News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, a proponent of comprehensive immigration reform, said at a House subcommittee hearing recently that Fox News, which News Corp. owns, is not "anti-immigrant." In fact, Fox News routinely polarizes and degrades the debate over immigration issues with outright falsehoods, fearmongering, and outrageous rhetoric that is hostile to immigrants.
From the September 30 edition of MSNBC's Countdown:
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From a September 30 House subcommittee hearing on the Role of Immigration in Strengthening America's Economy:
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From a September 30 House subcommittee hearing on the Role of Immigration in Strengthening America's Economy:
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With conservative friends like this in the press, why would Republicans need enemies?
Attempting to take aim at the "liberal media," Rupert Murdoch's New York Post uncorked some friendly fire over the weekend, with an article headlined:
Liberal media goes on attack against GOP's Boehner
The lede [emphasis added]:
Liberal media outlets are trying to smear the highest-ranking Republican in the House just weeks before the midterm elections with a deal-breaking scandal before he has a chance to take the speaker's chair from Nancy Pelosi.
A blogger from liberal Web site The Daily Kos pierced through Boehner's security detail at yesterday's unveiling of his leadership policy "Pledge to America" to ask if he was sleeping with a lobbyist from the Printing Industries of America.
The congressman ignored the pesky blogger with a flip camera and kept moving to his fleet of black Suburbans.
That's right, the conservative newspaper plucked a Daily Kos blog post out of Internet obscurity and pushed the embarrassing John Boehner story front and center in a botched attempt to attack the liberal media. In other words, the Post did a huge favor to Daily Kos (and a huge disservice to the Republican Congressman) by shining a spotlight on a story that would have otherwise been ignored.
And here was the Post's second futile gotcha attempt:
Insiders on Capitol Hill are buzzing about an upcoming New York Times exposé that will detail an alleged Boehner affair. Sources say the Times is looking for the right time to drop the story in October to sway the election, similar to how the Times reported during the 2008 presidential campaign on an alleged John McCain affair that supposedly had taken place many years before and that was flatly denied by the woman in question.
Note the complete lack of sourcing for the claim about the Times' supposed nasty hit piece. (Anonymous "insiders"? Gimme a break.) This is just awful stuff. Or, it's the Post being the Post – hyper-partisan and painfully unprofessional.
The punch line here is that the only one who comes out looking bad is the Republican congressman. Should Daily Kos send Murdoch's Post a thank-you note?
UPDATED: Now the conservative Washington Examiner has gotten in on the act, with columnist Byron York also pushing the Boehner sex rumors in a bungled attempt to dissect the liberal media.
Of note for the Post newsroom, via York:
[T]here are no indications that the Times, despite its recent interest in Boehner, is working on a story about any alleged affair.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch donated $1,500 to California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman last week.
Murdoch's personal donation to Whitman's campaign follows News Corp.'s controversial $1 million contribution to the Republican Governors Association earlier this year.
Murdoch is no stranger to California politics, having made personal contributions totaling $1 million to the California Republican Party in 1996 -- reportedly among the largest ever made to the party at the time.
Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, has donated a record $119 million to her own campaign, which, according to the Associated Press, is more than "any other political candidate in American history."
The Chronicle added that "Fox News has been a favorite visiting spot for Whitman in the last year" and that a recently-released Fox News poll shows Whitman holds 6 point lead over Democratic candidate Jerry Brown.
In June, we noted that Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade said on his Fox News Radio show that Whitman would defeat Brown because Brown has "got nothing to say" and "has not been relevant since the 80s."
Murdoch and his wife have also donated $20,000 to Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate -- and former Fox News host -- John Kasich. As we've documented, various Fox News personalities have fundraised for Kasich and promoted his campaign.
More proof today that Rupert Murdoch's Journal is morphing into a GOP bulletin board. The national daily inexplicably devotes an entire, 15-paragraph, double byline article to report the breaking news that conservative Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) won a straw poll vote at a right-wing gathering over the weekend, and heralding him as a possible 2012 White House contender [emphasis added]:
Mr. Pence, the third-ranking Republican in the House, won the "Values Voter" poll for the 2012 GOP nomination conducted by the Family Research Council Action, with 170, or 24% of votes.
