In an exclusive interview published in The Australian Financial Review -- an Australian daily national economic newspaper -- News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch reportedly brags about Fox News host Glenn Beck, whom he describes as a "very genuine, extremely well-read libertarian," and criticizes Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, saying his "easy" treatment of now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an interview was "disgraceful."
When questioned by interviewer Max Suich about those who don't like Fox News, Murdoch reportedly commented: "Well half hate it, half love it. We said to the cable operators when we put the price up, we said, do you want a monument to yourself ... cancel us, you might get your house burnt down." He later said Fox News was "beating the shit out of" cable news competitor CNN.
In the wide-ranging interview, Murdoch also criticized President Obama, saying he "doesn't listen to anybody" and that "[w]ith any kind of a Republican candidate -- a decent Republican governor, say -- Obama will find it impossible to win [re-election]." Regarding the tea party movement Fox News has aggressively promoted, Murdoch said: "The Tea Party will stiffen the back of the Republican Party. This is an upswell. They [the Tea Party] have no leadership; that's why they get a few crackpots in it."
An excerpt from The Australian Financial Review interview, "Uncut: the thoughts of Chairman Murdoch," (subscription only):
Are you worried by the attacks on Fox News for bias and its support of the Tea Party and the Republicans?
NOooo ... people love Fox News.
Some people don't.
Well half hate it, half love it. We said to the cable operators when we put the price up, we said do you want a monument to yourself ... cancel us, you might get your house burnt down. (Both laugh.)
There's a lot of Democrats on Fox News, not just Republicans.
Everyone is invited on.
Bill O'Reilly gets Hillary Clinton on. He's disgraceful the way he gives her such an easy ride. We're beating the shit out of CNN.
There's a guy on Fox who started on CNN called Glenn Beck.
He is a little bit of an actor, he looks in the camera all the time. He's very genuine, extremely well-read libertarian, doesn't make any secret of it. He says don't trust the government, don't trust me, just trust yourselves.
He's hit a nerve. Millions -- millions -- watch him at five in the afternoon!
Is this healthy politics, such a huge growth in American populism?
The Tea Party will stiffen the back of the Republican Party.
This is an upswell. They have no leadership; that's why they get a few crackpots in it.
People just very deeply feel there's too much government. Under Obama it has accelerated.
The states are broke, taxes are going up. Land and school taxes all going through the roof in Nassau County, in Westchester.
Is this newsroom game ever going to get old?
You know the drill: Reporters and pundits go on and on about Sarah Palin's White House prospects. (FYI, they really want her to run.) But either out of some odd courtesy to her, or more likely because they don't want to flag the obvious flaw in the media's preferred Palin-might-run! narrative, any mention of her truly abysmal polling numbers is politely ignored.
The strange part is that the Journal article actually does address the issue of Palin and polling. Just not the most relevant part:
In a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in mid-October, Republicans cited her most often as the "most important leader or spokesperson'' for the GOP. Ms. Palin was named by 19% of Republicans in the survey, ahead of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, at 16%, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, at 14%, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, at 13%.
Independent voters also cited Ms. Palin as the "most important'' GOP leader, but they listed Mr. Romney second most frequently, with Mr. Huckabee a more distant third.
But hey, other than that her WH chances seem bright.
There are lots of things wrong with the Wall Street Journal's big A1 celebration of the Tea Party movement today, as the newspaper publishes a lengthy look back at how the groups were formed and how they gained political clout.
For instance, the Journal completely underplays the extraordinarily important role outside, non-grassroots, entities have played in propping up Tea Parties. Outside players like Fox News, right-wing billionaire David Koch, and Washington insider Dick Armey. Instead, the Journal sticks to the preferred Tea Party script of an authentic grassroots uprising.
The Journal also reports that Tea Party groups were instrumental in Scott Brown's Massachusetts win earlier this year; a claim that not even the Republican senator thinks is true.
But perhaps most amazing is how the Journal lets Tea Party founders claim that the conservative, anti-Obama movement was a reaction against Republicans, and that their anger was aimed at Republican members of Congress.
The Journal has a big A1 story today about how Republicans hope to learn from the mistakes they made following their 1994 victory, which handed them control of the House, and how House Republicans behind the scenes are getting ready to work in a bipartisan fashion should Rep. John Boehner become Speaker of the House. To implement a "a post-election strategy aimed at securing concrete legislation."
Republicans, who have built their agenda for the last two year around obstructing virtually any and all legislation favored by Democrats and who have adopted an historic brand of partisanship, are going to change their ways. Upon gaining control of the House, they're going to unveil a new era of political cooperation and reach across the party isle for the good of the country. (If Obama is willing to compromise, of course.)
Or so say Republican leaders.
It's all very interesting. And I'm sure it's especially interesting for Democratic members of Congress who have been treated to nothing but 'no' votes for two years. So what do Democratic members think about the soon-to-be era of bipartisan cooperation? Well, Journal readers don't know because there's not a single Democrat quoted in the article.
