Public Campaign, CMD & Media Matters Issue Joint Letter After News Corp.'s $1 Million Donation to Republican Governors Assoc.

Washington, DC -- Today, following reports that News Corp. donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, Media Matters for America joined Public Campaign and the Center for Media and Democracy in issuing a letter to the White House Correspondents Association

The letter reads:

To Board Members of the White House Correspondents Association:

We are writing today to ask that the White House Correspondents Association reconsider its decision to allow Fox News Channel a front-row seat in the White House briefing room in light of reports that Fox News' parent company, News Corp., has donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association -- a massive ethical lapse that demonstrates Fox News' inability to function as an objective media institution.

Media outlets are supposed to cover elections and issues to inform voters, not help to elect candidates who espouse certain positions. With so much News Corp. money invested in the election of Republican gubernatorial candidates, can Fox News be expected to disinterestedly cover those races or Republican politics in general?

News Corp.'s generous gift to the RGA, and its subsequent explanation that "News Corporation believes in the power of free markets, and the RGA's pro-business agenda supports our priorities at this most critical time for our economy," should demolish any continued claims from Fox News and its enablers that the organization operates objectively and in good faith.

When confronted by Nathan Daschle of the Democratic Governors Association about the need for disclaimers to Fox News' coverage of gubernatorial races, the network responded: "Nathan's stunt has run its course. His 15 minutes are up. Time to leave the stage."

This is not how legitimate news organizations respond to ethics scandals. Stonewalling tactics and snide attacks on critics such as these are more suited to political campaigns.

What message does it send to reward a "news outlet" that ideologically and financially supports the Republican Party with a place of distinction in the White House briefing room? How is the country better served by continuing to disregard Fox News' unabashed partisan tilt even as it becomes more and more obvious?

This is an issue that transcends mere ideological squabbling. If democracy demands a free press, then it also demands that partisan political outfits not be treated as legitimate news outlets or rewarded for masquerading as such. It also demands that news outlets maintain strict financial separation from the political parties and candidates they're supposed to cover. The White House Correspondents Association can demonstrate its commitment to preserving the media's role as independent agents of good governance by rescinding Fox News' front-row spot in the White House briefing room.

David Donnelly, Public Campaign

Lisa Graves, Center for Media and Democracy (publisher of

Ari Rabin-Havt, Media Matters for America

CONTACT:Jess Levin (202) 772-8162
Monday, August 23, 2010


Why not bring back the equal time doctrine. After all, we are discussing public airwaves, remember? Now, Fox has shown that (a) it does not abide by equal time, (b) most of its news is bias/propaganda, from the viewpoint of its foreign owners, (c) and it puts its money behind Republican / Fascist candidates. Of course, the screen on Fox should display a disclaimer - its not news, its opinion. The point is that once the Republicans controlled Fox, but, now, true to the Fascist ideology of the company, Fox controls the Republicans - exposure on the air, positive commentary, now money. The Supreme Court opened the door to all the corporate takeover of the USA. Its a disgrace. What will be the upshot? Rich get richer, poor get poorer, and the average American will never live as well or as long or as happy as their counterparts in "socialized" Canada, Japan, Europe, and the like (where there are found livable wages, free healthcare, free higher education, more). They will live like low paid, stressed out, insecure, uneducated, and unhealthy slaves in a country (only one in the world) where more women work than men, and most macho men depend upon their wife's paycheck to make the payments on his car, his furniture, his apartment, his appliances, his watch and ring, not their vacation (non-existent) or their children's education (likewise too costly and absent), until they die, poor, and are burned rather than buried, to save money they dont have after a lifetime of working like dogs. Woof Woof . . .

Dear Anonymous:
Thank you for writing in and raising the equal time doctrine! I agree with you wholeheartedly. The fairness doctrine would help tremendously.
And, the Supreme Court's decision is a disgrace!
We've got a lot of work to do together!! Lisa

NOBODY in America thinks that Fox News is a objective news organization, not even the people who watch it.

Dear Anonymous:

I understand your dog-bites-man view of Fox News' lack of objectivity. It's as plain as the day is long. But, I do think a news corporation giving a million bucks to politicians it is "reporting" on is new and worth calling out. And, it's part of the increased involvement in elections by corporations who can't vote and have already distorted public policy in numerous ways.

And, it is the case that the front row seats in the press briefing room give reporters an edge, and presidents typically don't give a front row seat to a big funder of their political opponents to try to score political points in the guise of reporting the news. That's not to say I think this White House or any administration should get a pass from the press. I expect tough questions and skepticism from the press about foreign policy and domestic policy. And, as you say, it's clear Fox has no objectivity.

There's a lot of other work we are doing on a range of issues, besides Fox. Still, I think it's important to object to this latest development. It crosses another line.