News Corp. partners with Saudi prince who Fox News lambasted

››› ››› DIANNA PARKER

In 2001, several Fox News personalities criticized Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal -- who reportedly suggested that the United States' Middle East policy contributed to causing the 9-11 attacks -- and praised then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani for not accepting a $10 million disaster-relief donation from Al-Waleed. However, Rupert Murdoch has recently finalized a deal giving News Corp., which includes Fox News, a 10 percent stake in Al-Waleed's media conglomerate, Rotana, according to reports.

2001: Al-Waleed reportedly suggested U.S. policy contributed to 9-11

CNN: Giuliani refused donation after Al-Waleed suggested U.S. policies contributed to the September 11 attacks. An October 12, 2001, CNN.com article reported that "Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Thursday the city would not accept a $10 million donation for disaster relief from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal after the prince suggested U.S. policies in the Middle East contributed to the September 11 attacks." The article further noted:

"I entirely reject that statement," Giuliani said. "There is no moral equivalent for this [terrorist] act. There is no justification for it. The people who did it lost any right to ask for justification for it when they slaughtered 4,000 or 5,000 innocent people."

Prince Alwaleed gave the mayor a check after a Thursday morning memorial service at Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center towers destroyed in the attacks.

The prince offered his condolences to the people of New York, but after the ceremony he released a statement suggesting the United States "must address some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack."

"The check has not been deposited. The Twin Towers Fund has not accepted it," Giuliani said in a statement late Thursday.

The prince's statement said the United States "should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stand toward the Palestinian cause."

Fox News personalities criticized Al-Waleed and praised Giuliani for not accepting the donation

Sean Hannity: Al-Waleed's statement was "such an egregious, outrageous, unfair offense that I would have nothing to do with his money either." On the October 22, 2001, edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes (accessed via Nexis), Sean Hannity said, "[T]his is a man that blames the United States and their policies for the attack that took place on September 11th. That is such an egregious, outrageous, unfair offense that I would have nothing to do with his money either, and I applaud what Mayor Giuliani did. It showed a lot of guts and character."

Hannity: "This is a bad guy. Rudy was right to decline the money." On the December 13, 2005, edition of Hannity & Colmes (accessed via Nexis), while discussing a grant Al-Waleed gave Georgetown and Harvard universities, Hannity said: "This is a bad guy. Rudy was right to decline the money. Why would these universities take money from him?"

Mara Liasson: "[I]t was an outrageous statement and the mayor did the right thing and refused the money." Discussing Giuliani's decision to return the money on the October 11, 2001, edition of Fox News' Special Report (accessed via Nexis), Fox News contributor Mara Liasson said Al-Waleed's statement was "completely false," "outrageous," and that "the mayor did the right thing and refused the money."

Bill Sammon: "[I]t's blood money and we're better off without it." During the same discussion with Liasson, Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon said of the money, "[W]hen you think about it, upon reflection, you think, you know, this guy is essentially trying to buy legitimacy for his extreme views, which is, you know, that the American policy towards Israel is to blame for this attack on the World Trade Center, which, of course, is outrageous, as Mara says." He continued: "And so I think it was the right thing to turn it down. Especially when you think about $10 million, in this grand scheme of $800 million. I mean, that's less than 2 percent of that. And when you look at the generosity of the American people, you know, that $10 million could be made up by people who are outraged by this very story. So I don't think -- I think it's blood money and we're better off without it."

2009: News Corp. reportedly secured 10 percent stake in Al-Waleed's Rotana

Variety.com: The pact "will see News Corp. take a 10% stake in Rotana." According to a December 1 Variety article, Murdoch "closed his long-gestating deal for News Corp. to acquire a stake in Saudi Prince Waleed bin Talal's Rotana media conglom. ... The pact, first announced by Daily Variety at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, will see News Corp. take a 10% stake in Rotana, with an option to acquire another 10%."

Al-Waleed "is a substantial investor in News Corp." The Variety article also said that the Rotana deal "deepens the strategic partnership between Rupert Murdoch and Prince Waleed, who is a substantial investor in News Corp.," and that Fox and Rotana "have a long-standing relationship."

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, News Corp.
Person
Rupert Murdoch
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