Did Fox News approve its hosts' speeches to these groups?

In an article on Fox Business analyst John Stossel's scheduled anti-health care reform speeches for the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, The New York Times reported that a “Fox spokesperson said all speeches given by employees require approval from the network and said his Arkansas appearances were arranged before he was a Fox employee.” Media Matters for America has assembled a list of recent speeches given by Fox News hosts Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Mike Huckabee, as well as Fox News political contributor Newt Gingrich, in which they appeared before conservative political organizations or endorsed Republican candidates, reinforcing the fact that Fox News is itself a conservative political organization.

NYT: Fox spokesperson says network approves employees' speeches

From the October 27 Times article:

Mr. Stossel had delivered speeches to political groups long before joining Fox. While working at ABC,where he was the co-anchor of “20/20,” he was allowed to deliver speeches to Americans for Prosperity and other organizations. An ABC spokesman said Mr. Stossel had a long-standing arrangement with the network to donate all money from speaking engagements to charity.

On Tuesday, Mr. Stossel said, “My understanding is that Fox folks are free to give speeches.” A Fox spokesperson said all speeches given by employees require approval from the network, and said his Arkansas appearances were arranged before he was a Fox employee.

Huckabee, Gingrich spoke at CPAC 2009

Fox personalities spoke at convention for conservative activists. According to the website of the American Conservative Union, “Since 1973, the ACU Foundation has hosted the annual Conservative Political Action Conference [CPAC], where thousands of conservative activists and leaders from across the country join together for a three-day event to discuss current issues and policies and to set the agenda for the future of the conservative movement.” CPAC 2010 cosponsors include Americans for Tax Reform, FreedomWorks, Media Research Center, and Townhall. In 2009, Huckabee and Gingrich spoke at CPAC; Rush Limbaugh was the keynote speaker.

Hannity, Huckabee, O'Reilly have spoken at Values Voter Summits

Fox hosts spoke at summit for the religious right. The Values Voter Summit is sponsored by FRC Action, “the legislative action arm of Family Research Council,” and co-sponsored by groups including the American Family Association, Focus on the Family Action, and The Heritage Foundation. 2009 speakers included several conservative Republicans and members of various conservative political organizations. Hannity spoke at the 2006 Summit, while O'Reilly and Huckabee spoke at the 2009 summit. O'Reilly received the Media Courage Award; his speech was reportedly closed to the press.

Huckabee, Hannity have given speeches boosting conservative candidates

Huckabee was keynote speaker at campaign event for Vander Plaats. According to Huckabee's Iowa coordinator, Lori Jungling, during a June speech, Huckabee endorsed Iowa gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats. In a blog post, Jungling wrote that Huckabee “stated that what Vander Plaats stands for is more than a political position; it is who he is and what his life is about and because of this his positions will not change according to which way the wind blows.”

Huckabee spoke at campaign event for Kasich. On October 13, Huckabee appeared at a campaign event for Ohio gubernatorial candidate and former Fox News host John Kasich.

Hannity reportedly introduced GOP presidential hopeful Giuliani at fundraiser. Hannity reportedly “introduced the Republican front-runner [Rudy Giuliani] at a closed-door, $250-per-head fundraiser Aug. 9 in Cincinnati, campaign officials acknowledge.” Hannity's “bosses at Fox News Channel and WABC, flagship station for his national radio show, defended their marquee star by arguing that he's not a journalist and shouldn't be judged as one. 'Sean is not a journalist - Sean is a conservative commentator,' said Bill Shine, Fox's senior vice president of programming. 'Sean doesn't hide, and never has hidden, his beliefs from anyone.' ” [NY Daily News 08/17/2007]

Hannity “helped rally Santorum supporters” during Senate race. According an October 2006 report by National Review Online's Kathryn Jean Lopez, Hannity “helped rally [Rick] Santorum supporters in the most Republican county in the state for their get-out-the-vote effort. [...] Hannity emphasized voter duty: 'The senator has done his job. And he can't win without your support.' Hannity made clear, always to audible audience agreement: 'The stakes could not be higher. ...This election means everything.' He encouraged those gathered to work toward 'a presidential turnout.' ” Lopez further reported: “As Sean Hannity put it on Saturday night, 'I've seen a lot of politicians in my day, but I've seen very few leaders.' Rick Santorum's been 'a consistent leader' and is one of 'the right men in the right place at the right time' in the Senate.” [National Review Online 10/30/2006]

Speeches at other political events

Gingrich was keynote speaker at House/Senate GOP fundraising dinner. Gingrich was the keynote speaker at a June 9 fundraising dinner for the Senate and House Republican campaign committees. The dinner's guest list reportedly “included 33 Republican senators and Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele” and “raised $14.45 million for congressional Republicans, money that will be split evenly between the Senate and House campaign committees as they seek to win back majorities in next year's midterm elections.”

Huckabee spoke at “How to Take Back America” conference. On September 26, Huckabee spoke at the “How To Take Back America” conference, the annual conference of Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, which calls itself “the most effective national organization of 80,000 men and women who share conservative and pro-family values.” Other conference hosts include the American Family Association and WorldNetDaily.

Hannity spoke at Faith and Freedom Coalition event. Hannity gave a speech at the August 22 Faith and Freedom Coalition's Freedom Rally. The Coalition's goal is to "influence public policy and enact legislation that strengthens families, promotes time-honored values, protects the dignity of life and marriage, lowers the tax burden on small business and families, and requires government to tighten its belt and live within its means."

Gingrich spoke at Heritage Foundation. On July 20, Gingrich gave a speech on national security at the Heritage Foundation, whose mission is to “formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.”

Fox News is a conservative political organization

“Voice of the opposition”: Fox News openly advocates against Democratic Congress, White House. Since President Obama's inauguration, Fox News has frequently engaged in political advocacy against the Democratic Congress and White House. Specifically, Fox News personalities have promoted and encouraged viewers to “join” tea party protests, Glenn Beck's organization The 9-12 Project and its September 12 “March on Washington,” and town hall meetings; engaged in a witch hunt seeking to “get rid of” Obama administration officials and nominees; implored viewers to call Congress and the White House to protest Democratic policies; and celebrated “victor[ies]” when Democratic legislation has been stalled.

Research and communications arm: Fox News is home to GOP in exile. A revolving door exists between the Republican Party and Fox News Channel, with a number of former Bush administration officials, former and potentially future GOP presidential candidates, and Republican strategists on Fox's payroll and airwaves. A Media Matters for America review of Fox coverage since September 1 reveals that these individuals, typically hosted alone or on unbalanced panels, often use their airtime to advance false and misleading claims about Democrats and progressives, as well as to fundraise, further demonstrating that Fox is effectively a conservative political organization and not a legitimate news outlet.