Elections

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  • FoxPAC doubles down: News Corp. gives $1 million to GOP-aligned Chamber

    Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

    In the wake of its $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association in August, News Corp. -- parent of Fox News -- has literally doubled down on aligning itself with the conservative agenda by donating another $1 million, this time to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has reportedly devoted millions of dollars this cycle to running political ads on behalf of Republican Senate candidates. Politico reported:

    Spokesmen for News Corp. and for Fox declined to comment on the chamber contribution, or on whether Fox chief Roger Ailes, a former GOP political operative, had a role in it.

    [...]

    A spokesman for the chamber, J.P. Fielder, declined to discuss or confirm a specific contribution - the chamber is fighting to continue to keep contributions secret -- but responded to a question about the Fox donation by characterizing the chamber's agenda.

    "What I can tell you is that the chamber has been and will continue to be engaged in the issue debate in this election cycle, focusing our efforts on educating voters about where candidates stand on policies that create jobs," Fielder said.

    Specifically, the chamber has said it plans to spend $75 million in connection with the 2010 election, and has so far has directed substantial amounts to Republican Senate candidates. As of Sept. 15th, the group had spent $6,747,946 airing more than 8,000 ads on behalf of GOP Senate candidates, according to a study from the Wesleyan Media Project.

    Fox News has been alternately silent and shameless about the RGA contribution. It barely acknowledged the donation on air -- at least until Media Matters bought ad time on The O'Reilly Factor to inform its viewers about it. And Fox has been so blithe about the contribution that Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace named the RGA's executive director his "Power Player of the Week."

    So get to know your senior Chamber personnel, because if Wallace's RGA puff is any indication, you may be seeing more of them on Fox News. And expect Fox to say even less about the Chamber donation that it did about the RGA one.

    UPDATE:

    Media Matters VP Ari Rabin-Havt released the following statement in response to News Corp.'s latest donation:

    Fox is having it both ways right now as a news organization and political campaign. With $2 million direct from their corporate treasury invested in the defeat of Democratic candidates, it is an insult to actual journalists that the network is treated as anything other than a research, fundraising, and communications arm of the Republican Party. They don't belong in the front row of the White House briefing room, they belong at RNC headquarters.

  • Hannity complains about cherry-picking ... as he cherry-picks Sen. Murray

    Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

    On his Fox News show tonight, Sean Hannity complained that an ad by Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson "cherry-pick[ed]" the words of his Republican opponent, Dan Webster, calling it "deceptive" and "dishonest." Hannity's outrage would have been more convincing if he hadn't been engaged in his own bit of cherry-picking earlier in the show.

    Hannity played a clip of Democratic Sen. Patty Murray saying in 2002 that Osama bin Laden was "out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. He's made their lives better. We have not done that." This segued to guest Ann Coulter -- who conveniently has a new column repeating the very same quote -- denigrating Murray as "the stupidest person on the planet" and "abject moron" and claiming that "a skeleton has a higher IQ."

    But Hannity and Coulter took Murray out of context. As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported at the time:

    [Murray spokesman Todd] Webster said Murray's comments, to an honors class at Columbia River High School in Vancouver, were intended to get the students to think about America's role in the world and why bin Laden is popular in many poor countries.

    "This was not a dossier of the great works of Osama bin Laden. This is about how do we secure a better and stronger future for this country?," Webster said. "Do we close our doors and hunker down, or do we engage the rest of the world?"

    In her statement, Murray called bin Laden "an evil terrorist" who is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans.

    "While we continue to search every corner of the globe to destroy Osama bin Laden and his al-Quaida network, should we also consider the longer-term issue of what else can be done to improve relations with all nations including the Arab world?" Murray asked. "How else can we bring America's values to those who do not understand us?"

    [...]

    Michael Swetnam, co-author of a book on bin Laden and al-Qaida, said Murray's comments were mostly on the mark. He said bin Laden since 1988 has been on a mission to build schools, roads and homes for widows of those killed in the fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

    So, in fact, Murray was trying to explain why bin Laden was popular with some and why the United States is not, and she wasn't praising bin Laden. But don't look for Hannity to give you that context -- he's too busy hypocritically complaining about cherry-picking by others to be concerned about his own.

  • Fox foregoes covering the President to report on Peewee football, reality show polygamy, and a Republican running for Senate

    Blog ››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER

    Today, President Obama addressed families in a Des Moines, Iowa family's back yard. The president took questions and addressed topics such as America's middle class, the economy, manufacturing production, education, small businesses, tax policy, and health care. As so often happens, there was a significant discrepancy in the coverage of the president's address between the three major cable news networks. During Obama's appearance, CNN devoted at least 13 minutes of live coverage to the address, while MSNBC devoted at least 26 minutes.

    Fox News, on the other hand, devoted zero. That's right, Fox decided not to air any of Obama's appearance. They did note that he was speaking, and allowed Fox News White House correspondent Wendell Goler to briefly report on Obama's appearance. However, Goler did not relay any of the content of Obama's Q&A; instead, he reported that the electoral forecast for Democrats was foreboding, while showing a live shot of the president speaking. Now before you condemn Fox News, bear in mind that they had other stories that simply had to be covered. These stories included: a brawl between fathers of a Peewee Football league, a Utah reality show star being investigated for polygamy, vending machines which sell bars of gold, and, of course, a Republican who is running for U.S. Senate.

  • Dick Morris' remarkable feat of self-promotion

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    After watching Dick Morris' most recent interview on Fox News with Sean Hannity, you might wonder why there wasn't a flashing 1-800 number and a reminder that operators were "standing by," because the infamously ethically challenged Fox News political analyst had a lot of causes to crassly promote in a small window of time. All of them had one thing in common: Dick Morris.

    In case your head is spinning from all the pitches, here is a recap of Morris' product lineup:

    • His website, DickMorris.com. Morris apparently profits from his website by selling web ads on it via Google Adsense, while also soliciting subscribers for e-mail lists that he has used in conjunction with various conservative/Republican groups and candidates to raise campaign funds.
    • A new project called "Project 100" in co-operation with Michael Reagan's ReaganPAC. Morris describes the venture as an effort "to raise our sights and do independent expenditures in an additional twenty or so districts to give the Republicans in these newly marginal seats a big boost. We hope to raise $2 million so as to be able to put $100,000, on average, into each of these districts."
    • AmericansForNewLeadership.com, who has been running ads attacking Sen. Harry Reid in Nevada. Previously we noted that Morris has solicited funds for Americans For New Leadership via his website and has advised them on their advertising strategy all while soliciting funds for them on Hannity without disclosure.
    • His direct-to-video movie Battle For America featuring Newt Gingrich and Ann Coulter. The movie's website describes it as a "call to action by Dick Morris to take back our country" and "a searing look at the ongoing conflict between 'Constitutional Conservatives' and an out-of-touch, arrogant, and ever-expanding central government." The film was apparently created in cooperation with David Bossie's Citizens United.

    How much would you expect to pay for all these fabulous items? Well, considering the pitchman and his ethical track record, you should probably think twice.