On today's edition of Fox News' purported media analysis show, Fox News Watch, host Jon Scott and the show's panelists lined up to disparage President Obama's recent criticism of their network as pushing a "destructive" political viewpoint. But somehow, the show ran out of time before the panelists could discuss the recent revelation that Fox parent News Corp. gave $1 million to an organization spending tens of millions of dollars to defeat Democratic congressional candidates.
Obama told Rolling Stone that Fox News is part of the tradition of using the press "very intentionally to promote their viewpoints" because Fox "has a very clear, undeniable point of view" that "is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth" of the country. As we've pointed out, Fox has a long history of actively promoting the Republican agenda and of opposing economic positions which economists say would stimulate growth.
The Fox News Watch crew was not happy.
New America Foundation fellow Jim Pinkerton said that Obama's comments are "just not the way presidents who took an oath to defend the whole country are supposed to talk," while National Review's Rich Lowry called them "absurd" and Scott described them as "vestiges of the enemies list."
Fox News contributor Judy Miller said the comments are "politically stupid" and "inaccurate" and "will do nothing other than drive up Fox ratings, so bring it on, because anybody who wants a skeptical point of view may be turning that dial to Fox." (Miller really should avoid discussing the "skeptical point of view" as it relates to journalism.)
Ellison was the only one to offer any defense of Obama, saying that "there's something to what he's saying, there is far more frank point-of-view in television news today than there has ever been," and that there's "nothing wrong" with saying the political views of others are "destructive."
Unmentioned on the program was Thursday's revelation that News Corp. had donated $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is planning to spend $75 million on the 2010 election and has already devoted nearly $7 million to the benefit of GOP Senate candidates.
A Nexis search reveals that the program has also never mentioned the exposure in August of News Corp.'s $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association, the GOP organization that helps coordinate Republican gubernatorial campaigns and pays for independent ads in support of their candidates. According to Bloomberg News, News Corp. was "[t]he Republicans' biggest corporate donor" this year.
Politico's Ben Smith has reported that according to a source "close to News Corp.," the company believed the donations were "supposed to be secret." Fox News Watch is certainly doing everything it can to keep them that way.