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Watchdog critic frets about Fox's 'leftward' slant

RAW STORY
Published: Friday October 20, 2006

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A watchdog critic known for attacking the media for percieved liberal bias is concerned about a possible "leftward" slant in the reporting of Fox News, RAW STORY has learned.

Accuracy in Media editor Cliff Kincaid plans to attend the annual stockholders' meeting of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation today in New York City to seek answers to a list of 27 questions posted at AIM's website. Eight of the questions touch upon Murdoch's relationship with the Clintons and how that may have affected Fox News coverage.

"The New York Times reported that your son James is 'steadfastly liberal' and that he 'has supported Bill Clinton and Al Gore whose daughter he befriended at Harvard,'" Kincaid inquires of Murdoch. "How liberal is James Murdoch and what plans does he have for taking the company in a more leftward direction?"

Kincaid notes that "News Corporation hired the Glover Park Group, a public relations firm run by friends of Bill and Hillary Clinton, to block changes in the TV ratings system," and asks, "Was this part of News Corporation's move to the left?"

The watchdog critic also demands to know more details about Internet communications reportedly received by Fox related to the scandal surrounding former Congressman Mark Foley and his allegedly inappropriate relationships with teenage congressional pages.

"The October 7 Fox News Watch program did a segment on how some news organizations failed to do stories about the Foley email messages, but did not mention that Fox News was one of those news organizations," Kincaid writes. "How do you explain this omission?"

Kincaid also wants to know how much it cost to settle a sexual harrasment suit filed against Bill O'Reilly.

Excerpts from AIM's 27 questions:

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1) New York magazine calls Rupert Murdoch a friend of Bill Clinton and Hillary. Rupert Murdoch told Time magazine that he is someone "reputed to be more conservative than I really amů" On what issues do you have liberal views?

2) Federal Election Commission records show an April 2006 contribution from Rupert Murdoch to Harold Ford Jr. in the Tennessee Senate race. Why are you supporting the liberal Democrat over the Republican in that race? (FEC records also show Rupert Murdoch contributions to Democratic Senators John Kerry, Charles Schumer, and Hillary Clinton, and Democratic Rep. Ed Markey.)

3) In an article titled "Is Murdoch Going Liberal?," the New Yorker magazine referred to "The News Corp. progressives," a group of liberals inside the company, which has "greater access to Murdoch on a daily basis" than conservatives. The magazine identified members of this "progressive" group as "Murdoch's deputy Peter Chernin; the two co-chairs of Fox's film division, Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos; and Gary Ginsberg, whom Murdoch refers to as his 'ambassador to the Clinton Administration.'" The magazine said that "Murdoch has told associates that it was Ginsberg who persuaded him to hold the fund-raiser for Hillary." What did Ginsberg, a former Assistant Counsel to President Clinton, say to convince you to hold the Hillary fundraiser?

4) Commenting on the News Corporation fundraiser for Hillary, Jeff Cohen asked, "What does Hillary want from Murdoch? Obviously, softer coverage from Fox and elsewhere." Cohen, a liberal, asked another question many conservatives were asking: "She certainly doesn't need his help getting funds; she raised $6 million in the first three months of 2006." When Senator Clinton made an appearance at a Fox News event celebrating the creation of the Fox News Sunday show, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace crowed that her presence "makes a statement about how we're regarded in top Democratic circles." So why is the company raising money for Senator Clinton?

5) Rupert Murdoch has often been described as a "right-wing media mogul." But the company does business with the Chinese Communists. You and your top lieutenant Peter Chernin, president of News Corporation, have been long-time supporters of Democratic Party politicians. In what areas of the company are your right-wing views reflected?

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The full list of questions can be read at this link.