An oil shale firm that reportedly plans to test drilling technology in western Colorado early next year now has the benefit of Rupert Murdoch's business acumen.
News Corporation founder and CEO Rupert Murdoch has joined the "Strategic Advisory Board" of Genie Energy Corporation and will "advise management on strategic, financial, operational and public policy matters related to Genie's shale oil ventures," including a "joint venture" "to develop oil shale on a federal leasehold in Northwestern Colorado," according to a September 14 press release from IDT Corporation, Genie Energy's parent company.
Genie Energy, according to the press release, "is currently comprised of IDT's interests in IDT Energy, American Shale Oil, LLC (AMSO), and Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI)."
On August 31, the Associated Press reported that American Shale Oil -- "[o]ne of three companies with federal leases to research and develop oil shale in Colorado" -- "said it plans to start testing its technology early next year." The AP noted that companies seeking to develop western Colorado's "abundant oil shale deposits" "are trying to find a way to economically extract the oil from shale, which requires heating it above ground after mining or in the ground," and that "[c]rtics say developing oil shale would consume too much water and harm the environment."
Last April, Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of Fox News parent News Corp., said that he doesn't think Fox News "should be supporting the tea party, or any other party," despite the fact that Fox News had aggressively promoted the April 2009 tax day tea party protests and has continued to promote tea party events ever since.
Now Fox News' Bill O'Reilly says that Fox News' Glenn Beck is the leader of the tea party movement. In his new book, Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama, O'Reilly writes:
If Barack Obama thought the last few months of 2009 were rough, well, the opening weeks of 2010 made them look like a piece of chocolate layer cake. Ladies and gentlemen, let the Tea Parties begin!
Exasperated by record-breaking government spending and a confusing health care bill that the President could not explain, thousands of everyday Americans began publicly demonstrating against the perceived signs of 'socialism' and, in general, the liberal tendencies of the Obama administration.
Led by Fox News commentator and radio talk show host Glenn Beck, and featuring high-profile encouragement from Sarah Palin, the so-called Tea Party movement blasted into the national consciousness.
But it was largely the ugly attacks against this group that drew them further into the spotlight and kept them there for so long. [emphasis added]
For his part, Beck has identified Fox News and the tea party as the "only thing" slowing down president Obama's legislative agenda.
This morning, Bloomberg News carried this stunning revelation:
"Programmers from North Korea's General Federation of Science and Technology developed a 2007 mobile-phone bowling game based on the 1998 film, as well as "Men in Black: Alien Assault," according to two executives at Nosotek Joint Venture Company, which markets software from North Korea for foreign clients. Both games were published by a unit of News Corp., the New York-based media company, a spokeswoman for the unit said."
Yes, News Corp.'s software division is funneling money into the pocket of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il. Sean Hannity has asked, "Why would we sit down with a mad man like Adolf Jr., Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-Il?" Perhaps he needs to pose that same question in News Corp.'s executive suite.
In fact, I wonder what Fox News personalities think of their boss' business dealings considering their own thoughts on the North Korean regime.
Consider: (From Nexis)
Glenn Beck, on the September 1, 2010, edition of his Fox News show:
I have news for you. There are a lot of universities that are just as dangerous with indoctrination of our children as these terror groups are in Iran or in North Korea. With the poll numbers continuing to slide for the new health care bill, our Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, just said and I quote, "We need a reeducation process on healthcare.
Bill Kristol, on the July 23, 2010 edition of Special Report:
What I think North Korea is a horrible regime that kills people and has gotten away with things in the past. Secretary Clinton and Gates have been strong. This is a situation the Obama administration came into office disliking what the Bush administration had done vis-a-vis North Korea, and announcing a new relationship with China, strategic reassurance. Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg giving a speech on this.
They were mugged by reality. The problem wasn't Bush, it was North Korea. And the big underlying story is China has not helped us make North Korea a responsible state.
