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

Fox News takes heat for News Corporation's GOP donation

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption =" 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. ETM

    Of course it is inconsistent with media independent but Fox News never has been anything but a GOP propaganda outlet.

    August 17, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. The Light of Day

    For one, I'm glad that Faux News can now be appreciated for just what they are, a fanatical right-wing spin organization that panders to the lowest of the low. Come into the light, for all to see.

    August 17, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. sine

    i mean really –does this surprise anyone?? FOX = GOP/Extreme right wing (same difference)

    August 17, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. Jon

    These huge companies should not be allowed to donate this kind of and influence elections in such profound ways, for either side. The Supreme Court really let us down this time.

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

    So Hari I assume MSNBC also has such a disclaimer?

    Thought not.

    August 17, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. Patricia

    And this is supposed to be a surprise to those of us who actually like to hear the news and not the Faux Network???? Get real!

    August 17, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. gate

    If these companies have money to burn we should tax them and have publicly financed elections. then our politicians will be accountable to the voters and not the wealthy.

    August 17, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. Brett from Oriskany,VA

    Fox's objectivity?? you can use those two words in sentence?

    August 17, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    Looks like the DNC is whining because they didn't get the donation. I am sure life at the DNC just "isn't what it used to was" anymore. Wait 'till December...the place will be downright pitiful.

    August 17, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. Darth Vadik, CA

    Here is the thing about Fox that people don't understand, or seem to miss...

    ...they could care less who they support as long as they get paid....

    ...if the Democrats were filth and scum like Republicans are, and if the Democratic base was as dumb as the Republicans, and if you could provoke a strong hate reaction from the Democrats as you can from the Republicans...

    ...Fox would be pandering to the Democrats... it is, we just need to understand and accept Fox for what it is...

    ...a lowest form of hate entertainment in this country...but they are making money and that is OK, to Hell with fairness or the good of the country....

    August 17, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. johnRJ08

    FOX either needs to be fined by FCC or it needs to lose its broadcast license. This is outrageous. The whole concept of "equal time" is made absurd by the existence of this network.

    August 17, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. Ancient Texan

    There is Fox News and then there is Fox News commentary or opinon. The DNC thinks that all networks are like NBC with nothing but wall to wall adoration for Obama, news and commentary all the same.

    August 17, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. Publius13

    I presume this was simply and intra-company transfer. Seriously, any patina of objectivity that might have clung to Faux News, however small, has now been erased entirely.

    August 17, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. aunt Bea and Opie

    I always believe Faux news and its strange but true Aussie owner Dupert Durmock.

    August 17, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  15. Brian

    "fanatical right-wing spin organization that panders to the lowest of the low"....LOVE IT!

    August 17, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. Paul from Phoenix

    Interesting. I would love to see the donations made by MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC to Democratic candidates. Because Ted Turner is not very political.

    August 17, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |

    Is this surprising? Ofcouse NOT!..........FAUX NEWS should change it's name to the REPUBLICAN-TEABAGGING NEWS NETWORK!

    Glad the supreme court just voted to liken Wall street and News corporations as American citizens! FAUX NEWS is now free to donate freely without any repercussions to the republican-teabagging party!!!

    August 17, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  18. Tom-Vermillion Ohio

    This is but a beginning, need to 'hammer' Fox News from all ends. We need to shut them down or shut them up. They are the primary reason America is so screwed up.

    August 17, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. RAG

    This is a surprise? Fox has been a semi-official organ of the Republican Party since it's inception. Now they are no longer hiding it.

    August 17, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. Who cares

    Everyone must not have read the whole article. GE, Timewarner, and Viacom have also donated to both parties. So that makes CNN, NBC, and CBS biased as well. Who cares....I agree, it is the DNC whinning about not getting that 1 million dollar check....

    August 17, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. Julie L

    Like this is a big surprise to anyone? Really? It just makes those who think Fox is so unbiased cringe, doesn't it? Love this!!

    August 17, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. jeff, alabama

    You Republican and democratic so called political
    savy clowns out there amaze me. You simple minded
    cool-aid drinkers on both sides are amusing.
    Who the heck cares where Fox donates their money.
    Are they asking you where you donate yours?
    Are you asking Soros where he donates his ?
    Do half you bickering politically challenged goofballs
    out there even have a job ?
    GO SARAH PALIN 2012 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 17, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  23. So surprised

    I have said for years that the “FOX News Channel” should be renamed the “FOX Opinion Channel”. If there really is anybody out there that thinks FOX supplies the “news” I wonder if they have two brain cells to rub together.

    August 17, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  24. Jay

    Fair and balanced.

    August 17, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  25. TheCruxDefender

    I get stuck watching Fox News at the gym sometimes while on the treadmill.

    Objectively, it simply is not news. It is partisan entertainment. This is fine if you recognize it for what it is.

    August 17, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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