Media Matters hopes 'very special message from Fox News' ad runs during O'Reilly Factor

Instead of just complaining about what a major cable news channel will or won't report on, a media watchdog hopes to buy an advertisement to make sure their news is heard. And even if the channel doesn't air it, the media will report on it, so it's likely to be a win-win situation.

The Washington Post's Greg Sargent reports:

Media Matters, which has raised the torturing of Fox News to a high art, has come up with a new one: The group is trying to run an ad touting News Corporation's widely-reported $1 million contribution to the Republican Governors Association -- on Fox, during Bill O'Reilly's show.

A Media Matters official sends over the ad, which you can watch below, and the spot coincides with a new front the group is opening against Fox: Media Matters and several other groups are about to call on the White House Correspondents Association to consider yanking Fox's front-row seat in the White House press room.

The idea behind the ad is that Fox News devoted little to no coverage at all to its parent company's $1 milllion donation, even though it was widely covered by many other news outlets and was widely pilloried by Dems as proof that Fox is a wholly owned subsidiary of the GOP. By running the ad during O'Reilly's show, Fox's most watched program, Media Matters hopes to bring to Fox viewers' attention what Fox News mostly wouldn't:

According to Ryan Witt at the blog Examiner, Fox News did report on the $1 million donation for a total of 39 seconds.

Sargent notes, "The ad reports the News Corp. donation in straightforward fashion, with no attack on Fox, in order to make it tougher for Fox to refrain from running it."

However, since the ad is claiming to be a message directly from Fox News, when it isn't, there's little chance that it will air. The media might practice irony, but it never practices self-deprecation.

In a separate effort, Media Matters is also hoping to take away Fox News' front-row seat at White House briefings. The watchdog group has teamed up with Center for Media and Democracy, and Public Campaign to send a letter to the White House Correspondents Association which assigns the seats.

News Corp.'s generous gift to the RGA, and its subsequent explanation that "News Corporation believes in the power of free markets, and the RGA's pro-business agenda supports our priorities at this most critical time for our economy," should demolish any continued claims from Fox News and its enablers that the organization operates objectively and in good faith.


What message does it send to reward a "news outlet" that ideologically and financially supports the Republican Party with a place of distinction in the White House briefing room? How is the country better served by continuing to disregard Fox News' unabashed partisan tilt even as it becomes more and more obvious?

This is an issue that transcends mere ideological squabbling. If democracy demands a free press, then it also demands that partisan political outfits not be treated as legitimate news outlets or rewarded for masquerading as such. It also demands that news outlets maintain strict financial separation from the political parties and candidates they're supposed to cover. The White House Correspondents Association can demonstrate its commitment to preserving the media's role as independent agents of good governance by rescinding Fox News' front-row spot in the White House briefing room.

But News Corp. isn't the only media company to give money to political causes. The parent companies of at least five other major media companies have also made donations, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The corporations include:

* News Corp. (Fox News Channel, FX, FUEL TV, others)

* General Electric (NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo, USA, Bravo, others)

* National Amusements (CBS Corp. and Viacom)

* Comcast Corp. (G4, E!, others)

* Time Warner (CNN, TBS, Cinemax, TNT, Warner Bros./CW, others)

* Walt Disney Co. (ABC, ESPN, others)

These organizations have -- either through corporate treasuries, sponsored political action committees or both -- donated almost $7 million to political action committees and so-called “527 committees� during 2009 and 2010 and nearly $38 million since the 1990 election cycle.

This video is from Media Matters, uploaded to YouTube Aug. 20, 2010.

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