Why News Corp.'s $1 Million Gift to Republicans Is No Big Deal

Rupert Murdoch, News Corp,, Fox News, Wall Street JournalHow upset should you be about News Corp.'s (NWS) $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association? That depends. How upset were you in 2002 when the media conglomerate gave $25,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee? Did you scream and shout when it donated the same amount to the Republican National Committee in 1999? If not, you probably you should calm down and take a breath.

Of course, it looks terrible when a company that controls the country's biggest newspaper and its most-watched all-news network drops a huge wad of cash in the lap of one political party. It seems to vindicate all the critics who say Fox News's "Fair and Balanced" slogan is nothing but a cynical joke and who cite evidence of bias seeping into The Wall Street Journal's news pages.

Forget-Me-Not Palm-Greasing


But News Corp. -- like CBS (CBS), and NBC parent General Electric (GE), and ABC parent Disney (DIS), has always given money to campaigns and candidates. Mostly, these donations have been small and more or less evenly distributed along partisan lines. (In fact, the Washington Post reports that 56% of the money handed out so far by the News Corp./Fox PAC has gone to Democrats.) It's the sort of routine, forget-me-not palm-greasing that practically every big corporation does to ensure its lobbyists get their calls returned.

It may be repulsive, but it's legal and widespread.

So the offense here would seem to be not that News Corp. gave any money at all, but that they broke an unwritten rule against giving in a way that might actually affect the outcome of a race. It's perfectly alright to purchase access and influence; it's not OK to spend to achieve results.

That's clearly an absurd and untenable position. News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch has always felt free to ignore strictures he considered silly, from the editorial independence agreement governing his takeover of the Journal to federal regulations limiting ownership of media outlets. It was only a matter of time before he swatted aside this particular taboo.

It's All About Self-Interest

As for the claim that it discredits all the reporting done by News Corp.'s news outlets, Murdoch has never kept his personal politics a secret. Anyone who thought the way to get ahead was by toeing the boss's editorial line has always known which direction that line points. This does nothing to change that.

But that's not to say no one has the right to feel aggrieved about News Corp.'s largesse. The company's official explanation for its donation is that the RGA's "pro-business agenda," including its emphasis on low taxes, "support[s] our priorities at this most critical time for our economy."

In other words, News Corp. was only looking out for its business interests. It's up to shareholders to decide whether this use of company resources was an efficient way of doing that, or whether Murdoch merely spent their money to gratify his personal desire to see Republicans elected.

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goldaxe

The fox barks not, when he would steal the lamb.

August 20 2010 at 1:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BUFFALO

You call it self intrest I call it free speech. At the end of the day these people only have one vote per person unless of coarse you are acorn. There are a large number of voters that have absolutly no skin in the game registered to vote by the left and they vote mindlessly and often. I say it kind of evens things out.So if news corp gives"one million dollars" to the republican goveners than I find it comforting. Thats not a lot of money anyway when you spread it around all the canidates I think someone just crying about nothing.

August 20 2010 at 12:25 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to BUFFALO's comment
rrshere

No big deal on the timing? Actually, it is. Big RNC proposal, all at once deal. News Copr, Best Buy, Target, et al( the rest are not speaking as yet....but follow the $$.........whor is due to profit, will donate with corporate hands, even if the profit is in private{personal} hands). Money of this magnitude doesn't MOVE simultaneously at the same time. Promises made/favors shall be given. Been in this too long NOT to see major moves...... more to follow.........That is donations coming out of the wood work, within 3 weeks either way of my comment. Kudlow Effect.

August 19 2010 at 11:50 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
davbeirney

it does not really matter. It is not Republican vs. Democratic news control. It is more like liberal vs. conservatives. Right now 70% of the media outlets are controlled by people with a more liberal viewpoint. 30% is other, mainly conservative.

August 19 2010 at 6:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to davbeirney's comment
gopditzs

Oh RIght; like all those Liberal Corporations like GE who owns MSNC, NBC, CNBC etc.... Corporations are such Left Wing Operation; right! You do have a sense of humor do you not! Corporations only reason to exist is to make money any way they can and at any cost regardless of ramifications to others as long as they can get away with it, the cost of getting caught is less than the profit unless they can make more another way quickly! We use to have 30 Corporation owning our Media just 10 years ago; now we have 4 and soon only 3 corporations will own and run all the USA's Media, News, Entertainment, Movies, Shows, Kinds of Coverages etc.... They will now easily make and break leaders, control reality and perceived important of any issue! We are headed for a rude and false media generated truth filled with lies and omissions!

August 19 2010 at 8:28 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
gopditzs

You mean Fox Infotainment which is owned by foreigners Rupert Murdoch and the Saudi Royal Dictators of a Foreign Sovereign Nation and which controls 25% of the US Media is not fair and balanced? Guess that is why their Lawyers Testified in State Supreme Court that Fox News was just Opinions and Infotainment and Not News. Maybe that is why they only have a Entertainment License from the FCC and are not Journalist. Now they show they are not just a GOP Propagandist Machine but as well a Economic Power House for the GOP. Of course being the GOP's Top Presidential Candidates all work for Faux Infotainment we should not be surprised on how they are not fair or balanced!

August 19 2010 at 4:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
otterdad48

Ah yes, the fair and balanced folks at FOX. Can you imagine what FOX would be saying if any "main stream" media contributed to a political party? This just proves what everyone already knows. FOX has an agenda.

August 19 2010 at 4:01 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to otterdad48's comment
Drew

Ummm...maybe you missed this part... "But News Corp. -- like CBS (CBS), and NBC parent General Electric (GE), and ABC parent Disney (DIS), has always given money to campaigns and candidates. Mostly, these donations have been small and more or less evenly distributed along partisan lines. (In fact, the Washington Post reports that 56% of the money handed out so far by the News Corp./Fox PAC has gone to Democrats.) Note: CBS, GE/NBC, and Disney/ABC = mainstream media. Also note the prior donations of News Corp./FOX PAC. Darn that liberally biased FOX.

August 19 2010 at 4:46 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply