August 17th, 2010
05:03 PM ET
4 years ago

Fox News takes heat for News Corporation's GOP donation

 Fox News' objectivity was called into question by the DNC on Tuesday after it was reported that the cable network's parent company - News Corporation - recently donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association.
Fox News' objectivity was called into question by the DNC on Tuesday after it was reported that the cable network's parent company – News Corporation – recently donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association.

(CNN) - The Democratic National Committee called into question Fox News' objectivity Tuesday after it was reported that the cable network's parent company – News Corporation – recently donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association.

"'Fair and Balanced' has been rendered utterly meaningless," Hari Sevugan, the DNC's national press secretary, said in a statement. "Any pretense that may have existed about the ties between Fox News and the Republican Party has been ripped violently away.

"No Republican who appears on Fox can be seen as answering to an independent press and all should appear with a disclaimer for who they truly are – the favored candidate of the corporate-friendly network. No Fox News political coverage can be seen as impartial and all of it should have a disclaimer for what it truly is – partisan propaganda."

News Corporation spokesman Jack Horner defended the donation.

"News Corporation believes in the power of free markets, and the RGA's pro-business agenda supports our priorities at this most critical time for our economy," Horner said in a statement to CNN.

Bloomberg was the first to report the contribution, based on the RGA's Internal Revenue Service filings. A review of the News Corporation IRS filings by CNN shows that a subsidiary of the company called News America Inc. made additional donations to both Democrats and Republicans in the 2010 election cycle, including $50,000 to the Democratic Attorneys General Association and $65,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee. Those committees, as well as their Democratic counterparts, are 527 groups, meaning they are not subject to campaign finance contribution limits.

While News Corporation has used its political action committee to shower Democrats with campaign contributions, the total of those donations is dwarfed by the $1 million check it cut to the RGA.

Data collected by CQ Moneyline shows that News Corporation, through its political action committee, has contributed over $105,500 to Democratic candidates in the 2010 election cycle, while donating $74,700 to Republicans during the same time period. News Corporation's PAC has also donated $7,500 to Democratic-affiliated leadership PACs and $14,500 to GOP-related PACs. News Corporation, owned by Rupert Murdoch, has also given a total of $45,000 to other Democratic and Republican committees.

On the Democratic side, that includes $30,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and $15,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. As for Republicans, News Corporation donated $30,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee and $15,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

A corporation's PAC is subject to a maximum spending limit of $5,000 per candidate per year and $15,000 per political party per year.

News Corporation is not alone among media corporations who donated to political parties and candidates, ultimately raising the issue of whether media companies and politics should mix.

"This is one piece of the puzzle that the public should consider when they are viewing coverage of politics," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics.

General Electric, which owns NBC, has also made substantial political contributions in the 2010 election cycle. For example, GE donated $688,900 to Democrats through its PAC this election cycle compared to $410,100 to Republicans. The company has also given $75,500 to Democratic-affiliated leadership PACs and $74,500 to Republican-affiliated leadership PACs.

Meanwhile, GE has donated $237,000 to the Democratic Governors Association and $205,000 to the Republican Governors Association.

The PAC of Time Warner, the parent company of CNN has given $70,500 to Democratic candidates in the 2010 election cycle compared with $41,500 to Republicans. Time Warner also donated $5,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The political action committee for Viacom, the parent company of CBS, has contributed $108,700 to Democratic candidates this election cycle and $64,000 to Republicans, according to CQ Moneyline. The PAC has also contributed $22,000 to Democratic-affiliated leadership PACs and $21,500 Republican-affiliated leadership PACs. Viacom also donated $4,000 to the Pennsylvania Democratic Party last April.

And Disney, the parent company of ABC, has given $110,500 to Democratic candidates and $95,000 to Republicans through its PAC. It has also donated $16,000 to Democratic-affiliated leadership PACs and $20,000 to Republican-affiliated committees. Disney has also given $11,000 to Democratic Party PACs and $20,000 to Republican Party PACs.

"The question is 'Are these companies credible when they say they are simply supporting the Democratic process,'" Krumholz said. "I think that is largely ignored by the public as an adequate explanation for these big checks."


Filed under: Fox News • GOP
soundoff (348 Responses)
  1. Curtis

    Does anyone want to buy my domain "PAIDFORPOLITICIANS.COM"? With politicians being bought by major corporations its sure has the potential for a lot of traffic :)

    August 17, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  2. Tony on the River

    Why is everyone shocked with the faux news on Fox News? I mean before he created Fox News, Rupert Murdoch created The Star tabloid.

    August 17, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  3. Todd

    Besides Fox, all of the major networks and MSNBC are equally liberally slanted. Those networks brought us the travesty and abomination of this presidency, which is only making the problems he "inherited from Bush" worse, and worse, and worse, and worse...

    August 17, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  4. Brook

    Sounds like a job for... [Fanfare] CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!!!

    (Or in the case of Fox News, "Captain Oblivious.")

    August 17, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  5. $1M is the least of it ...

    Faux also gives GOPs an outlet for their moronic proclamations which they term "news" - at least this donation makes official their unabashed shilling for a political party.

    August 17, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  6. chris

    HEY, it is their first amendment right to donate to whomever they wish. This just proves what the W.H stated earlier in the year. They are an arm of the GOP!

