"Follow the money," the left insisted when News Corporation donated $1 million to the Republican Governor's Association. The implication was that since News Corp. gave lots of money to Republicans (nearly 10 times as much as it did to Democrats), Fox News coverage that casted the GOP in a positive light could fairly be seen as a direct result of that contribution.
By the standard much of the left advanced, National Public Radio's firing of Juan Williams can fairly be presented as a direct result of liberal billionaire George Soros's $1.8 million contribution to NPR two days before Williams's firing.
Like the News Corp. RGA contribution, there is no hard evidence to demonstrate a connection between the donation and Williams' firing. But a number of liberals didn't need any evidence in News Corp's case. They immediately alleged causation.
NPR flatly denies any connection between the Soros donation and Williams's ouster. Likewise, News Corp. brass rejected the notion that its political actives have any effect on Fox's news operation, or that of any other News Corp. subsidiary.
Ron Arnold writes in the Washington Examiner:
Alert readers noted the proximity of Soros’ NPR grant and Williams’ firing, which must have touched a nerve: NPR’s Schiller quickly told New York Times blogger Brian Stalter, "It's nonsense to suggest that there was any correlation between the two."
Maybe not. The same day, George Soros personally announced a $1 million grant to Media Matters, “to hold Fox News accountable for the false and misleading information they so often broadcast,” adding that “the incendiary rhetoric of Fox News hosts may incite violence.”
So the motive, if you will, is clear: Fox is bad. If Soros is willing to drop seven figures to slime the channel, he clearly does not like it. And neither does NPR, which fired Williams for what many - including Williams himself - believe was his closeness with the cable channel, and its star prime time talker Bill O'Reilly.
We also have correlation. Two days after the Fox-hating Soros donated to Fox-hating NPR, Williams was fired.
Motive and correlation were all it took for the left to ceaselessly holler about News Corp's political contributions, even though no observer could demonstrate a causal relationship between the contributions and Fox's news coverage.
In fact, NPR itself advanced this standard in News Corp's case. In one segment of "All Things Considered", NPR indiscriminately parroted the claims of one Eric Burns. Who is Burns? NPR only identifies him as a "former chief media critic for Fox News," never mentioning his current position: president of Soros-funded, Fox-hating Media Matters!
"This latest revelation revives complaints raised by the Obama administration last fall," NPR stated, citing White House claims that Fox is "the source and the outlet for Republican Party talking points."
So NPR may claim that questions regarding the connection between Soros's gift and Williams's departure are "nonsense," but the station is reaping what it helped sow. Apply the standard devised by Burns and his ilk and advanced by NPR and other mainstream media outlets, and the claim is not "nonsense" at all.
As for the rest of the left's Fox haters, it seems clear - and at this point it nearly goes without saying - that the folks condemning Fox's parent company have no interest in journalistic ethics, as they claim. Their motives are purely political.