FoxPAC: This is not how a legitimate news organization responds to an ethics scandal

Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

... but then, Fox News isn't a legitimate news organization.

On Monday, I pointed out that News Corp. -- the parent company of Fox News and The Wall Street Journal -- had donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, a party apparatus that supports GOP gubernatorial candidates. This donation contradicted News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch's comment that he doesn't "think we should be supporting the tea party, or any other party," and apparently violated the company's code of conduct.

A News Corp. spokesperson responded to the burgeoning scandal by basically saying that News Corp. made the donation because it supports the Republican Party's platform. As Eric Boehlert said on MSNBC, the donation demonstrates that there is "no daylight" between Fox News and the GOP, "and they don't apparently care who knows it."

Democratic Governors Association Executive Director Nathan Daschle has responded to News Corp.'s donation -- which appears to be unprecedented for a media company in both its size and it's one-sidedness -- by calling on Fox News to "add a formal disclaimer" to its coverage of gubernatorial races noting their parent company's donation. Daschle has also sought to go on Fox News to discuss the contribution.

Fox News' response has been striking.

One Fox News spokesperson told The Washington Post, "Nathan's stunt has run its course. His 15 minutes are up. Time to leave the stage." Another Fox spokesperson commented to Huffington Post: "We understand Nathan's desire to get face time on the most watched news network. And when he can offer insight on a legitimate news story instead of conducting a dishonest publicity stunt, we will consider having him on as a guest."

Meanwhile, Fox News' airwaves have been silent on the story. News industry analyst Ken Doctor writes of the Journal's coverage "One story this morning, two days after Bloomberg broke it. It's a short story, one that appears to be written oh-so-carefully. It doesn't acknowledge the firestorm that's erupted, and it helpfully turns over the third and fourth paragraphs to a News Corp. spokesperson. As a paying Journal subscriber, I'd have to say it's not up to Journal standards."

Confronted with its own ethical failing, News Corp. and Fox News have not responded with chagrin or by attempting to rectify the situation. Instead, they have lashed out at those who have raised the issue. And, go figure, the people they are attacking are Democrats.

I guess Fox News is back to making its donations to Republicans in kind.

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