Fox News confirmed as bankrolling Republican Party


by Jai
1st September, 2010 at 11:45 am    

As recently discussed on Pickled Politics, last week Jon Stewart and The Daily Show brilliantly exposed the fact that the unnamed person Fox News had been repeatedly claiming was allegedly financing Park51/Cordoba House (aka the “Ground Zero Mosque”) and with implied ties to radical Islamist extremists was actually the Saudi Arabian Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the second-largest shareholder of Fox News’s parent company News Corp and an individual closely affiliated with News Corp’s primary owner Rupert Murdoch himself. Fox News have subsequently completely dropped their stories about the shadowy “unnamed financier”, and are apparently also refusing to respond to post-Daily Show queries about the matter. Nevertheless, the issue raises the following questions:

· Why is Prince Al-Waheed continuing to work closely with an American news channel which is a) actively involved in pandering to negative stereotypes about Muslims en masse and b) is simultaneously playing an active role in damaging relations between the West (especially the United States) and Muslim populations overseas ?

· Why are Fox News violating the principles of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, considering that the latter was signed in 1797 directly by the Founding Father & 2nd US president John Adams and ratified & unanimously approved by Congress, and explicitly states that “as the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion….it has in itself no character of enmity towards the laws, religion, or tranquillity of Musselmen [ie. Muslims]” ?

· Why are Fox News effectively promoting militant Wahhabism as the “default” version of Islam ?

· Why are Fox News persecuting Sufis, the Muslim group which is the most forcefully opposed to Islamist extremism (particularly militant Wahhabism) and whom both Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have a murderous level of hatred for ?

· In summary, why are Fox News effectively doing Al-Qaeda’s dirty work for them ?

Some further facts about Fox News have also subsequently come to light. Despite the channel’s claims of being “fair and balanced” and their repeated denials of any bias towards, or association with, any of the major American political parties, Fox News’s parent company, News Corp, has now been confirmed as making a $1 million donation to the Republican Party. This is actually the single largest donation by any corporation, and has a number of ramifications, as summarised in the extracts below:

Via the New York Times:

The News Corporation, controlled by Rupert Murdoch, contributed $1 million to the Republican Governors Association this summer, the Bloomberg news service reported this week.

The donation makes News Corporation the Republican group’s single “biggest corporate donor,” according to Bloomberg.

….Some progressives seized on News Corporation’s contribution as evidence of bias. Media Matters for America, the liberal media monitoring organization, claimed that “this large corporate donation to the G.O.P. underscores News Corp.’s role as an appendage of the Republican Party.”

Via the Huffington Post:

From Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association:

“By contributing $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, Fox has crossed a bright line. Fox can no longer pretend that it is a ‘fair and balanced’ news organization when Rupert Murdoch greenlights a million dollar contribution to defeat Democratic governors.

“Time and time again, Fox News has defended itself against accusations that it is nothing more than a tool of the Republican Party. We know now that the reality is so much worse: they’re bankrolling the GOP. FOX’s news division is ignoring the fact that its own parent company made a direct and unprecedented partisan contribution to defeat Democrats. This is hypocrisy at its worst, and is a sad day for all of us who believe that an independent and impartial media is vital to our democracy.

“Not only does this contribution severely compromise Fox’s news reporting, but it even breaks Fox’s own promise to its shareholders that it won’t give money to benefit officeholders.”

Glenn Beck rally in Washington

In other news related to Fox, one of the channel’s most controversial and well-known anchors, Glenn Beck, who had previously stressed the need to “follow the money” in order to expose Park51/Cordoba House’s financiers, until Jon Stewart’s own exposé revealed that the trail led back directly to Fox News, organised a “Tea Party”-affiliated rally in Washington on Saturday which allegedly drew approximately 300,000, predominantly white, attendees. Beck himself has subsequently claimed that 500,000 people turned up, although American networks such as CBS along with other media sources such as the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC and the Washington Post have given the lower estimate of 87,000. The Tea Party has included incredibly ignorant senior opponents of Park51 who believe that Muslims, specifically Al-Qaeda terrorists, worship a “monkey-god”, thereby conflating them with Hindu devotees of Hanuman. Sarah Palin, who was also present at the rally, has previously stated that she would consider Beck for her running mate if she decides to formally bid for the presidency.