    August 17, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  7. Cliff

    Joshua College Station, TX August 17th, 2010 5:49 pm ET

    The thing that frightens me is that millions of honest people actually believe nearly everything that they see and hear on Fox News."

    Josh, what frightens me MORE is that people have been so dumbed down they believe sites like MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, NPR, etc.

    You should realize what these places are doing to twist the facts and convince you it is truth.

    Wake up B4 it is too late!

    August 17, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  8. aliou in Jacksonville, FL

    Dems should stop whinning. They can't sponsor a news outlet the way repuks do. Why?"?

    Freedom of speech is not free. Dems should have their own rado, tv, etc, just like fox and let that network speak and twist facts just like fox do. Then have their own following just like fox do. And all the crazzies from fox would have someone to answer them on TV and Radio.
    But no, Dems are too intellectually honest to "stoop that low."

    August 17, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  9. kayaker247

    want to see which way fox news is leaning? look no farther than the NY Post (owned and operated by those who own fox news)

    August 17, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  10. mobeer

    What a bunch of sorry, leftest liberals we have here! Why has Fox lead ALL the networks in rating for the last 12 years? Because they ARE fair & balanced, they give BOTH sides of the story in their news segments. Does CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, or CBS do that? NOOOOO!!! Remember, Glen Beck is Not a news segment, folks. Bill O'Riley ALWAYS has guests on both sides of a issue, but his Factor is also NOT a news segment. Now, Fox giving 1 mil to the RGA is probably at LEAST 5 mil LESS than the liberal left Media gives to the DNC. I know, it is all Bush's falt. The sooner you morons see that Obama is the one tearing this country apart with his radical views, the sooner this country will recover. The current administration has YET TO DO ANYTHING good for the American people! Yea, November will be big, for the American people, NOT for Democratic scum.

    August 17, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  11. denny

    If Fox wants to be right leaning, that's fine by me. Just don't mislead the public by saying you're Fair and Balanced.

    August 17, 2010 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  12. Anon2

    News Corp., which made the donation, owns the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal and Fox News. Why isn't CNN calling into question the objectivity of the Post or the WSJ? Why is it singling out Fox News with an inaccurate headline and an omission of key facts?

    August 17, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  13. Steve (the real one)

    One other issue Why do DEMS always seem to care what other do with there own money? After taxes, what I do with MY money is NUNYA! (that would be none ya business) . Why isn't the DNC questioning their peep networks or the unions? Is it because that where the big dollars come from? Absolutely!

    August 17, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  14. WhatDaPho

    A wise man once said. What do you say to a Glen Becks listener? Nice tooth man!!

    August 17, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  15. Jduppman96

    The truth has now been told.

    Fox is a Propaganda tool for the Republican Party.

    Far and balance network you are not. I'm glad you been exposed.

    August 17, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  16. Seriously

    I think it's a given that Fox favors the Right wing and MSNBC favors the Left, except for the morning when it's very balanced. The issue is that Fox uses every chance to fear-monger on every issue they can. How pathetic they are. I may not agree with everything that the Republicans say, but I can respect their views, just not when they are never challenged on Fox. I do watch Fox, otherwise I wouldn't feel like I could comment on this and know that they are NOT balanced at all. MSNBC on the other hand spends a lot of their time correcting what Fox has 'streched' the truth about or just flat out lied. Let call them what they are and not pretend. If the worse thing someone has to say is that Obama is not a citizen vs. his policies, then that says a lot....

    August 17, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  17. Michael

    Both Fox news and MSNBC are not viable for getting your news, except if you want to hear from the respective station that supports your views or if you like getting exercised due to the biases of the other side. I ignore them both. I try to look at a series of news sources to try to get a balanced and truthful reporting of the facts for a news story. Those two won't give it and I think most know that. So no surprise in the story.

    August 17, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  18. Riley

    What about Soros and his backing of far left wing radical liberals and his ties to NBC?

    August 17, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  19. joe

    no kidding! i never would have guessed. go figure.

    August 17, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  20. Pat

    This is as about as much of a surprise as Adam Lambert or Clay Akin coming out of the closet. Yes, I am a Democrat, but for those who say MSNBC is Fox's equal on the left, I totally agree. That's why I watch and read CNN. I don't want to listen to what my party or its supporters *think* I want to hear. With the exceptions of Nancy Grace, Jane Velez-Mitchel, Joy Behar, and the whole Showbiz Tonight, I love CNN and HLN! Larry King, Anderson Cooper, you guys rock!

    August 17, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  21. Jota

    How can any objective viewer say that MSNBC isn't biased toward the extreme left?

    August 17, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  22. Jason

    Some of their stories on political candidates are overt political advertisements masquerading as journalism. I'm not even talking about the bits on the editorial shows either.

    August 17, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  23. Dale

    And this is a suprise to, who?

    August 17, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  24. Mike

    Hey Joshua, the thing that frightens me is that millions of honest people actually believe nearly everything that they see and hear on . See what I did there?

    August 17, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  25. Disbelief

    Is there any wonder why the Republicans got rid of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine". Any wonder why the rigfht wing Supreme Court ruled that corporations can "contribute" any amount of money they want to politicians. Any wonder that Bush "won" the 2000 election as a result of the same right wing Supreme Court. Are you getting the pattern here?? Fox never was "news" and it never was "Fair and Balanced". Republicans have been chipping away at our democracy for decades – and they may have finally finished it off – with help from the right wing Supreme Court of course.....

    August 17, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14