Big media rumble in New York today. It all started when Time Warner announced that it would carry the new MSNBC all-news channel on its cable systems nationwide, including the two which cover most of New York City, and exclude the Fox News channel which launched on Monday. Time Warner is merging with Turner Broadcasting, parent of CNN--and Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch, father of Fox, aren't exactly pals. Murdoch has denounced CNN for its "liberal" bias while Turner recently compared Murdoch to Hitler.

Murdoch, who also owns a television station and a newspaper in New York, found an ally in the city's mayor, Rudolph Giuliani. The mayor says he thinks that his citizens ought to have access to all sorts of information.

So last night, he turned one of the city's public-access cable channels over to Bloomberg News (a business-information network which also hadn't found a home on Time Warner Cable) and planned to do the same for Fox News tonight. The networks would have to run without commercials as long as they're on the city's channels.

Time Warner says that Giuliani is trying to pressure it to accept Fox and Bloomberg, in violation of TW's First Amendment rights. "Unlawful and politically-motivated" is how the company characterizes the Mayor's actions in a statement released today.

Tonight, TW won a court order temporarily preventing the city from airing Bloomberg or Fox.

For his part, Giuliani used a press conference today to denounce TW's "attack mentality." "The idea of going to court to try to stop communications doesn't sound to me like a First Amendment argument," he added. A spokeswoman for the mayor says Giuliani still hopes that TW, Fox and Bloomberg will come to an agreement.

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