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Tilting at Windmills

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August 18, 2010

NEWS CORP'S GOP DONATION RAISES EYEBROWS.... Media conglomerates don't often give $1 million to a political party to help influence statewide campaigns. It's encouraging, then, that News Corp's seven-figure check to the Republican Governors Association is generating some discussion.

The contribution from Mr. Murdoch's News Corporation, which owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post and other news outlets, is one of the biggest ever given by a media organization, campaign finance experts said.

Democrats seized on the donation as evidence of the News Corporation's conservative leanings, with Media Matters for America, a liberal group that has tangled often with the company, calling it "an appendage of the Republican Party."

But News Corporation executives said the political priorities at the Republican Governors Association and its emphasis on low taxes and economic growth dovetailed with the company's own concerns. "News Corp. has always believed in the power of free markets, and organizations like the R.G.A., which have a pro-business agenda, support our priorities at this most critical time for our economy," said Jack Horner, a company spokesman.

What a terrific response. News Corp is facing questions about the propriety of a media conglomerate giving Republicans a cool million, and as a defense, the corporation effectively replies, "But we really like Republicans."

We know. That's why the check was written. The point isn't whether News Corp and Republicans have a shared worldview; the point is whether the financial support is appropriate.

At a minimum, it's breaking new ground: "Dave Levinthal, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, said seven-figure donations from anyone to '527' associations were unusual, but a $1 million donation from a news organization was particularly rare." A Politico report added that the contribution "isn't business as usual -- in either size or style."

What's more, Amanda Terkel noted that News Corp's own "Standards of Business Conduct" may prohibit exactly the kind of financial support the company is providing the Republican Governors Association, but like the media company's journalistic principles, it appears these standards may be malleable.

Steve Benen 8:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (26)

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There should be some way that we can get our TV packages (in my case - Satelite) to remove Fox from the menu, if we pay for a package to include Fox, are we contributing to Republican propaganda and should we be forced to pay for a hate channel spouting anti democratic hysteria.

Posted by: js on August 18, 2010 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

This issue cannot be allowed to go away.

Posted by: anon on August 18, 2010 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

Howard Kurtz is the D.C. insiders' designated authority on journalistic ethics. He might concede that this raises eyebrows, but some survey conducted in the mid-90s showing that reporters tended to vote Democrat proves that liberal media bias is the real issue. End of story.

Posted by: Ted on August 18, 2010 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

Why speak truth to power when you can go out shopping for some of that power! With its power,(market share, ratings, etc.), FOXNEWS wants to set the standard for truth!

Would you trust someone of the likes of Stevie Doocey to give you a straight story (pun intended), or observe in the vein of Cantor,

Come On! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on August 18, 2010 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

On Huffington this morning, I think it is a brilliant idea for the labor people to mobilize the hundreds of thousands of people who are un-employed, they could be a terrific voting base to counter the cash of the GOP.

Posted by: js on August 18, 2010 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

I like the idea of real people with real issues claiming their fair share of attention in real time .
This then as an image the killing field of filters through the nihilism of Murdoch and gang should only be able to filigree at the useless point between attention and fact .

Posted by: FRP on August 18, 2010 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

Ted,
Color me stupid, but to me, there's a HUGE difference between individuals in a news organization donating, to an entire "news" organization donating.
No?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on August 18, 2010 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

Writing in a hurry while doing a great job, Steve observes " . . . it appears these standards may be malleable."

That's what I call "a double maybe." I'd make it "It appears these standards ARE malleable," instead of "may be." Or simply "These standards may be malleable."

Even that is giving News Corp. the benefit of the doubt. You can bet the ranch: These standards are malleable.

Posted by: Jerry Elsea on August 18, 2010 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

Looking on the Bright Side (and the pony in the pile of manure) fewer and fewer people watch ANY TeeVee news today.

-and, only motivated voters go to the polls. So, let's go motivate a few.

Posted by: DAY on August 18, 2010 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

Two things occur to me...a million-chump change so it's the symbolism of the gesture...and if it is "rare" then it's happened before...who gave and to whom? That seems to be conveniently left out of the conversation...wow...there's a surprise...

