Fox News should run a disclaimer notifying viewers that it contributed $1 million to the Republican Governors' Association whenever the network covers gubernatorial races, says the head of the Democratic Governors' Association.
In a letter to Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, DGA Executive Director Nathan Daschle writes:
For the first time in history, your organization is openly and proudly supporting the defeat of Democratic governors with an unprecedented political contribution of $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. In fact, your company provided the single largest corporate contribution to our opposition.
In the interest of some fairness and balance, I request that you add a formal disclaimer to your news coverage any time any of your programs cover governors or gubernatorial races between now and Election Day. I suggest that the disclaimer say: Ã¢â‚¬Å“News Corp., parent company of Fox News, provided $1 million to defeat Democratic governors in November.Ã¢â‚¬Â
"What we saw today is Fox News make the movement from a media organization to a political organization," Daschle told MSNBC Tuesday. "We ought to just recognize Fox News for what it is. It is literally the mouthpiece of the Republican Party."
CNN notes that Fox's contribution to the Republican Governors' Association may be the largest of its kind by a media organization, but News Corp. is not the only media owner donating to this year's races.
A CNN review of financial contributions made by media corporations showed that the parent companies of CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC have all made at least six-figure contributions to political parties and candidates. But none of them have given one organization so much money relative to its equivalent association on the other side of the aisle.
News Corp. is reportedly the only major media owner in the US that has donated solely to one political party.
Writing at PoliticsUSA, Jason Easley suggests that the DGA's request for a disclaimer is more an attempt at drawing attention to Fox News' political role than a genuine attempt at having a disclaimer placed on the news network.
"[T]he purpose of the statement was never about getting FNC to change their behavior," he writes. "The point of the request was to continue to call attention to the overtly partisan behavior of Fox News."
Fox's response to Daschle's request was strong enough to suggest the network may see the issue as a potential political problem.
"Nathan's stunt has run its course," spokesman Brian Lewis said in a statement quoted at CNN. "His 15 minutes are up. Time to leave the stage."
Daschle told MSNBC Tuesday that he had made repeated attempts to get on Fox News to discuss the issue, but was rebuffed.
The following video was broadcast on MSNBC's Ed Show, August 17, 2010, and uploaded to the Web by MediaMatters.