The following is a fictional account of the creation of NewsCorp.Sucks.
Bryan Bissonnette recently quit his job as a fact-checker at the New York Post after being instructed to ignore an intentionally erroneous article about Vice-President Kamala Harris. The Post—which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp—claimed that the Veep was distributing her children’s book, Superheroes Are Everywhere, to migrants in Southern California, only the story wasn’t true.
“Rupert Murdoch is notorious for his political interference through media manipulation,” explained Bissonnette. “He almost destroyed America during the 2016 presidential election, and I won’t let him do that again in 2024. Someone has to take a stand against the monsters dominating Big Media.”
For Bissonnette, quitting was just the tip of the iceberg and did little to address his primary source of frustration. But after stumbling across the .SUCKS website and reading about how GotMilk.Sucks could be used to illuminate the dark arts of the dairy industry, he was struck with an idea—to set up his own website and arm himself with a voice. “I want to call out Murdoch and News Corp for their lies. I hope I start a movement that finally holds these undemocratic puppeteers accountable.”
How NewsCorp.Sucks Corrects the Story
Bissonnette registered the NewsCorp.Sucks domain and began collecting links to News Corp-published stories that were flagrantly inaccurate or surreptitiously biased. But it wasn’t just the sensationalism of the Post that concerned him.
The Wall Street Journal built a reputation on fact-based reporting since its first publication before the turn of the 20th century. In 2007, Murdoch bought the paper, and Bissonnette began noticing a lack of external sources supporting its stories and an editorial board that unapologetically swerved to the right.
“The Wall Street Journal built its reputation on reliability, but they’re barely above average when it comes to the facts,” noted Bissonnette. “The danger of News Corp is that the Post could publish some nonsense, which would be aggregated by the Journal, and then turned into an endless cycle by the talking-head buffoons on Fox News.”
A Twitter account he created to promote the website and its discoveries was quickly inundated with like-minded citizens sharing their experiences with bias in the media. Bissonnette hopes that the movement he’s initiated will include grassroots media organizations, such as RocaNews or Media Matters For America, as their audiences could help push to restore unbiased reporting in the media.
“That’s this endeavor’s essential aspect—restoring trust in the media,” said Bissonnette. “I’m not interested in an echo chamber where my already existing views are confirmed. And I’m not interested in sensationalist accounts from the other side. I just want facts, so I can make decisions for myself.”
Bissonnette notes that while News Corp and the Murdoch family may be the most egregious disseminators of factual inaccuracies, they’re hardly alone. Other giants in the information ecosystem have similar flaws in their reporting, and deserve similar accountability measures such as the one NewsCorp.Sucks provides.
Lately, one such source has come under Bissonnette’s watchful eye—cable news behemoth CNN. Ironically, it’s when the network canceled its Reliable Sources show that Bissonnette began to grow concerned.
“It’s a little too on-the-nose,” snorted Bissonnette. “Reliable Sources was a show that talked about objectivity in the media and promoted some degree of responsible journalism. Getting rid of that program was an ominous harbinger of things to come.”
He notes that the #BoycottCNN hashtag is a great first step, but would be well complemented by a CNN.Sucks website that could act as a coherent hub for all of future evidence of the network’s heel turn—especially with Twitter likely to exist in a state of perpetual volatility under its new ownership.
“I’d love to go after CNN, and Musk, and Bezos, and all of the other ills and evils pulling at the strings of our society, but I just don’t have the time,” sighs Bissonnette. “NewsCorp.Sucks is my primary focus. We’re looking for an army of disruptors who use a .SUCKS domain as a way to grab attention and gather resources.”
Bissonnette loves the bold statement a .SUCKS domain makes, “and that’s before you’ve even entered the site. Using ‘sucks’ is an instant attention-grabber.” While the media organizations he focuses on need to be more sober in their presentation, the community serving as their watchdog can employ a splashier presentation.
By fabricating stories or massaging the truth contained in them, news organizations deprive the world its ability to make informed decisions. “Truth” is singular and shouldn’t have variations. With political instability, rampant violence, and an earth just beginning to experience the dire consequences of a changing climate, a trustworthy source of information isn’t just for the morning commute—it’s potentially the difference between life and death.