Neil Cavuto, on the May 25, 2010 edition of Your World:
CAVUTO: But I guess what I would curious, do you think that it compromises our national security? I mean, I wonder if it`s just an accident that the nut in North Korea isn`t showboating the way he is precisely because he knows the world is kind of distracted.
EAGLEBURGER: Good for you. Neil, again, you will remember, I think, one time some time ago when we were talking about this and I said to you that I was afraid that people like the North Koreans were going to take a look at the wimpishness of this administration and decide it was a very opportune time to do some tough things.
I think what -- what the people in Pyongyang are now seeing is a president of the United States who largely has lost out in terms of anything in the way of some sensible approaches to foreign policy issues, to defense and to anything else in this budget.
And, yes, I think it`s made a difference, and it`s not just with the North Koreans, by the way. I think it has affected the Russians. I think it has affected the Chinese. And every single time this goes on like this, we end up with a foreign policy problem, which is going to be more and more difficult to solve, because everybody has judged us as no longer ready to do the things that, for a very long time, they all knew that we Americans would do if we were tread on.
Sean Hannity, on the April 13, 2010 edition of his Fox News show:
HANNITY: This president is now cutting our nuclear defenses on a day that he admits that al Qaeda is seeking them and would use them. That makes no sense to me.
DOUG SCHOEN: Sean, frankly, I'm more concerned that we left Iran and North Korea out of this summit. But we have to talk about the good, bad, and to cooperate.
HANNITY: Why would we sit down with a mad man like Adolf Jr., Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-Il?
Follow Ari Rabin-Havt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/arirabinhavt
Is there any part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire not embroiled in controversy?
The New York Times Magazine has an explosive report detailing how reporters at News of the World -- a Murdoch property and Britain's largest tabloid -- were found to have hacked the phones of Royal family members and those of their inner circle last year.
The piece by Don Van Natta Jr., Jo Becker, and Graham Bowley is a must read and includes some startling background on the year-old scandal (emphasis added):
As Scotland Yard tracked [News of the World reporters Clive] Goodman and [Glenn] Mulcaire, the two men hacked into Prince Harry's mobile-phone messages. On April 9, 2006, Goodman produced a follow-up article in News of the World about the apparent distress of Prince Harry's girlfriend over the matter. Headlined "Chelsy Tears Strip Off Harry!" the piece quoted, verbatim, a voice mail Prince Harry had received from his brother teasing him about his predicament.
The palace was in an uproar, especially when it suspected that the two men were also listening to the voice mail of Prince William, the second in line to the throne. The eavesdropping could not have gone higher inside the royal family, since Prince Charles and the queen were hardly regular mobile-phone users. But it seemingly went everywhere else in British society. Scotland Yard collected evidence indicating that reporters at News of the World might have hacked the phone messages of hundreds of celebrities, government officials, soccer stars -- anyone whose personal secrets could be tabloid fodder. Only now, more than four years later, are most of them beginning to find out.
As of this summer, five people have filed lawsuits accusing News Group Newspapers, a division of Rupert Murdoch's publishing empire that includes News of the World, of breaking into their voice mail. Additional cases are being prepared, including one seeking a judicial review of Scotland Yard's handling of the investigation. The litigation is beginning to expose just how far the hacking went, something that Scotland Yard did not do. In fact, an examination based on police records, court documents and interviews with investigators and reporters shows that Britain's revered police agency failed to pursue leads suggesting that one of the country's most powerful newspapers was routinely listening in on its citizens.
Roger Ailes -- the Fox News boss who apparently talked News Corp. honcho Rupert Murdoch into giving that $1 million contribution to the Republican Governors' Association -- didn't make as much money this year as he did last year.
The Hollywood Reporter's Georg Szalai reports:
[Rupert Murdoch's] salary was unchanged at $8.1 million, while his performance-based bonus dropped to $4.4 million. His total compensation compared with $22.2 million a year earlier. The figures were detailed in a regulatory filing late Tuesday.
Fox News head Roger Ailes made only $14.0 million, down from $22.1 million the year before, even though he had a higher bonus and higher incentive plan compensation. The decline was driven by a dip in the theoretical value of pension and other earnings, after a big pension payout last year.
