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. Drew, FL

    For those of you who are blind Faux News devotees, the reason intelligent folks can't stand Newscorp is that Faux runs stories stating that Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are training monkeys to kill Americans or lob softball questions at the rightwing (many times letting them get away without pressing them. ie. Gohmert and his ludicrous terror babies comments)

    Lastly, Rupert Murdoch isn't even American. His sole motivation is to give fascist/corporate lackeys a voice so he can expand his media empire.

    August 17, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  2. Joshua College Station, TX

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

    Employees of many news networks may have a liberal preference when it comes to personal political alignments, but this is not the same as broadcasting a political agenda, which is what Fox News is doing shamelessly. Fox News is a propaganda network, not a news network.

    The clear opponent to Fox is MSNBC, which is strongly liberally biased. Their evening commentators are equally shameless in their political views (although I tend to agree with them more than anyone on Fox).

    August 17, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. repubsLie

    all these sheeple keep saying how all the other news outlets like obama and the dems. it never even occurs to them that thats because the dems ARE RIGHT! and then they say how its ok because other networks gave money to dems. the others dont pretend to be fair and balanced, just faux.

    August 17, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. Jim

    "The Democratic National Committee called into question Fox News' objectivity..."

    Since when has anyone thought Fox was objective?

    August 17, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  5. Antidittohead

    Fox News is straight Republican Propaganda! The other networks are at least news operations with left lean. Fox "Makes up" News to suit whatever the Republicans and their Corporate Handlers desire. All the Republicans want is everyone's Money! Your Social Security, Medicare, Home, and Job.

    Bring back the "Fairness Doctrine"!!!

    This will happen after Republican policies cause the next Great Depression within the next 10 yrs.!!!

    August 17, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  6. hypocricnnation

    As Soon As You Get The Proof On FOX News Channel (FIXed News Channel) And It's Shenanigans, CNN (HypocriCNN!) Makes Some Lame Attempt To Make Excuses For It.

    August 17, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  7. The unsub

    FOX does not report news. It reports right-wing opinions by nuts.

    August 17, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  8. Acaraho

    To Not All Docs Play Golf:

    You said, "Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity... all have only high school educations. if I wanted to get my information from that element, I'd just go down to the corner bar and listen to barflies spout their opinions."

    I always thought there was something ignorant about them, something that flies over their heads while their brains are dozing off and their mouths go a mile a minute spewing incoherent babble.

    August 17, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    SuperFed lists all news organizations as "left leaning" and Fox as "right leaning."

    Given that so many of Fox's "news" stories have been proven to be out-and-out lies and the other news organizations can back up their stories with verifiable facts, perhaps a better way of categorizing would be

    "news" (CNN through LA Times) and "entertainment" (Fox).

    August 17, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. scott

    How much money has the other news sites given? How about Ted Turner? CNN will not report how much money their people have donated to the Democrate's because they don't want a fair and balanced report.

    August 17, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  11. Joe Mc

    I agree, at least MSNBC doesn't pretend to be something else. Their commentators are very open about their leanings. Rachel Maddow seems to present facts even though she airs her own comments. As long as facts are part of the story; fine with me. I didn't realize the owner of Fox is not American, really?

    August 17, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. Beauty

    At least MSNBC always back their criticism of Fox or Republican and even of the Democrat and president with facts. Fox always make up their own facts. I have no problem with them donating to whoever they want – I just wish they can tell the truth so people can be well informed.

    August 17, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  13. Tolduso

    I think I'll re-program FOX back into my tv tuner -just long enough to build a boycott list of their advertisers. Never liked their crappy lineup, either.

    August 17, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  14. Brett

    Fox news, in and of itself, isn't a problem. Their actual news programs are decent, reporters tend to come off snotty when covering left leaning issues. But hey, MSNBC does from time to time on right leaning stories.

    Where I think the real issue is, is their opinion shows like oreilly, beck, fox and friends, and hannity. (Plus anything with that "analyst" Palin) Short sighted people tune into their shows and gobble it up like its pure facts, when its just opinions of current news. I wouldn't be against having a disclaimer saying everything is just an opinion show. Throw it on Olbermanns too, sure.

    The borderline between news organizations and opinion is hazy too quickly in the country, all because they want people to zone out, tune in and take your money. Its all its ever been about = getting your $$$

    August 17, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  15. Denny

    Oh you crying liberals, like MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC aren't mouth pieces or cover ups for everything Liberal. Cut me a break. You can get more news from FOX than all those other so called news outlets put together. Cry about something else, like the beating your going to take in November. Let's face it, left, right, it doesn't matter what side of the so called isle your favorite politician sits on, government is broken, big time. The majority of those voting for the empty suit in the White House now know the huge mistake they made and will take steps to correct that mistake in November and finish it in 2010. So go ahead and whine about FOX, because that's all your good for, crying.

