WaPo Highlights Dem Outrage at Fox Donations to GOP, Downplays Reality of 50-50 Contributions (Correction)

The Washington Post hyped the news on the front of Wednesday's Style section that Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, "triggering swift criticism from Democrats that a contribution of that magnitude casts a shadow on his media properties, particularly Fox News." In paragraph 13, on page C-10, this apparent outrage of Republican favoritism gets ruined by reality:

Until now, the News Corp./Fox political action committee had given 54 percent of its donations to Democrats and 46 percent to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics -- including $8,000 to Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid's campaign committee and $5,000 to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's organization. News Corp. also gave $45,000 each to GOP and Democratic campaign committees on Capitol Hill.

So the real story here is that Democrats are having a fit over the RGA donation, even if the overall donation levels are about even. Reporter Howard Kurtz failed to inform readers that Murdoch held a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in 2006 (and the New York Post endorsed her Senate re-election bid). Kurtz only mentioned he'd "sought accomodations" with her:

An outspoken conservative, the Australian-born Murdoch has nonetheless sought accommodations over the years with political rivals, including Tony Blair when he was British prime minister and Hillary Rodham Clinton when she was a senator from New York.

Kurtz suggested the RGA donation spurred a new anti-Fox News political campaign by the Democratic Party:  

The White House refused for months to make top officials available for interviews and assailed Fox as an arm of the Republican Party -- an attack that was revived Tuesday.

"Any pretense that may have existed about the ties between Fox News and the Republican Party has been ripped violently away," said Hari Sevugan, spokesman for the Democratic National Committee. "Any Republican that appears on Fox should now have a disclaimer that they are financially supported by the network and any coverage of the elections this fall on Fox should be reported with disclaimer for what it is -- partisan propaganda."

But if "disclaimers" were being handed out, wouldn't every report on Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have to note they were funded by the parent company of Fox News? And wouldn't that tend to ruin the DNC spin? If Sevugan thinks the on-air FNC product is ridiculously unfair and imbalanced, if anything, the roughly 50-50 donations levels must be more balanced than the TV coverage. 

It's quite clear that the Democrats are used to a media environment where every network, every newspaper, and every "news" magazine caters to Barack Obama and find it scandalous and outrageous that anyone wouldn't march to their drumbeat. Being a "real" news network and not a "partisan propaganda" outlet by their definition actually requires being a partisan propaganda outlet for Obama. 

Correction: A look at the total numbers of News Corporation's overall political donations shows that the RGA donation throws off the rough balance of previous donations: Data collected by CQ Moneyline shows that News Corporation, through its political action committee, has contributed over $105,500 to Democratic candidates in the 2010 election cycle, while donating $74,700 to Republicans during the same time period. News Corporation's PAC has also donated $7,500 to Democratic-affiliated leadership PACs and $14,500 to GOP-related PACs. News Corporation, owned by Rupert Murdoch, has also given a total of $45,000 to other Democratic and Republican committees. That would mean a total of $158,000 to Democrats and $134,200 to Republicans. Adding $1 million to the GOP side shows a more dramatic tilt to the GOP than my faulty original assumption.
Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis