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. dodsoal

    I'm sure they will soon donate a million to the Democrats. After all, they are "fair and balanced." NOT!

    August 17, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  2. Clwyd

    Fox, leaning and being paid to lean! Leaning to tell more lies!

    August 17, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  3. SRobinson

    Fox has conservative leanings, just as the other news outlets are liberal. Why doesn't the DNC trumpet the news that 90% of the news anchors at the other stations donate to leftist politicians?

    August 17, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  4. Former Republican, now an Independent

    This is no surprise. Fox has been the Republican News Network since it's creation. It is the anchor for the extreme right.

    August 17, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  5. hozo1

    we knew this ... there hasn't been intelligence in either organizations for some time ...

    August 17, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. DfromthePeg

    Ask yourself how much Turner has given and to whom. Then ask yourself why.

    August 17, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  7. Katie

    Few media are objective anymore, it's just that Fox news is pretty blatant about their bias as is MSNBC. They give money to the parties of their choice, they cover what they want to cover and they only cover as much as they want to cover. Last night on CBS Katie Couric covered the mosque in NYC controversy and there was NO coverage of anyone who supported it.

    August 17, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  8. Glenda

    Interesting to read that some are concerned about how many people believe Fox News. I am concerned about the ignorance of those who believe that CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, NY Times, etc are not in bed with the liberals. The ratings of Fox News leave the ratings of CNN in the toilet and their envy shows daily. For the progressives that believe all people should be treated fair and calling the conservatives displays your hypocrisy!

    August 17, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  9. garc

    Unfortunately, the very people who SHOULD grasp the implications of this–i.e., the lack of impartiality–won't.

    August 17, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  10. Bill in California

    I KNOW ITS ASKING A LOT OF THE ELETIST LIBS, but read the whole story before spewing your venom. This is nothing new for either party. One more point before you close your eyes and attack. The MSM doesn't have to donate one red cent to outspend this donation. The unabashed left wing 'reporting' that goes on by them is absolutely priceless FREE ONE SIDED ADVERTISEMENT for the DIMRATS AND THEIR EMPEROR. So get off of your high horses and go ask mommy BAMA for some more kool aid.

    August 17, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  11. Liz the First

    There is no question about Fux Noise's 'objectivity.' they don't have any! they are the propaganda arm of the republican party. Stevie Wonder could see that! they are the furthest thing from an objective news organization as there is. more like a terrorist subversive organization. they are doing immense harm to this country and its people with all the disinformation they put out.

    August 17, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  12. Ed

    At one time there were moderate republicans who had a voice (now apparently extinct) and yes there were moderate democrats (that we now call conservative democrats). They could talk and agree on somethings and disagree on others and the media more or less represented their values. Now the media is left leaning (except for FOX)? I wonder whether this is true, or whether the polarization of the right has moved the line so that reality, the truth and the constitution are now left leaning?

    August 17, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  13. Mary

    Fox News is YELLOW JOURNALISM ....this was dealt with in the newspapers many years ago – if a newspaper were to apply such outrageous tactics they would be sued. If you want real news, truthful, balanced, honest news subscribe to your local newspaper where honesty and integrity count.

    People who use Fox News as their source of information are the same IMBECILES forwarding on all of those ridiculous hate filled emails!

    August 17, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  14. Liz the First

    Please forgive the second post, but i have to answer the folks complaining about bias toward the left of the real news organizations. one of the best bumper stickers i ever say says 'reality has a liberal bias.' Nuff said?

    August 17, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  15. faux news lamebrain

    All I know is if you ever thought Fox was "fair and balanced" are a complete fool....and i don't care how much they donate to the GOP......they have now spoken that they are part of the Tea Party.

    It's not Fox news...its Faux news........where else could a bunch of GOP wannabe's be on the air running their mouths without any pushback.

    Just a bunch of neo-cons....and by the way...if you think that CNN is liberal then get off here

    August 17, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  16. I See Idiots!

    Both Republicans and Democrats are idiots! Neither one can see past the lies of their own party. That is why elections are one and lost by the independant vote. Stop being sheep and think for yourselves!

    August 17, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  17. kari

    you mean there are people that didn't know this... that believe fox is fair and balanced? yikes.

    August 17, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  18. RG

    Fox – Fairly Biased

    August 17, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  19. RG

    Corporations have gotten smart and simply buy off both sides

    August 17, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  20. Grrr-Awful-O

    Poor Dems! When you're going down the drain I guess you'll try complaining about anything you can think of. LMAO!

    August 17, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  21. bigdoglv

    By no means does Fox News have a monopoly on biased news coverage. Journalism has been dead for years.

    August 17, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  22. Donnatella

    Is anybody really surprised, these just need to stop saying far and balanced, it should say far right leaning. They know their audience consist of a bunch of idiots i can't see educated people looking at that crap, my husband who is a conservative gave up on fox a long time ago. I don't know what story it was that turned him off, all he said to me was you were right all along, that station is full of crap.