Glenn Beck spoke from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech at the same location, although Beck claimed that the timing was purely a coincidence and that he was unaware of the anniversary when organising the event. Reverend Al Sharpton, who simultaneously held a counter-rally, has accused Beck of trying to hijack the civil rights movement; Beck, who has a lengthy history of using explicitly religious rhetoric and has a literal interpretation of such matters (as opposed to using such terminology in the purely metaphorical sense), has similarly been accused by some American Christian organisations of perverting the message of Jesus and attempting to hijack Christianity.

Nevertheless, Beck repeatedly made references to “God”, including the need for Americans to “turn back to God” and for God to be “restored to the centre of American life”, not to mention his remarks during his subsequent follow-up show on Fox News that “the message he feels he’s supposed to give the audience is get behind the shield of God”. The rally itself was ostensibly to promote “restoring integrity, truth and honour to America”, a somewhat ironic notion considering Fox News’s dubious track record in such matters.

Glenn Beck: Obama’s America is like “the damn Planet of the Apes

Beck, who is known to suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and has described himself as a “borderline schizophrenic”, also has a very long track record indeed of using racially-charged rhetoric, and has openly accused US President Barack Obama of being a “racist” with a “deep-seated hatred of white people”; furthermore, during a rant on his Fox News show on 4th August 2010 while Obama’s picture was displayed on the large video monitor next to him, Beck openly described Obama’s America as being like ”the damn Planet of the Apes“.

Beck has even unapologetically promoted a viciously racist and anti-Semitic book written in 1934 by Elizabeth Dilling, a Nazi-sympathising American author and activist who described “un-Christianized” “colored people” as “savages,” called Hinduism and Islam “debasing and degrading”, claimed that the world’s Jewish population were to blame for everything negative affilicting mankind, described “racial inter-mixing” as a “communist plot”, praised Hitler’s leadership, and attended Nazi party meetings in Germany during the late 1930s along with speaking at rallies organised by US-based Nazi groups after the start of World War 2; for many years after the end of the war, the author continued to make anti-Semitic remarks about several American presidents, including Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.

Many South Asian readers of this website will be aware of certain historical precedents for liberal, intellectual, inclusive “bridge-builders” such as President Obama being obsessively opposed (and ultimately defeated) by more aggressive, ruthless and ambitious religious fanatics. As for their modern-day counterparts such as Glenn Beck and other members of the “conservative Right” in America, the behaviour of such demagogues increasingly reminds me of Ron Perlman’s character in the 1990s film The Last Supper. Readers who are familiar with that movie, especially the implications of what can be heard (but not seen) during the last few moments of the final scene, will be aware that the comparison is not exactly flattering.


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  1. Kismet Hardy — on 1st September, 2010 at 12:28 pm  

    “Why is Prince Al-Waheed continuing to work closely with an American news channel which is a) actively involved in pandering to negative stereotypes about Muslims en masse and b) is simultaneously playing an active role in damaging relations between the West (especially the United States) and Muslim populations overseas?”

    It’s like this. The Bush administration badly needed respect and power, the Saudis needed money to buy their offspring million dollar ferraris.

    A deal was struck. Find a common enemy (For the Arab rulers, any Muslim who didn’t belong to the Arab aristocracy were fair game), create fear on a global scale, and bingo, both sides are quids in.

    Which is why the planes of 11/9 were loaded with hapless Saudi pawns with a long history of pissing about and the US demolition crew did their part, and hey presto, the world is afraid, America is superman again, and the Arabs get US protection and their offsprings get brand new bugattis.

