As a member of The Daily Signal team, I took offense to The Washington Post’s recent questioning of our “legitimacy” as a news organization. The Washington Post began its story stating that, “In an age of partisan media, the lines between ‘partisan’ and ‘media’ can sometimes blur.” I wonder if the reporter has taken a look at just how partisan some of our country’s media behemoths actually are. Here is a summary of the ownership, lobbying, and political contributions of several of America’s largest media companies.
It irritates liberals to no end when conservatives they revile don't comply with the caricatures they've created for them.
Former MSNBCer David Shuster, for example, subbing for radio host Bill Press on Wednesday, had this to say about News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch's testimony before Parliament (audio clip after page break) --
Tuesday’s CBS Evening News poked fun at 80-year-old Rupert Murdoch being nearly hit by a pie as the show led with the News Corp founder’s appearance in front of the British parliament to discuss the News of the World phone hacking scandal. During the opening teaser, after playing a clip of Murdoch exclaiming that "This is the most humble day of my life," Schieffer made a quip about "humble pie." Schieffer: "Elizabeth Palmer and Anthony Mason on the News Corp chief getting a taste of humble pie."
After Schieffer opened the show recounting the Murdoch story and introduced correspondents Elizabeth Palmer and Anthony Mason, Mason could be seen with a big grin, presumably in response to the CBS anchor’s opening. Schieffer summed up the day’s events:
On Tuesday’s World News on ABC, correspondent Jeffrey Kofman asserted that News Corporation founder Rupert Murdoch was a "man infamous for his ruthlessness and his arrogance" as he filed a report on Murdoch’s testimony in front of the British parliament.
Kofman also seemed to mock the News Corp founder as he remarked that "he's the boss, but the buck does not stop with him, and he is not planning to step aside."
On Saturday’s Good Morning America on ABC, after anchor Dan Harris recounted that News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch met and apologized to the family of the 13-year-old murder victim whose phone messages were hacked by a News of the World reporter, correspondent Jeffrey Kofman commented that Murdoch reminded him of Ebenezer Scrooge approaching Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol, rather than a character from a Shakespearean tragedy. Kofman:
Appearing on Thursday's NBC Today, MSNBC host Martin Bashir shared his thoughts on the tabloid phone hacking scandal in Britain and proclaimed that News Corporation owner Rupert Murdoch was "...a combination of Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist, and someone like James 'Whitey' Bulger, the mobster." [Audio available here]
Despite Bashir's outrageous comparison – Abramoff was convicted on corruption charges and Bulger is accused of 19 murders during his time as the head of the Irish mob in Boston – co-host Matt Lauer offered no objection to the claim.
View video after the jump
On Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Stephanie Gosk reported the latest details on the phone hacking scandal in Britain involving a Rupert Murdoch owned tabloid and declared: "Damage to the company [News Corporation] may have already been done. And some say it is about time."
Gosk noted that included, "actor Hugh Grant, who in recent months has led his own campaign against the tabloids." A sound bite was played of Grant: "we're talking about pretty nasty people." Gosk went on to speculate that the scandal may spread and put "pressure on Rupert Murdoch's worldwide media empire," which of course includes Fox News. She also argued that in Britain, Murdoch's "political support...has all but disappeared."
A diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks has revealed that American television programming is making strides in the war of ideas against Islamic radicalism that far outpace any American government-backed programming in the Arab world.
A favorite among Saudis, according to the UK Guardian, is a TV channel called Rotana, which is partially owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. And yes, Rotana does broadcast the Fox News Channel.
Do a media company's political activities affect the way its subsidiaries report the news? The folks at MSNBC sure think so. That channel's hosts have insisted ad nauseum that Fox News parent company News Corporation's political actives compromise the ability of Fox to report the news fairly and accurately.
But MSNBC has, as I have noted before, shilled for policies that would enrich its parent company, General Electric, under the guise of "environmental awareness." Today the Washington Post exposed yet another such conflict, reporting that GE took $16 billion in loans from the Federal Reserve during 2008 and 2009.
"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.
When news broke in August that News Corporation, the media conglomerate owned by Rupert Murdoch, had donated a million dollars to the Republican Governors Association, liberals howled that Murdoch's personal political views - reflected in that donation - compromised the neutrality of News Corp's subsidiaries. The same arguments are being offered today, as news emerges that Murdoch's company gave another million to the Chamber of Commerce.
But Murdoch testified before a congressional subcommittee on Thursday in support of amnesty for illegal immigrants. Almost immediately, the left began asking why Murdoch had not incorporated his own views on the issue into Fox News's programming.
So now that liberals may have some common ground with Murdoch on the immigration issue, they are pleading for him to do exactly what they criticized when it benefitted Republicans: inject his own personal political views into reporting by News Corp. outlets.
Rupert Murdoch sees a future in journalism. With newspaper circulation at post-war lows and major dailies shutting down in a number of cities, he may be one of the few optimists left. But first, Murdoch claims, the American government must change its obsolete and destructive regulatory policies that, he says, are preventing major news outlets from competing.
"Good journalism is an expensive commodity," Murdoch told an audience at a Federal Trade Commission workshop on the future of journalism today. "Critics say people won’t pay, but I say they will. But only if you give them something good." Murdoch has announced plans to institute paywalls for all online content offered by his giant news conglomerate, News Corp.
Though Murdoch is confident that paywalls would more than make up for revenue lost by shortfalls in advertising dollars, other newspapers' experiences with the system have failed to do so. The New York Times in 2005 began charging for many of its columns, but eliminated the paywall after revenues failed to outweigh advertising dollars. Still, there are a number of unexplored options for online news payment schemes, and Murdoch is no rookie in the news business.