    August 17, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  23. Keith

    I'd absolutely love to jump on extreme right-wing FoxNews, but as a business person myself there is something I find far more intriguing from all the data in this article.

    Everyone should look at all the various contributions listed in this article, AND keep in mind businesses don’t “give away” money. They invest money in the pursuit of more money. Perhaps they invest money in new capital equipment with the intention of it saving them more money in the long run. Perhaps they invest in product development in order to create a product that will make them more money in the long run. There are plenty of other objectives in which businesses invest money with the intention of making more money in the future.

    Fundamentally it’s called “return on investment” (ROI). Before businesses spend money, they expect more money in “return” than their original “investment”. Everyone should realize this is nothing more than proper basic business practices, but we don’t all keep that in mind when considering all the actions a company performs.

    Yes, sometimes companies do give money away to charities. Sometimes it is done for truly altruistic reasons, and sometimes it is done as a marketing investment to promote the image of the company.

    Now, I think we can all dismiss that a company gives money to either an R-PAC or a D-PAC for purely altruistic reasons. There isn’t much “altruism” about anyone giving money to either an R-PAC or a D-PAC. A company also doesn’t give money to either an R-PAC or a D-PAC for corporate image reasons. Companies prefer to keep such donations as confidential as possible since giving to one can too easily alienate the supporters of the other, and that can impact sales (which are reflected in viewer ratings for some businesses). Yes, in the case of FoxNews they are so blatantly biased this doesn’t apply. But I’m outlining something bigger than just FoxNews.

    Okay… take a look at the various contributions that various companies have made. What is very ODD about them? The companies are contributing large sums of money to BOTH parties. Let’s take examples to make things easy. If News Corp believes that the Republicans would produce the best “return” on FoxNews’ “investment” (presumably because the Republican’s philosophies would be the best for News Corp), then why did FoxNews ALSO contribute to the Democrats? Or flip the coin. If GE (MSNBC) believes that the Democrats would produce the best “return” on GE’s “investment”, then why did GE ALSO contribute to the Republicans?

    On the surface, it would seem like these companies are donating against themselves. Donate to BOTH the Republican and Democratic parties? Isn’t that a waste of money?

    Of course not. Like all major companies, these companies are buying influence with BOTH of the political parties. Regardless of who wins what races where, these companies, like all major companies, want to have an influence over both Republicans and Democrats. If a person thinks their vote matters, they’re sorely mistaken. The voters are nothing more than the cards in a game of poker. These cards are simply what must be “played” correctly in order to win the pot of gold in the middle of the table. It’s the pot of gold that actually matters, and whether or not the politicians properly distribute that pot of gold as proper “returns” to the companies who made the “investments”. For most companies, the “gold” can be a metaphor for various forms of regulations that might give the companies some form of competitive advantage, or avoidance of regulations that might be unfavorable to the company.

    If a person actually wants a say in their government, the person needs to start by pushing to reverse the Supreme Court’s invalid ruling that corporations have freedom of speech rights. The Constitution grants corporations no such rights. The Constitution is, of course, entirely mute in regards to corporations. The Supreme Court ruling sits on the false precedent, invented and sustained by previous Supreme Court rulings, that corporations are individuals, and therefore fall under the Constitutional protection of individuals. The Constitution itself, being mute in regard to corporations, neither says this is true nor says it is not true.

    In reality, corporations are nothing more than legal entities arbitrarily created by man through laws. Corporations were not created by God, they were created by man. As such, they have no more inalienable rights than a vacuum cleaner or a robot. Man made laws created corporations, not the word of God. Those same man made laws can be modified to explicitly declare that the laws are NOT intended for the creation of artificial man-made individuals with the same rights granted to real individuals created by God. Advocating a clear legal definition of corporations as NOT real individuals as pertains to the Constitution is a huge step in American patriots taking back their country.

    August 17, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  24. Paul H

    Ah ha, caught you big bad new's agency!! How about the owners of other new's agencies that give monies to DNC, or other left wing causes?
    Does that count as an ah ha moment as well.
    I watch a lot of Fox new's, and read a lot of CNN, between the two we get the truth!
    You guys can pick all you want but most of the media is hard left, and it's nice to see a Center Right in Fox news.
    CNN I respect you guys for the most part at least your Center left, and fair to the right.

    August 17, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  25. RedNeck_Ted

    When Bush (a Republican) was president, FOX would defend him by saying his detractors are unpatriotic for criticizing the President. Once Obama (a Democrat) became president, FOX started "creating" news to encourage detractors to criticize the President (i.e. the Tea Parties).
    Now they say that criticizing the President is ultra-patriotic. They also highlight any Democratic "scandal" and hide their own, (Republican) scandals. FAIR & BALANCED My A$%!!!!!!!

    August 17, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
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