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. GUYinVA

    You've got to love how the list of other media outlets who donate to political organizations gets buried at the end of this article.

    August 17, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. Jim

    This is a surprise to anyone? NOT!

    August 17, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  3. Lynne

    Just wishing the public didn't need a donation like this to clarify the obvious....

    August 17, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. Me

    The DNC is so late. Maybe we should make Keith Olbermann head of the DNC. That would be awesome!!

    August 17, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  5. cf

    And is anyone really surprised? The saddest part is, there will be little to no uproar or outrage over this, as such behavior from Fox "News" is by this point expected and accepted.

    August 17, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. Alex

    Ok now radical righties, is it now totally obvious that Fox is the GOP's propaganda arm? Is there a need for any more evidence?

    August 17, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. bj

    Fox News and its cohorts are no more than the night riders that support any biggoted statement, possition and action (if we are not watching). They have probably donated more.

    August 17, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. Rose

    If the DNC got that donation you would not hear a peep out of the Dems. I still question Obama's campaign donations.

    August 17, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  9. Larry

    This isn't news–FOX is a hack organization.

    August 17, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  10. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    What? I am shocked!! Shocked!! Hell, all Fox should do is change their funny slogan to "Fair and Balanced. Wink, wink. Ching, ching."

    August 17, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  11. Yugo

    Other 'media' companies donate to the democrats true – but those organizations are not the propaganda arm of that party the way Fox News is. There hasn't been any credibility associated with the organization or its certifiably crazy talking heads whom they employ.

    August 17, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  12. Pat

    The amoral hypocrites strike again.

    August 17, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  13. Ancient Texan

    Fox is the only news channel that actually has the news and also opinion. All the others are 100% Obama propaganda outlets. Since Fox has the largest viewer audience, do you think all those viewers are all Republicans? No, it folks who want the truth, not Obama adoration.

    August 17, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  14. Honest American

    Jeff, Alabama: Put your robe and hood down, go get a cold one, sit down and relax. Oh, and if you have any change left, send it to the RNC.

    August 17, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  15. bobby

    Im sorry i must have read the story wrong. From what I read, all the other news outlets contributed more to Democrats than Republicans. So basically the majority of the networks are biased towards the liberals. Thank you Foxnews for a little bit of relief!

    August 17, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  16. Conservative Democrat

    Like we didn't know that they were insanely biased before. Not that MSNBC is much better. The only difference is that MSNBC actually uses facts to disprove some of the totally fact-less and baseless things that FOX says. However, I've never seen a story on MSNBC that actually agreed with or praised any position taken by Conservatives.

    August 17, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  17. Naqib

    LOL...
    REALLY

    Like Time, NY Times, Washington POST, MSMBC, etc parent companies don't donate... give me a break!

    Boy the Dems are reaching... good luck with that... at least their not blaming Bush... now it's Fox

    August 17, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  18. rand

    Let's see.GE is in bed with NBC and NBC is in bed with Obama yet Fox news can't make a donation without everyone going crazyy. Liberals are such hypocrites.........

    August 17, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. Clwyd

    Just another conflict of interests approach by FOX. Why do they have Pathetic Palin, Huckabee and so many other nut case right wing extremists lying for them?

    August 17, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  20. I_M_Fletch

    Uh...so. CNN has been the Dumbocrats sounding board from day one!

    August 17, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  21. aunt Bea and Opie

    Poor Jeff.He must sit in his mommas cellar all day listning to AM talk radio,hahaha

    August 17, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  22. Bobby Ray

    This is not unusual, the profit making arm of the company just kicked some cash to the another arm of the same company. Of course this is on top of the free airtime provided to all good conservatives that FNC provides. FOX NEWS for when you want your news foxed up!

    August 17, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  23. Chris

    Cue report on CNN, where John King asks the imbecilic question "Are Fox News really biased?". There will likely be a public opinion poll too!

    Can't wait.

    August 17, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  24. Tim

    Why is this a suprise? Fox if the Republican News station. For a station to never say anything negative about a Rebuplican? Come on!!! They need to change their tag line to fair and balanced, if you are a Republican!!!!

    August 17, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  25. Bill from SoCal

    I really hope no one is surprised by this? The only surprise here is that Fox News removed what little ambiguity may have existed in their most naive of viewers about where their ideological preference lies.

    August 17, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
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