    August 17, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  16. FactCheck

    This isn't that big a deal.. what's scarier are the legions of dolts who blindly follows everything Fox says as gospel. The number of dumb folks in this country is staggering.

    August 17, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  17. Louie

    LOL I love you partisan shills. Hey! Look over here but don't look over yonder. News Corp got caught handing out a big huge check and blew their credibility. There is a solution that both political parties will NEVER agree to settle this mess. Bring back The Fairness Doctrine and retool it to the major broadcasting houses including cable. One such requirement will be to have news broadcasters to fully divulge their donations to political and religious causes or face having stiff fines or the loss of their licenses. Now that sounds Fair and Balanced.

    August 17, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  18. Ben Dover

    God Bless Fox News. haha....

    August 17, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  19. FactCheck

    My bet is that Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Peter Jennings, and heck, even Katie Couric would object to the clowns on Fox passing themselves off as journalists.

    August 17, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  20. Rickapolis

    And there is anyone in America surprised about this?

    August 17, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  21. Jilli

    Well fox fans, you now have an Aussie and a Saudi contributing heavily to the gop. How do you like having foreigners laying their heavy hands on our elections? They've been doing it for years with the propaganda they spew – and the lemmings line up and keep on watching. Letting foreigners influence our elections – how absolutely rightwing America!

    August 17, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  22. Mike

    So how can anybody complain about Fox news being blatantly conservative and not complain about the others being blatantly liberal?

    No surprise that they would donate.

    The other guys are covering their bases with political payoffs (ummm contributions) on both sides of aisle.

    CNN is starting to criticize Obama on some things FINALLY because they are realizing that there were fooled. Many who voted for him are starting to figure that out and CNN is starting to represent that. Others continue to make up excuses for Obama or slant the stories like it is someone else's fault when they would never do that if a Republican was in office.

    I'm even conservative but Fox News is often SO FAR RIGHT as to be considered extremist fanaticism. Some of it is a bit more middle of the road (where most people in the country are politically) but we wind up with these damn extremists in the news and in the government.

    August 17, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  23. Nick

    Kettle? Yea, this is Pot speaking...

    Are you serious? And CNN? What side of the isle do they align? You're kidding, right? And any politician and / or guest appearing on either network who says they don't know the score of where that network aligns politically is lying. One can see "partisan propaganda" any day of the week when they turn on either CNN or Fox.

    August 17, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  24. Peter s

    Murdoch and China: end of the affair
    August 9, 2010 5:02pmby Kathrin Hille | Share

    In a way, News Corporation’s decision to give up on building a broadcasting business in China on its own is a sign of the times. The feelings of Western business towards China in general have cooled, and rarely a week passes without a new protest over discriminatory policies or arrogant attitudes from Beijing. But while these complaints are reactions to a relatively new and surprising trend, News Corp’s move was long overdue.

    The hope of Rupert Murdoch, the group’s founder and chairman, that he could charm the Chinese government into letting him broadcast to the homes of the average Chinese in their local language was a pipe dream all along. While China’s ruling Communist party has undergone major shifts in its attitude towards the free market in general, its views on how the media should be regulated have barely changed since Murdoch started investing in China. Back then, Beijing rejected any notion of private or even foreign investment in the media sector. Over the years, it allowed a little bit of flexibility in the production of television content. That came in full recognition that as long as party and government retained their stranglehold over the broadcasters, those owning the distribution channels for that content, no harm could be done.

    Over the past year or so, Beijing has embarked on a new push for “reform” of the domestic media, including suggestions that the broadcasters owned by provincial governments become more commercially oriented. The basis for that policy, however, is that the groups restructure by separating content production and distribution.

    Chinese leaders have shown the same insistence on some core principles in their dealings with Rupert Murdoch.

    When Star TV, News Corp’s Asian television network, had just set up a local unit in China, Jamie Davis, Star TV’s China head, described the business model. “Everything in China is all about relationships and about mutual benefit” he said. “I think Rupert Murdoch has a very good relationship with the Chinese government . . . and we work hard at it.”

    Subsequently, it turned out that Mr Murdoch’s aspirations in this relationship went way beyond the Chinese government’s bottom line. And in that case, even relationships don’t help in China.

    LEAST YOU FORGET THE CHINESE ARE MURDOCH INLAWS! that is I can give you my daughter but I wont let her poison the minds of the other chinese!

    August 17, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  25. Lynn

    They were never fair and balanced BEFORE they took the payola!

    August 17, 2010 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
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