    The love affair between the US and Saudis thus continues in full force.

    This isn’t a conspiracy theory or even an opinion. It’s as true as violent racists have unattractive girlfriends and comedians never say anything funny in interviews.

  2. Sunny — on 1st September, 2010 at 12:48 pm  

    Jai – you have a bad habit of wanting to include every related fact man. Resist the temptation!

    Otherwise, good stuff.

  3. Jai — on 1st September, 2010 at 2:42 pm  

    Some further information is also coming to light, according to Ari Rabin-Havt, Vice-President for Research and Communcations at Media Matters:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ari-rabin-havt/rupert-murdoch-lied-to-me_b_685180.html

    Quote:

    Last night, Bloomberg News reported that NewsCorp gave $1,000,000 to the Republican Governors Association, making them the organizations largest single contributor.

    Rupert Murdoch was singing a different tune back in April when I confronted him at the National Press Club about Fox News’ support of the Tea Parties. At the time he told me:

    ‘I don’t think we should be supporting the tea party or any other party.’

    Now it is clear Rupert Murdoch lied to me.

    Of course, this is just a drop in the bucket when compared to the ten of millions of dollars Fox News’ contributors have raised for Republicans.

    Furthermore, “at least twenty Fox News personalities have endorsed, raised money, or campaigned for Republican candidates or causes, or against Democratic candidates or causes, in more than 300 instances and in at least 49 states. Republican parties and officials have routinely touted these personalities’ affiliations with Fox News to sell and promote their events.”

  4. Sarah AB — on 1st September, 2010 at 5:39 pm  

    Jai – thanks for a very interesting, telling post.

  5. joe90 — on 2nd September, 2010 at 1:37 am  

    First the republicans who i consider a party of hate in america tried to push lies that obama is a radical black militant, and it means the end of the world if he won.

    When that did’nt work and obama won election they now trying to say he is a muslim and anti israel is this how brain-dead the right wing really is over there? thank god british politics has not reached that level of stupidity yet but i can see in some quarters where heading that way!

  6. Shamit — on 2nd September, 2010 at 1:48 am  

    good post jai -

  7. Jai — on 2nd September, 2010 at 1:17 pm  

    Thanks Sarah and Shamit.

    Some further information which should also be of interest, via Media Matters:

    - “Fox Newsers rally for GOP in more than 300 instances and in every state.”

    Source: http://mediamatters.org/research/201004210012

    The article gives a detailed overview of the specific individuals who have been involved, along with dates, locations, and activities.

    - “Fox News hosts and contributors continue to raise money for Republican candidates and causes using political action committees, 527 and 501(c)4 organizations.”

    Source: http://mediamatters.org/research/201004160056

    The article gives comprehensive details about the amount of money which has been raised so far during the 2010 election cycle. Apparently it’s almost $50 million to date, with far more in the pipeline.

  8. Vikrant — on 4th September, 2010 at 8:33 am  

    · Why are Fox News violating the principles of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, considering that the latter was signed in 1797 directly by the Founding Father & 2nd US president John Adams and ratified & unanimously approved by Congress, and explicitly states that “as the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion….it has in itself no character of enmity towards the laws, religion, or tranquillity of Musselmen [ie. Muslims]” ?

    Fox is violating the first amendment? Thats news to me. It is first amendment which allows Faux to peddle its lies. As for treaty of tripoli, News corp isn’t an American governmental agency!

    At any rate shouldnt GOP be paying Fox given the fact that they double up as propaganda department for them!

  9. Jai — on 6th September, 2010 at 10:05 am  

    Fox is violating the first amendment? Thats news to me. It is first amendment which allows Faux to peddle its lies. As for treaty of tripoli, News corp isn’t an American governmental agency!

