Donations to GOP, US Chamber of Commerce ‘in the interest of the country,’ Murdoch asserts
Accepting an award from the Anti-Defamation League, Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch criticized left wing groups and activists for what he said was a growing trend towards anti-Semitism.
“Today it seems that the most virulent strains [of anti-Semitism] come from the left,” Murdoch told an audience in New York Wednesday.
Murdoch said US college campuses and the “highest and lowest reaches” of European society are becoming infused with anti-Semitism, and “often this new anti-Semitism dresses itself up as legitimate disagreement with Israel.”
Murdoch said that much of the criticism directed at Israel’s actions is “part of an ongoing war against the Jews.”
He said this war has passed through three phases, with all-out war against Israel by Arab states being replaced by terrorism, and terrorism now being replaced by a campaign to “de-legitimize” the state of Israel.
In his claim that the left wing is behind the worst of anti-Semitism, Murdoch appears to be in agreement with the ADL itself, which last week issued a list of “The Top Ten Anti-Israel Groups in America.” Many on the list were activist groups associated with left-wing causes, such as Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, the International Solidarity Movement, and Students for Justice in Palestine.
Many Muslim-American groups also made the list, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim American Society. No right-wing groups made the list.
Murdoch’s speech at the ADL — and the very fact he was given an ADL International Leadership Award — has raised the ire of some progressive critics.
“Why would a prominent civil rights organization — one which is supposedly dedicated to fighting bigotry and discrimination — present an award to a man whose cable network profits from race-baiting and hatred?” asked David A. Love at the Huffington Post.
DONATIONS TO GOP, CHAMBER ‘IN THE INTEREST OF THE COUNTRY’
Under attack from some News Corp. shareholders over the Fox News parent company’s donations to the Republican Governors’ Association and the US Chamber of Commerce of $1 million each, Murdoch told shareholders at a meeting Thursday that the donations were “in the interest of our shareholders and the country.”
That seems to contradict a claim Murdoch made last week, when he told Politico’s Keach Hagey that the donation to the governors’ group was the result of his friendship with former Fox News host and GOP Ohio gubernatorial candidate John Kasich.
“It doesn’t reflect on Fox News,” Murdoch said. “It had nothing to do with Fox News. The RGA [gift] was actually [a result of] my friendship with John Kasich.”
“I didn’t say it had nothing to do with News Corp.,” Murdoch said at the shareholders’ meeting, when challenged about the comment. “I did make a foolish throwaway line saying — I was trying to — candidate Kasich who used to work for us for a number of years.”
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the Nathan Cummings Foundation, which owns some $50,000 of News Corp. stock, objected to the political donations and called for full disclosure of political donations — something Murdoch and the company’s board seems reluctant to do.
And MediaMatters reported that another shareholder — F&C Investments — declared they would be voting against News Corp.’s audit chairman for allowing the donations.
MediaMatters reported Friday:
According to Murdoch and the board of directors — who took questions from shareholders during the News Corp. annual meeting in New York this morning — the payments were reviewed by the general counsel. Sir Roderick Eddington, chairman of the audit committee, said he understood shareholders’ calls for transparency and Murdoch indicated the company would consider some type of disclosure.
Murdoch also said that shareholders would not be engaged in selecting recipients of donations, and that if shareholders disagreed with directors’ decisions, “you have the right to vote us off the board.”