Posted by: Dancer on August 18, 2010 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

Even "malleable" is much too discreet. The truth is that these standards are obviously a fraud, since News Corp has broken them as soon as they judged it was in their financial interests to do so.

Posted by: davidp on August 18, 2010 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

I think, out of sensitivity to the Middle Class who have suffered an enormous and violent act of terrorism over the last three years, Rupert Murdoch should not be allowed to build a political empire on the hallowed ground of the United States.

Posted by: chrenson on August 18, 2010 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK
What's more, Amanda Terkel noted that News Corp's own "Standards of Business Conduct" may prohibit exactly the kind of financial support the company is providing the Republican Governors Association, but like the media company's journalistic principles, it appears these standards may be malleable.

News Corp. has "standards"???

Posted by: Jim H on August 18, 2010 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

In the magical kingdom of right wingerie , where facts and figures never trouble the peaceful brows of the lords and lassies , it remains the constant source of pride that fantasy is on their side .

Posted by: FRP on August 18, 2010 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

What about the other services Fox provides to the Republican party. It showcases it's candidates, pushes its memes. They provide media services worth way more than the million here. Should that also count as a contribution?

Posted by: tsubasa16 on August 18, 2010 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

But News Corporation executives said the political priorities at the Republican Governors Association and its emphasis on low taxes and economic growth dovetailed with the company's own concerns.

It's official, then. They make no attempt to cover the fact that we are now (and have been) a corporatocracy, with corporations protected as 'individuals' and with real individual human beings as pawns in their ever-more-blatant game of owning all of us. Neo-feudalism disguised as free market ideals and capitalism.

The circle is complete.

Posted by: terraformer on August 18, 2010 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

So why give to the Republican Governors Association. Because the governors will help redraw congressional and state legislative lines after the 2010 census.

It is the Tom DeLay tactic made national. Get legislative lines drawn to benefit Republicans, get more Republicans in Congress, then get bills passed to benefit corporations - free markets, less regulations, etc.

Posted by: Sheridan on August 18, 2010 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

"A Politico report added that the contribution "isn't business as usual -- in either size or style."

Okay, when Politico fails to back up a right-wing GOP activity, it's definitely out of bounds. I myself am loving this--it completely refudiates all the FoxNews fans' claims that the network is without bias.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on August 18, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

I know this is an easy game to play, but can you imagine how Fox would have reacted had MSNBC given a seven-figure check to the Democratic Governors Assn.? "Liberal media! Liberal media!"

Posted by: Miki on August 18, 2010 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

it completely refudiates all the FoxNews fans' claims that the network is without bias.

The Fox News junkies in my family don't claim that FoxNews isn't biased. They just insist that it counterbalances the liberal biases of CNN and MSNBC and CBS and NBC and ABC. They know it's got a bias and they like it that way.

Having said that - I've got one brother that this will bother quite a bit - he's already on the fence about Fox and it's been pissing him off lately. This might push him over into shutting it off completely. But the rest of 'em won't care - they'll probably insist that CNN gives a ton of money to the Democrats too and that'll be that as far as they're concerned.

Posted by: NonyNony on August 18, 2010 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

It needs to be said over and over again until it sticks that this "fair and balanced" "news organization" catering to rightwing morons and their deepest fears is partly owned by a Saudi
Prince and an Aussie business man/fascist. This is Fox's achilles heel.

These America-loving "patriots" are being yanked by a Saudi prince. How do they square the fact that their all American channel is owned by a SAUDI PRINCE and an AUSSIE?

How does a racist and a xenophobe square the fact that they get all their information from a SAUDI PRINCE and an AUSSIE? Turn their hate around on them so they attack their own "news organization" for being owned by a SAUDI PRINCE and an AUSSIE.

FOX NEWS IS OWNED BY A SAUDI PRINCE AND AN AUSSIE!!!
FOX NEWS IS OWNED BY A SAUDI PRINCE AND AN AUSSIE!!!
FOX NEWS IS OWNED BY A SAUDI PRINCE AND AN AUSSIE!!!
FOX NEWS IS OWNED BY A SAUDI PRINCE AND AN AUSSIE!!!
FOX NEWS IS OWNED BY A SAUDI PRINCE AND AN AUSSIE!!!