When Media Matters first highlighted reports that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. -- the parent company of outlets like Fox News, Wall Street Journal and New York Post -- had given a $1 million contribution to the Republican Governors' Association, we noted the possible motivation behind the massive contribution:
According to the [Bloomberg] article, News Corp. is actually the RGA's "biggest corporate donor." Bloomberg suggests that News Corp. has made these donations due to their opposition to "proposed federal rule changes that would weaken the position of its Fox network in negotiations with cable companies," stating that "Governors may have a stake in the issue."
Over on Newser.com's Off The Grid blog, Michael Wolff has even more to say about the possible motivation. He writes (emphasis added):
The notable thing about Rupert Murdoch donating a million bucks to the Republican Governors Association is not that he's risking general censure and opprobrium with this donation, but that he's donating money at all. Murdoch hates the idea of giving away money for nothing. The simple public relations idea of courting goodwill by donating an infinitesimal part of your wealth to a charity of your choice is anathema to Murdoch. He thinks the rich guys who do it are phonies. He's always irritated with his 102-year-old mother for supporting Australian charities—in this regard he rather thinks she's a phony.
Just say a little bird told me … the money doesn't come from Rupert.
The company is claiming the donation has nothing to do with its news side, going so far as to audaciously say, "There is a strict wall between business and editorial." The "corporate side" made the donation, News Corp.'s hapless spokesman insists. But the central advocate for giving the dough has been none other than Fox Chief Roger Ailes. In the past, Ailes has been stymied or neutralized in his quest to have the company put its corporate money where its mouth is, because the No. 2 in the company until last summer, Peter Chernin, was a Democrat.
With Chernin gone, and with Fox News outperforming most other parts of the company, Ailes is the central voice. What's more, Chernin's sidekick, corporate PR-guy Gary Ginsberg, who could be counted on to use the threat of bad press to keep Murdoch from giving in to Ailes' none-too-politic schemes and demands, is also gone—purged, in part, by Ailes.
In April, Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of Fox News parent News Corp., responded to a question from Media Matters by stating that he doesn't "think we should be supporting the tea party, or any other party." Murdoch's statement stands in stark contrast to his company's recent $1 million contribution to the Republican Governors Association, and News Corp's reported statement yesterday that the "RGA's pro-business agenda supports our priorities at this most critical time for our economy."
To be clear, even at the time, Murdoch's April statement flew in the face of what Fox News has been doing for years. As Media Matters has exhaustively documented, Fox News has tirelessly advocated for the Republican Party and its policies. Indeed, numerous Republican Party officials and Fox News employees have acknowledged the network's role in pushing GOP messaging and candidates.
In May, I noted that Rupert Murdoch's Times Online and Sun Online were clamping down on traffic stats in advance of putting up a paywall.
In retrospect the move appears to have been adept, especially when you consider the post-paywall traffic decline of more than 1.2 million readers from the two papers.
MediaWeek's Sarah Shearman reports:
In May, the free-to-access website Timesonline.co.uk attracted 2.79 million unique users in the UK, a slight increase on the level of the previous three months.
News International launched its separate Thetimes.co.uk and Thesundaytimes.co.uk websites on 25 May. It made registration compulsory and began redirecting users from the old site on 15 June and started charging for access to both sites on 2 July.
According to ComScore, the combined number of unique visitors to the two new sites has fallen to 1.61 milion in July, from 2.22 million in June, and 2.79 million in May.
The average number of minutes each user spent on the site was 7.6 in May, 5.8 in June and 4 in July.
Page views have dropped from 29 million in May to 20 million in June and 9 million in July.
News International has run an introductory offer offering subscribers 30 days' access for £1. Its basic pricing is £1 for a day's access to The Times and The Sunday Times and £2 for a week, while subscribers to each newspaper get free access to the related website.
No indications have yet emerged from the company as to how many people have subscribed or how much revenue subscriptions have generated.
The figures relating to dwell time and page impressions on the site suggest the actual number of subscribers is much lower than the 1.6 million recorded by ComScore, with many people accessing the homepage and then moving on, adding to the overall unique users but drastically reducing average time spent on site.