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. Alex

    HOW MUCH DOES General Electric DONATE TO DEMOCRATS?

    Gonna call out NBC on that one?

    August 17, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  2. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    So fair and balanced. But, Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels thought he was fair and balanced too. He would be very proud of what an immigrant has been able to do to a once great country.

    August 17, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  3. John

    Frank Rich and Paul Krugman aren't Democrats. They're Marxists! And they work for that unbiased protector of liberty, the NYT. Yeah, right.

    August 17, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  4. Steve

    I get my news from the most reliable sources: Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert. It's more entertaining and they are "equal opportunity satirists" who give it to all sides. Both can make us chuckle at the idiocy of America. Jon & Steve keep up the great work!

    August 17, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  5. Steve

    Enough with the right wing rhetoric about the liberal medial. It does not exist.
    There was nothing liberal about the media when it rubber stamped the Iraqi war. Next time please give an example of how CNN NBC and ABC cater to the Obama administration. And to say FOX is right leaning is like saying
    Bill Gates is in the upper income bracket.

    August 17, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  6. JMD

    Why is it that Fox supporters feel the need to apologize and justify the bias that even THEY perceive by pointing at other networks? Perhaps because they are clueless about what it means to be a journalist? Providing BOTH SIDES of a story is fair...and it is liberal. "COnservative" news, as Fox proves, provides one soide. Which has NOTHING to do with journalistic integrity or even journalism. Wnat proof? Watch ANY of the news channels these days, and see how many stories are critical of, say, Obama's comments regarding the mosque in NYC vs. the legislation that the man has supported and gotten passed. or the FACT that he has done more to beef up border security than ANY past President. It comes down to this – if you are loyal to Fox, you are too biased to have a meaningful opinion, so we can safely dismiss anything your say as ignorant tripe. All news is biased towards sensationalism – that's what sells. Want fair presentation? NPR is the ONLY news outlet that doesn't sell advertising. If you perceive a liberal bias there, it 's colored by YOUR bias. And developing a Josef Goebbels-like propaganda machine is inexcusable, no matter what. Lucky for Fox, as for Barnum, that there are plenty of suckers around.

    August 17, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. CP in FL

    The problem with Fox News is that their name and slogan imply that they have no bias and are truly a news outlet, leading their audience to believe that everything announced on their broadcasts is based in objective fact. In truth, they have very little bona fide news programming (see Shepherd Smith, who actually does a pretty decent job). O'Reilly, Hannity, Beck, et al, are pundits, not journalists, and the things they say on their shows fall into the realm of opinion, not news. However, Fox takes great pains to obfuscate that, which interferes with the true democratic process by allowing misinformation to be disseminated as fact, preventing people from understanding the objective facts and voting accordingly. Hence, the mess we have today.

    By the way, I've worked on the editorial side in print media for almost 20 years and so know a little something about objective reporting. And I never watch MSNBC or Fox News if I can help it, as I don't like being told what to think.

    August 17, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. Len

    Finally....Fair and Balanced.....Fox News just spews Hate and Fear!!!!

    They are not representative of intelligent Americans.

    August 17, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  9. Jimmy

    What is scary is that all of these news/corporations are buying politicians left and right (literally). With money and power like this, how can the public and public interests compete? Our system is broke and corrupt! No news will tell you this. Not Fox not CNN.

    August 17, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  10. Tina in PA

    Is this suppose to be shocking?

    I'm sure they'll find a way to Spin Spin Spin

    August 17, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  11. K

    Hey Paul from Phoenix. You apparently aren't up to date on current or past events. Ted Turner doesn't own CNN any longer. You can take your opinions and go back to your bomb shelter now. 'k bye.

    August 17, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  12. acspore

    The difference between Fixednews and MSNBC is Fixednews disrespects its viewers and tried its utmost to fool them with outright lies, selective editing, ommission, etc., whereas MSNBC, with its superior cast of intelligent and highly educated hosts and anchors, always seek to get to the truth, and therein lies the interplay between certain hosts of both networks wherein Fakesnews lies and MSNBC exposes and corrects their lies.

    August 17, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  13. JohninTampa

    This sounds like out of Max Headroom or the James Bond flick where the media tycoon creates his own news-except this is true. If it were another industry fine, but the 4th estate is supposed to be objective. How can anyone accept as true any statement made by an entity that clearly is a mouthpiece for one man's opinions?

    August 17, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  14. Tom from Ohio

    Is there still anyone on this planet who doesn't know Fox news is just the extreme right wing opinions of Rupert Murdoch and nothing else!