Posted by: FoxSAUDINews on August 18, 2010 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

"Republican support for low taxes and economic growth dovetailed with the company's own concerns. "News Corp. has always believed in the power of free markets, and organizations like the R.G.A., which have a pro-business agenda,"

That's the same excuse that Target gave for donating corporate funds to a super-right-wing homophobe for governor of MN; Well, golly, gosh, Republicans have a pro-business agenda! It is clear that the Republicans support low taxes--they have created an option-crippling deficit with taxes that are lower than is good for the health of the nation--but economic growth? Really?

That's just a con, a fraud. Maybe that was true back in the day, slow learners, but all the evidence supports the opposite today. Unless by "economic growth" you mean that the USA slips in world standing, the economy crashes, businesses fail and the infrastructure collapses, unemployment remains high and inequality continues to grow. If your vision of a good future is a police/corporate dystopia, then, yes, Republican have "pro-economic growth" policies.

I wish we could crack this deception that Republicans are "pro-economic growth." Reactionaries like Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes call the Republicans "pro-economic growth" and "pro-business" because it supports the interests of businessmen like them...that is, the few, the rich and the powerful...against the interests of the nation, the people, the world.

Isn't there some way to revoke Fox News license to broadcast propaganda?

Posted by: PTate in MN on August 18, 2010 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't there some way to revoke Fox News license to broadcast propaganda?

Unfortunately, the license in question is a cultural license, and the only way to revoke it would be if it became socially unacceptable for a national news organization to be both an overt propaganda arm of a political party and a dishonest one.

Most newspapers have a point of view, but as long as they report the news more or less honestly, no one minds. Traditionally, the national news organizations, like the television networks or the AP, at least tried to be "fair and balanced" probably because they compared themselves to the partisan, dishonest operations run as mouthpieces for foreign governments.

All that tradition of intellectual and moral integrity has drifted away over the last three decades. The networks became more ratings oriented and their key players, the managers, editors, and anchors, became part of the Beltway media elite. At this point, moral integrity and honesty just are not valued much in Washington and New York. Ratings and connections are what brings you money and social rank.

You can lie and dissemble as much as you please on national television if you are high enough in the Beltway social hierarchy, and Fox, as an overt propaganda arm of the Republican Party, has elbowed its way to the top of that hierarchy.

Posted by: Midland on August 18, 2010 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Color me stupid, but to me, there's a HUGE difference between individuals in a news organization donating, to an entire "news" organization donating.

Of course there is -- but until now, the obvious point that the corporate owners of the media would amply counterbalance any so-called "liberal" tendencies of its reports hardly rated a mention. And why should it? Conservatives have a myth to construct, and they've never let pesky things like facts or logic get in their way.

Posted by: Gregory on August 18, 2010 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

How does a racist and a xenophobe square the fact that they get all their information from a SAUDI PRINCE and an AUSSIE? Turn their hate around on them so they attack their own "news organization" for being owned by a SAUDI PRINCE and an AUSSIE.

FOX "news" viewers don't really watch the channel to get actual facts or information; most could care less as long as their prejudices and skewed worldview is reinforced. If FOX came out tomorrow and said the Earth is flat, that nonsense would probably be instantly believed by 75% of their viewers. Every other legitimate news organization in the world could put Neil Armstrong himself on saying that, having flown in space, he'd seen the Earth and that it was indeed round, and it would have no effect on the "beliefs" of FOX viewers.

Proof of this would be watching what would happen if Rupert gave, say, a $500,000 donation to Nancy Pelosi, or a cool million to the Democrats. I'd bet FOX would lose ninety percent of its audience overnight. All they care about is that it's "their" channel, no matter what nonsense and propaganda it feeds them.

Posted by: electrolite on August 18, 2010 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

And what about the FCC? New's Corp is given a license to dispense the news, not promote a political party. So let's acknowledge that FOX supports Republican issues, maybe no more than MSNBC supports Democrats - in their news coverage and in the feature programming. But giving the RGC a $1 million check is a direct slap in the face, or more like directly flipping the bird at the FCC. What will they do to save face?

Posted by: Vandal on August 18, 2010 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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