations in Washington, D.C., and one in Baltimore are set to expire in October. The stations filed for renewal in June, but CREW's petition urges the FCC to deny the applications.

The petition would not affect Fox News, which is a cable channel.

A Fox spokesman declined to comment.

It is extremely rare for the FCC to revoke a station's license over ethics complaints, and it is unlikely that it would act against Fox. 

Pulling the licenses of Fox, which is widely seen as conservative, just before an election would be politically explosive for the Obama administration.