    Vikrant, I specifically used the term ”principles of the First Amendment and the Treaty of Tripoli”. While your observations are technically correct, Fox News’s actions, propaganda and misinformation are still in contravention of the ideals enshrined in these documents, especially in relation to Fox’s attitudes towards Muslims. For a news channel which claims to represent “patriots” and the founding principles of “the real America”, their own conduct and assertions have been demonstrated to contradict the stances of the Founding Fathers themselves and the ideological basis of the United States in religious matters.

    The United States was emphatically not established as a fundamentally “Christian nation” either in ideological terms or the notion of privileging any religion and its adherents over another, and neither was it established as hostile to Muslims. In fact, in relation to the latter, the Treaty of Tripoli explicitly states the opposite, and it was signed by the immediate successor to George Washington himself (and who was also the immediate predecessor of Thomas Jefferson) and unanimously approved by Congress.

    That’s how far Fox News are from the core principles of the United States of America.

    At any rate shouldnt GOP be paying Fox given the fact that they double up as propaganda department for them!

    Good point ;) However, it has now been confirmed that the network of connections is not limited to the Republican Party in isolation, and Fox News are also intimately connected with the “Tea Party” movement and the Right-wing billionaires who are bankrolling it in order to destroy Obama’s presidency, as discussed in the latest article here: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/9924

  10. Jai — on 6th September, 2010 at 11:31 am  

    Some further information, from a National Journal Magazine article about Media Matters:

    Source: http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/lb_20100904_1223.php

    Friendlier remarks came from Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H., on the House floor, and from Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, who on August 1 gave the group credit for counting the number of times that Beck had bashed a little-known liberal foundation in California that was later targeted by a gunman.

    Fox News is clearly the chief villain in the Media Matters universe of politicized misinformation. “We don’t use the term ‘bias,’ because as humans we’re all biased, and this needs to be called out and combated,” Rabin-Havt says. “But when a news network is acting as the arm of a political party, that’s more dangerous than anything else that is wrong with the news media now.”

    The group’s indictment of Fox is multifold and familiar — at least among soldiers in the too-much-information wars. Among the particulars:

    • Fox’s agenda flows from founder and Chairman Roger Ailes’s background as a negative campaign strategist for Presidents Nixon and George H.W. Bush.

    • The network’s interview shows drive questionable stories to the mainstream press.

    • Fox News provides exposure and fundraising help to conservative candidates.

    • Fox commentators such as Karl Rove, Dick Morris, and Mike Huckabee remain active in politics and often appear on camera unrebutted.

    • Sean Hannity and other network stars openly promoted tea party rallies (in 300 instances), and in April 2009 the channel ran 107 commercial promotions for coverage of coming tea party gatherings.

    • Fox News takes talking points directly from official Republican Party sources. In one case that Media Matters documented from February 2009, Happening Now co-host Jon Scott repeated on the air a typo from a memo issued by the Senate Republican Communications Center.

    • The network’s on-air photo captions can be inflammatory. On May 6, America’s Newsroom captioned a scene from Congress, “House Dems vote to protect pedophiles but not veterans.”

    When Bloomberg News reported in August that Fox News’s parent, News Corp., owned by Rupert Murdoch, had given $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, Media Matters verified the report using Internal Revenue Service filings and noted that News Corp. made no comparable gift to the Democratic counterpart. Its analyst wrote, “This large corporate donation to the GOP underscores News Corp.’s role as an appendage of the Republican Party.”

    The Fox News media relations office did not answer NJ’s requests for comment on Media Matters’s accusations.

  11. Vikrant — on 6th September, 2010 at 1:19 pm  

    Jai,

    Part of the problem is Dems lack cojones to take on Fox. While they don’t want to be seen as victimising them, at the same time the consistent caving in to Fox propaganda by administration is getting a little annoying (like in the case of Shirley Sherrod!).

    I live deep in tea party country and you’d be surprised how many people buy into that crap. America is two diametrically different nations sewn together. Dem would be lucky to hold onto Senate come November!

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