In a report about bipartisanship, Rupert Murdoch's WSJ forgot to interview any Democrats.
The New York Times notes that according to recently-filed disclosure reports, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. -- through subsidiary News America -- has donated an additional $250,000 to the Republican Governors Association, "bringing [News America's] total contribution for the year to $1.25 million."
According to RGA disclosures filed the evening of October 15 with the IRS, this most recent contribution was made on July 14.
At the News Corp. annual shareholders meeting, which took place the morning of October 15, Murdoch came under fire for the company's contributions of $1 million each to the RGA and the Chamber of Commerce.
Responding to shareholders' questions, Murdoch said the donations were "unusual" and "in the interest of our shareholders and the country." Murdoch also said that it is "in the interest of the country and of all the shareholders ... that there be a fair amount of change in Washington."
News Corp.'s additional $250,000 contribution to the RGA -- having not yet been publicly disclosed by the RGA in IRS filings -- was unknown to shareholders at the time of the annual meeting.
Murdoch and the board of directors did not offer information about the additional RGA donation that morning.
From the October 15 edition of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
Loading the player reg...
There was an entertaining moment during News Corp.'s shareholder meeting this morning when Rupert Murdoch was asked about Fox News president Roger Ailes' reported frustration with Glenn Beck's use of Fox News airwaves to promote his own brand and interests. Murdoch said to his interrogator: "I don't know whether you watch Fox News, but Mr. Beck is the least of our stars who take liberties in promoting their interests."
I see... Forget the concerned shareholder -- I don't know whether Rupert Murdoch watches Fox News. Only someone who has never sat down and viewed an entire episode of Glenn Beck could possibly think that Beck is the least egregiously self-promoting personality on Fox News.
Consider that in the past 20 months, Beck has used Fox News to:
Anyone who's watched Glenn Beck's Fox News program knows that it's essentially an hour-long infomercial for Glenn Beck (with the occasional anti-Semite thrown in there). Somehow, this seems to have eluded Rupert Murdoch. Perhaps he gets his news from CNN.
Transcript after the jump.
Fielding questions at a News Corp. shareholder meeting this morning, chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch flatly denied that hundreds of advertisers refuse to advertise on Glenn Beck's Fox News program due to a boycott organized after Beck called President Obama a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred for white people." Asked about reports that nearly 300 advertisers are boycotting Glenn Beck, Murdoch responded: "That's not true ... Maybe four or five who have been moved over to Mr. O'Reilly's program." Murdoch added: "No one has taken any money off the channel."
The questioner was referring to the September 29 New York Times Sunday Magazine profile of Beck, which reported that "as of Sept. 21, 296 advertisers have asked that their commercials not be shown on Beck's show." The website StopBeck.com lists at least 137 sponsors that refuse to advertise on Glenn Beck. Beck's advertisers now consist mainly of gold-selling firms, conservative magazines, and, naturally, News Corp. properties.
Reporting on the News. Corp annual meeting in New York today, The Hollywood Reporter noted that "Murdoch acknowledged: 'I don't agree with everything that's said on Fox News.' He argued that is only natural as the network tries to present different views."
From The Hollywood Reporter:
Questions about two $1 million political donations to groups with ties to the Republican Party took over a good portion of the News Corp. annual shareholder meeting here Friday.
Faced with criticism that the donations had political motivations and no business benefits, chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said they were "in the interest of the country and all the shareholders."
He also argued that they have "nothing to do with the editorial policies or the journalism" that the company provides.
Sir Rod Eddington, News Corp.'s audit committee head who came under pressure ahead of Friday's meeting due to the donations, also told shareholders that the donations decisions were made with shareholder interests in mind after input from executives and the general counsel.
Meanwhile, in the context of a question about Fox News, Murdoch acknowledged: "I don't agree with everything that's said on Fox News." He argued that is only natural as the network tries to present different views.
Audio and transcript below:
QUESTIONER: There's been reports today that Mr. Ailes is a bit concerned about Mr. Beck, um--
MURDOCH: Is what?
QUESTIONER: Mr. Ailes is a bit concerned about Glenn Beck and him promoting his personal interests too much on the show, damaging Fox News, been saying it's too partisan. This can play out in potential--
MURDOCH: I don't know whether you watch Fox News, but Mr. Beck is the least of our stars who take liberties in promoting their interests.
QUESTIONER: So you are 100 percent comfortable with everything Mr. Beck is doing on behalf of shareholders?
MURDOCH: I don't agree with everything that's said on Fox News because we have all opinions. Unlike other channels, we are completely fair and open. And we have Democrats being interviewed, Republicans. We have people come on and argue. We've all sides of everything, and I don't agree with everything that is said, naturally.
Responding to shareholder questions regarding News Corp.'s controversial $1 million contributions to the Chamber of Commerce and the Republican Governors Association, Rupert Murdoch said the donations were "unusual" and "in the interest of our shareholders and the country." Murdoch also said that it is "in the interest of the country and of all the shareholders ... that there be a fair amount of change in Washington."
