Rupert Murdoch insists that his network is “fair and balanced,” but he was stumped when asked which of its employees offer credibility to that claim.
During a recent appearance at a George Washington University forum, the Chairman and CEO of Fox News’ parent company found it no easy task to fend off questions about the channel’s predominantly conservative roster.
“Our news shows, our politics, or whatever — you know, we have Democrats and Republicans and libertarians, whatever,” Murdoch said. The other networks “tend to be Democrats,” he added. “Let’s be honest about it.”
One member of the audience took him up on the claim that Fox News employs Democrats. “If so, who would that be?” he asked.
A visibly nervous Murdoch folded his hands and froze for a few seconds. “I could give you a couple of names but they’re certainly there,” he responded. “Uh, if Roger [Ailes] were here he’d certainly spit them out very quickly. I think probably every night Greta Van Susteren is certainly close to the Democratic Party.”
If the host of On The Record With Greta Van Susteren “is certainly close to the Democratic Party,” the record shows that doesn’t mean she’s any further from the GOP than most other Fox employees. Weeks before the 2008 election she speculated on her Fox News blog whether there was a “[p]ossible connection between ACORN and Bill Ayers” as well as “between them and Senator Obama.”
Van Susteren has close ties to both parties as her husband John P. Coale serves as an adviser to Sarah Palin while her sister Lisa ran for the US Senate as a Democrat in 2006. Also, the conservative Accuracy in Media has frequently complained that Van Susteren is a “Clinton booster.”
“But people who have been involved in Democratic politics and so on, yeah, we have people,” Murdoch continued. “I’m trying to think of the name of the lady in California who’s been with us from day one who we use a lot.”
He might have meant Kirsten Powers, the Democratic political analyst for Fox News.
Another Democrat on the network is Alan Colmes, who now serves as a guest analyst on shows after being dropped as the liberal host of Hannity & Colmes.
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, who was fired from Fox News and has since waged a bitter feud with Murdoch, wondered: “Is Rupert Murdoch now, or has he ever been, stupid?”
This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast April 7, 2010.