On the Ground Zero 'Mosque'

By EDITORIAL  |  August 19, 2010

More on Murdoch
What a surprise. News Corp., parent company of Fox News Channel, recently gave a cool million dollars to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) — a shameless, open acknowledgment of the symbiosis between the network and the GOP.

It's an awfully brazen move, even for veteran Republican dirty-trickster Roger Ailes, who runs the network. Sure, corporations — including, sad to say, parent companies of NBC (General Electric), CBS (Viacom), ABC (Disney), and CNN (Time Warner) — routinely give to party committees like the RGA. But even in that context, a million-dollar check to a single party committee is eye-popping.

The only thing that might prompt News Corp. to think twice about such a contribution would be concern about losing credibility in the eyes of its viewers. But any viewers still unaware of the network's role as GOP house broadcaster obviously cannot be swayed by mere evidence.

It's hard to imagine now, but as recently as the 2008 election cycle, Fox News tried to maintain at least a façade of "fair and balanced" programming. That has vanished, big time: left-leaning Alan Colmes was dropped as Sean Hannity's co-host; Glenn Beck oozed his way over from CNN; Greta Van Susteren's softball interviews now give a platform for conservative blowhards rather than crime-victims' kin; Megyn Kelly and the Fox & Friends crew have turned the daytime schedule into nine hours of little more than right-wing ranting; and, of course, the network has become a promotional and monetary lifeline for Republican pols like Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee.

The good news is that the contribution had to become public — the RGA, a "527" committee, must disclose that information. If Fox News viewers wish, they can punish the network for the contribution.

Target Corporation is reportedly paying a price, since the public learned about its $150,000 contribution to a committee supporting a pro-business gubernatorial candidate — who also had a long anti-gay record.

If corporations learn a lesson from these incidents, it will not be "Stop giving to odious political causes," but "Make sure the public doesn't find out."

They can do that now, thanks to the Supreme Court's recent Citizens United ruling, which allows unlimited corporate contributions for political groups that, unlike 527s, need not disclose under current law. And it's unlikely that law will change any time soon, thanks to Republicans' unwillingness to support the DISCLOSE Act, which would require such disclosure. (Would you believe it? Fox News hosts like Van Susteren have repeatedly bad-mouthed the DISCLOSE Act.)

The only surprise, we suppose, is that the network didn't take advantage of the loophole it helped create. The worm turns and the scum also rises.

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