Fox News Whitewashes Financial Ties With NASCAR, Controversies Over NRA Sponsorship Of Race
Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP
Fox News host Heather Childers failed to disclose her employer's financial ties to NASCAR and controversies over the National Rifle Association's sponsorship of a NASCAR race during an interview with NASCAR chairman Brian France.
On the April 15 edition of America Live, France responded to allegations made by driver Brad Keselowski that he was unfairly targeted by NASCAR officials because of incidents leading up to the April 14 NRA 500 race. After France denied Keselowski's allegations, Childers allowed him to talk about NASCAR's Going Green initiative.
Childers failed to mention, however, that Fox Sports -- like Fox News, a division of News Corp. -- has a multibillion-dollar contract with NASCAR to televise races. Last year, Fox and NASCAR extended their contract to 2022. Fox will pay NASCAR a total of $1.76 billion to NASCAR under the terms of the current contract, which expires in 2014, and will pay an additional $2.4 billion under the eight-year extension. France stated regarding the extension:
NASCAR has been in very good hands and has enjoyed tremendous success the last 12 years in large part because of our fantastic partnership with Fox and Fox Sports Media Group.
Childers also failed to mention controversies linked to the NRA's sponsorship of the race. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) requested in a letter to News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch that Fox outlets not air the race because showing it "sends a harmful signal to the families affected by gun violence, as well as the millions of Americans who support sensible gun control measures and enjoy your sports programming." Murphy added, "Inserting Fox Sports in this debate at this critical time will give credence to an extreme organization that is opposed to reasonable policies to stem gun violence."
In light of the controversy over the NRA's sponsorship of the April 14 race, NASCAR has stated that it would become more involved in race-sponsorship decisions by speedways. Two drivers were reportedly advised by their public relations directors not to do interviews in the race's media center so they could avoid having the NRA logo behind them.
Childers and France also made no mention of a man who committed suicide with a gun in the speedway's infield during the running of the NRA 500.