First, let’s get something out of the way. The man is the 117th richest person on the planet. Does anyone really think Rupert Murdoch gives a hoot about what goes on at FOX News? Sure, he’s leans, quite V8-ish, toward the right. Sure, the top guy at FOX is none other than Roger Ailes, whose own V8-ness precedes him. Does anyone think Murdoch, who most likely has Stewie’s stuffed bear named after him in the often sardonic and very non-conservative FOX Family Guy cartoon and who owns the longest running American sitcom, The Simpsons, cares about anything other than heading up successful (Read: lucrative) projects, whatever they may be? If MSNBC were as successful as FOX News currently is, I don’t think it’s a far stretch to guess that Murdoch might consider eyeing that network as well, with or without Ailes’ support.
That not withstanding, regarding this business about News Corp donating $1M to the GOP, took an unsurprising twist today when some sources have reported that Ailes, indeed, was possibly behind the decision to grant the gift:
Just say a little bird told me … the money doesn’t come from Rupert.
… the central advocate for giving the dough has been none other than Fox Chief Roger Ailes. In the past, Ailes has been stymied or neutralized in his quest to have the company put its corporate money where its mouth is, because the No. 2 in the company until last summer, Peter Chernin, was a Democrat.
With Chernin gone, and with Fox News outperforming most other parts of the company, Ailes is the central voice. What’s more, Chernin’s sidekick, corporate PR-guy Gary Ginsberg, who could be counted on to use the threat of bad press to keep Murdoch from giving in to Ailes’ none-too-politic schemes and demands, is also gone—purged, in part, by Ailes.
It’s one of the major inter-office issues at News Corp.: how to keep Roger from bullying Rupert.((1))
Of course, I would be hard-pressed to say how credible that “little bird” is but still, if it’s true, it’s fairly unexceptional.
The following excerpt from The Washington Post sheds more light on the marriage between FOX News and the GOP, and I agree on the point about FOX hereafter needing to add a disclaimer:
Fox News, the home of such hosts as Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly, has long been at odds with the Democratic Party. During the 2008 campaign, Murdoch and Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes held a secret meeting with candidate Barack Obama in an effort to clear the air. “I wanted him to understand that we’re a real journalism organization and we’re going to cover what’s there. We’re not out to get him,” Ailes said in a subsequent interview.
But the relationship blew up last year. 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.”((2))