According to Murdoch and the board of directors -- who took questions from shareholders during the News Corp. annual meeting in New York this morning -- the payments were reviewed by the general counsel. Sir Roderick Eddington, chairman of the audit committee, said he understood shareholders' calls for transparency and Murdoch indicated the company would consider some type of disclosure.
Murdoch also indicated that shareholders would not be engaged in selecting recipients of donations, and that if shareholders disagreed with directors' decisions, "you have the right to vote us off the board."
When asked specifically about his widely reported comment that News Corp.'s donation to the RGA was a result of his friendship with former Fox News employee and current GOP gubernatorial candidate John Kasich, Murdoch said "I didn't say it had nothing to do with News. Corp. I did make a foolish throwaway line saying -- I was trying to -- candidate Kasich who used to work for us for a number of years."
Eddington told a representative from the Nathan Cummings Foundation -- which sent a letter to the board of directors earlier this week calling for full disclosure of News Corp.'s political contributions -- that their proposal would be reviewed and that News Corp. would "act expeditiously."
Transcript after the jump.
Rupert Murdoch claimed in a recent speech that "the most virulent strains" of anti-Semitism "come from the left." However, his own Fox News personalities have a history of promoting anti-Semitic sources and mainstreaming people who have associations with anti-Semitic groups.
From the October 13 edition of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
Loading the player reg...
Earlier, we noted Rupert Murdoch's lame explanation for News Corp.'s recent donations to the Republican Governor's Association and GOP-aligned Chamber of Commerce. In short, Murdoch laughably claimed that the donation to the RGA "had nothing to do with Fox News" because he only gave the money due to his friendship with John Kasich, the former Fox News host that is currently the Republican nominee for Ohio Governor.
Discussing Fox's million dollar donation to Chamber of Commerce, Murdoch told Politico's Keach Hagey that News Corp. "didn't expect" the donation to become public. This raises the question: why is News Corp., which owns the largest cable news organization in the country, making secret political donations to GOP-aligned groups? And based on Fox's non-stop boosterism of the GOP, it's worth asking: has News Corp. made any other donations to GOP-aligned groups that they didn't "expect" will become public?
Last night, Politico's Keach Hagey got a response from Rupert Murdoch about News. Corp.'s recent million dollar donations to the GOP-aligned Chamber of Commerce and the Republican Governors' Association. Murdoch claims that the donation to the RGA "doesn't reflect on Fox News" and "had nothing to do with Fox News." Murdoch buttresses this assertion by stating that the gift was actually a result of his "friendship with John Kasich."
Murdoch apparently has an interesting definition of "nothing to do with Fox News." John Kasich is the former Fox News host who is currently running for governor of Ohio. Kasich was with Fox News for nine years and used his platform there to position himself for his eventual run for governor. Despite announcing in March of 2008 that he was paving the way for a gubernatorial run, Kasich continued to appear regularly -- in at least 123 segments* -- on-air as a Fox contributor and host until he formally announced his run on June 1, 2009.
After Kasich officially declared his candidacy, he has continued to benefit from his close relationship with the network, with Fox hosts and personalities campaigning for him, offering him easy interviews/infomercials, and openly rooting for his candidacy. As Hagey noted, Kasich's relationship with the network has raised ethical concerns in the past. The Democratic Governors Association "filed a complain with the Ohio Elections Commission accusing Fox News of making an illegal in-kind donation to Kasich by running a chyron featuring Kasich's website while he was on 'The O'Reilly Factor' soliciting donations."
RGA chairman Haley Barbour has previously said that he "asked Rupert Murdoch to help us, and he thought about it, and called me back, and said he wanted to help us. I'm very grateful."
Fox News is so far down the ethical rabbit hole that Murdoch apparently thinks "this donation had nothing to do with Fox News, I was only donating because I'm close friends with the former Fox News host running for Governor of Ohio" is a reasonable explanation. News. Corp's treatment of Kasich bodes well for their current stable of no less than five potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates.
And what about Fox's other million dollar donation to the GOP-aligned Chamber of Commerce? Well, Murdoch has an explanation for that, too. See, he "didn't expect" it to become public, and News. Corp is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, so Murdoch "just thought [he] was being a good member."
Add another example to Rupert Murdoch's "see no evil" approach to his flagship news property.
*CLARIFICATION: This post has been updated to clarify that Kasich appeared in at least 123 segments on Fox News. When Kasich guest-hosted The O'Reilly Factor, Media Matters counted each segment.
Put in the awkward position of reporting on its corporate owners, the GOP-friendly WSJ acknowledges today that News Corps recently donated $1 million to the conservative, pro-business Chamber of Commerce.
But look at how the Journal describes the organization:
While not an overtly partisan group, the Washington-based Chamber of Commerce is investing millions in support of GOP congressional candidates this year. In all, the camber says it plans to spend $75 million on the 2010 midterm elections.
Question: Has the chamber ever spent tens of millions to elect Democrats?