W&W Morning Run: Groups Call for Feds to Investigate Murdoch Empire

The knives are out…

The widening phone hacking scandal in Britain has certainly riveted journalists and politicians, but across the pond some public interest groups are anxious for federal investigators and even Congress to probe the practices of News Corp.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is calling on Congress to investigate allegations that News of the World journalists hacked the voicemails of 9/11 victims. CREW has sent a letter to the leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, with CREW’s executive director Melanie Sloan saying that “It is becoming increasingly clear this scandal was not perpetrated by a few rogue reporters, but was systematically orchestrated at the highest levels of News Corp.”

Another org, Protect Our Elections, sent a letter to the FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission, calling for investigations into whether the phone hacking constituted a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Gore’s Rebrand: Al Gore announced the launch today of the Climate Reality Project, a new effort to mobilize support for action on climate change. It will start with a global event on Sept. 14 and 15 called “24 Hours of Reality,” in which scientists, celebrities, activists and business leaders will (again) try to command the public’s attention about the climate crisis. Gore writes, “The climate crisis is a reality, and we are seeing its impacts in extreme weather all around the world. Using the same deceitful playbook as big tobacco used years before to mislead the public about the dangers of smoking, oil and coal companies and their allies are now deceiving the public about climate change. They have nearly unlimited resources to sow doubt, but we have one critical advantage: Reality is on our side.”

Album Launch: Candidates have capitalized on the attention from presidential campaigns to launch TV careers, books and even movie projects, and now Herman Cain has done them all one better: he’s got a new gospel album. It’s not so odd when you consider the music career of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) or, further back, Watergate committee chairman, Sen. Sam Ervin (D-N.C.), who recorded a cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

“Gilligan” on the Floor: Hatch didn’t sing on the Senate floor on Monday, but is defending his comments about the poor last week by invoking Jim Backus. Update: Fortuitous? Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of “Gilligan,” died this morning.

Conan Conflict: Conan O’Brien took a swipe at Tim Pawlenty, so the candidate came back with a quip about the comedian’s hair.

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