    August 17, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  15. sandos

    This is coming from an article on cnn.com! Laughable! The Lib media is in the bag for Maobama more than any president I've ever seen. Before you all start replying with BS, you know it's true. Lots of Presidents have had the media on their side so it's no big deal, but realize that before you start bashing the only network telling it like it is.

    August 17, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  16. Jimmy

    @SuperFed.
    Fox News= Corporate leaning.
    CNN = Corporate leaning.
    MSNBC = Corporate leaning.
    etc.
    Left or Right= Bad for America, good for corporations.
    Wake up America

    August 17, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  17. Kathleen

    The so called "fair and balanced" Fox News have contributed to the utter corruption of our Nation. Yes, the Supreme Court voted for the corporations and they, the Supreme Court ruling was corrupt also!!!

    Americans keep standing by, along with Tea Partiers and the Republicans to destroy our Country. and our President.

    VOTE REPUBLICAN YOU FOOLS AND HAVE ALL OF YOU AND YOUR CHILDRENS, GRANDCHILDRENS Social Security taken away. Surely, when the young realize that NO MATTER HOW MUCH they make in life, with the cost of living, college, future Drop in Health Benefits, then, just may the young people will realize that without the S. S. Benefits for their own future will leave them losing everything, no matter how much they have accumulated.

    And How about that Rob Blagovich verdict!!!!! Just how much $$$$$ did that trial cost the Government and the BROKEN State of Illinois?
    So, he gets a new trial??????? Illinois is broke because they pay Pensions if $20,000 to $30,000 a MONTH to Retirees, Political and Superintendent of Schools 100's of them are listed on NTUI.gov.
    Can you imagine that-–A MONTH-that would make them milllionaires!!!!!!! I guess they did a good job, but come on! Is anybody worth that? whatever is going on in your state and you are bankrupt, look into the money UPFRONT every month they pay out outlandlishly.

    August 17, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  18. Jim S

    why it was ever called fox news nobody knows because the news is not reported what is reported is the opinions of the talking heads that appear and say they are journalists
    has any one ever honestly believe that bill oreilly hanity and beck are news reporters

    August 17, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  19. stephen p. johnson

    Gosh this does reek of repubelican slime!!!!!!

    August 17, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  20. Bill

    For all those complaining about the other media outlets: It is true that MSNBC and others are clearly biased. However, the majority of the country identifies itself as liberal-leaning. Before you get too worked up about that fact, check the demographics and realize, more Liberals are willing to cross the line and vote for certain occasional Conservative issues than Conservatives are willing to vote liberally. Therefore, the fact that the news source where the majority of conservatives get their news is biased has a greater impact on the minority (Conservatives) than a left-leaning news source may have on the majority.

    And by the way, is it possible to stop calling each other names on these posts? We are doing nothing but making each other more angry.

    August 17, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  21. clf1990

    To all,

    This is what happens when conservative actvist judges that are on the Supreme Court makes bad rulings. There should be limits on Corporate donation to political parties. The only people that will end up with rivers of money will be the GOP who want to be bought and paid for. If anyone thinks things would be be better with GOP in power think again. Remeber all this mess began with GOP president in power. Huge tax breaks for the rich will not be the magic solution. Beside the on;y people that will benifit os rich and big corporations with GOP. I think it is funny how ordinary people can be dumb enough to support the GOP. I never hear ther GOP defending the pay of ordinary people they only defend the pay of CEO.

    August 17, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  22. sean

    I really, really hope that this Congress finds a way to curb the absurd effects the recent supreme court decision allowing corporations full freedom to bankroll elections. This news article is just another example of what can happen if we let this continue. Also, though, anyone who previoulsy believed FoxNews was not entirely biased is an idiot.

    August 17, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  23. Joshua Ludd

    Wait... you mean someone actually bought their whole obviously false "fair and balanced" schtick?

    August 17, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  24. Kathleen

    These corporations,republicans and Fox are running our country into the ground-FAST and there will be nothing left for the Middle Class-SOON.

    And thanks to the Supreme Court for their favoritism to Corporations and the Republicans.

    Dems. must VOTE! Republicans plan on you believing the outrageous lies posted on T.V. and either staying home and not voting or just do what the Democrats always do. Don't vote and hope for the best. IT DON'T WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! REPUBLICANS WILL WIN,
    WILL WIN AGAIN

    August 17, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  25. Doug

    Ahh shut up already. What about GE and MSNBC and the Blatent disregard for any attempt for providing balanced news. Fox will have both sides represented in a debate, unlike msnbc or many of the other cable or network news channels.

    Get over it.

    August 17, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
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