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Entries in Rupert Murdoch (4)

Saturday
Feb022013

Immigration Reform: Rupert Murdoch and the Fox News Factor

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In the brewing battle over a path to citizenship for the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants, Fox News Channel is uniquely positioned to play a make-or-break role. The question is, will it?

Advocates on both sides of a proposed U.S. immigration overhaul are closely eyeing the nation's most-watched cable news network -- and megaphone -- for politically-conservative causes as it joins a rapidly escalating national debate.

Will the network and its high-profile opinionators fan the flames of opposition to a comprehensive reform plan, or will it assume a more neutral role in a debate that does not break cleanly along party lines?

Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO at News Corp., Fox's parent company, is the wild card factor in which way Fox News will go.

Murdoch, Australian born and a naturalized U.S. citizen, has become an outspoken advocate for immigration reform and mass legalization of the country's undocumented immigrants, partnering with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in this cause.

Whether Murdoch's personal views will percolate through his network, or at least temper criticism on the airwaves of those who don't share it, remains to be seen.

"It depends on how prepared he is to muzzle people on Fox," said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform and frequent Fox News guest, who opposes the widespread legalization proposed by President Obama and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators this week.

"Rupert Murdoch, first and foremost, is a businessman," he said. "I'm not sure given all his other troubles he can afford to alienate his own audience."

Mehlman and other Republican critics of what they call an "amnesty" plan believe Fox News could be a crucial ally in the battle for public opinion on immigration.

They credit Fox News with helping to amplify their message and derail a similar legislative push that was backed mostly by Democrats and President George W. Bush in 2006 and 2007.

"That's what stopped the 2007 amnesty because all of a sudden all these members of Congress ... were getting called by their constituents saying what are you doing?" said Rosemary Jenks, the chief lobbyist with Numbers USA, which favors more stringent immigration controls.

But 2013 is shaping up to be a different game, immigrant advocates say, with Fox News possibly emerging as a potential boon.

"[Fox host] Sean Hannity is in favor, did an 180 degree turn. You're looking at [Fox host] Bill O'Reilly, who endorsed [Sen.] Marco Rubio's principles overwhelmingly. Even [Fox commentator] Charles Krauthammer has posted and said something needs to be done," said Brad Bailey, a self-described conservative Republican and businessman who chairs the Texas Immigration Solution.

"We need to see more Marco Rubios out there, we need people to come out and rally around them because the solution to this problem is what we need verses the rhetoric," Bailey said, suggesting the network could be a valuable forum to court moderates.

Bloomberg says much depends on the message Murdoch sends to Fox executives about how to handle the immigration story.

"The real thing is if he could get Fox to, you know, be the big champion, which sometimes they do," the mayor told Politico in an interview last week. But, he added, "sometimes they don't."

During a 2010 hearing on Capitol Hill, both men sat side-by-side as Murdoch told lawmakers it is "nonsense" not to provide a "full path to legalization" for the millions living and working in the shadows.

"Requiring unauthorized immigrants to register, undergo a security check, pay taxes, and learn English would bring these immigrants out of a shadow economy and into our tax base," he said at the time. He has since been pushing the message on Twitter.

"Must have sweeping, generous immigration reform, make existing law-abiding Hispanics welcome," Murdoch tweeted in November. "Most are hard-working family people."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr272012

Rupert Murdoch's Co. and Execs Give Cash to Both Parties

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Across the pond, Brits are focused on the inquiry into the ways that media mogul Rupert Murdoch used his news empire to exert influence on the British government.

In the U.S., the open government website PoliticalMoneyline is reporting that Murdoch's News Corp., like many large companies, has been trying to exert its influence in Washington the old-fashioned way: paying for it.

Campaign finance and lobbying records show the company spent $1.36 million on lobbying in the first quarter of this year, and its executives have helped raise more than $500,000 for candidates from both parties since 2007.

Despite the perceived political leanings of the company's Fox News broadcast outlet, the corporate parent's donations have been split between Democrats and Republicans. Company execs have donated more than $20,000 to President Obama since he first began campaigning for president, and the company received attention in 2010 for a $1 million contribution to the Republican Governors Association.

News Corp. also gives through a political action committee, known as Fox Political Action Committee. According to a Sunlight Foundation report last year, the PAC's top recipients for the 2009-2010 election cycle were Democrats, Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Howard Berman of California and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.

Lately, a particular fundraising focus for Murdoch's American arm has been the Republican chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan. The company has directed $35,500 to Upton's leadership committee, including a $2,500 check from Murdoch himself.

The company has lobbied Upton's committee on a range of issues, including privacy legislation and intellectual property issues.

Both News Corp. officials and Upton's press office declined to comment on the donations.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct072010

Democrats Raise New Questions About News Corp.'s $1 Million Donation To GOP Group

(WASHINGTON) -- News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch’s recent admission that his friendship with Ohio gubernatorial candidate John Kasich spurred his company's $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association has sparked fresh complaints from Democrats.

Officials with the Democratic Governors Association, which in September filed an official complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission alleging that News Corp.-owned Fox News had made an in-kind contribution to the Kasich campaign, suggested on Thursday that Murdoch’s comments were essentially an attempt to earmark the funds for Kasich.

Following an event in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday night, Murdoch said in an interview with Politico that the company's sizable contribution to the RGA “had nothing to do with Fox News” but instead was the result of his “friendship with John Kasich.”

DGA spokeswoman Emily Bittner said in a statement that Murdoch “finally admitted” that his company “gave $1 million to defeat Ohio's Democratic governor and put one of its own hosts in control of one of the most important states for 2012.”

Kasich, who is running against Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland in Ohio, is a former Republican congressman who hosted the Fox News program Heartland with John Kasich until 2007. Since then, he has been a frequent guest on the cable channel.

Catherine Turcer, director of the Money in Politics Project at Ohio Citizen Action, a non-profit watchdog group in the state, said that while Murdoch’s comments may not be direct evidence that the media mogul wanted the money channeled to Kasich, that is certainly the implication.

“We have created a system of legalized money laundering,” Turcer said in an interview with ABC News. “The money gets where the donor intended it to go.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep302010

NYC Mayor Bloomberg & Media Mogul Murdoch Argue For Immigration Reform

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and media mogul Rupert Murdoch headlined a Judiciary subcommittee hearing Thursday on the role of immigration in strengthening America’s economy. 

Murdoch, the head of News Corp, which owns Fox News, told a House panel today that illegal immigrants should be given a pathway to citizenship as part of comprehensive immigration reform.  Bloomberg said immigration is a problem driven largely by supply and demand, and criticized both Republicans and Democrats for failing to act while the parties have rotated control of the Congress and White House.  Murdoch's pro-immigration reform stance was challenged by one Democrat because it runs counter to the opinions most often expression by commentators on Fox News.  Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., went after Murdoch for not utilizing his vast power over his media outlets like Fox News Channel to encourage immigration reform.  “We are home to all views on Fox.  If you wish to come and state these views, we'd love to have you on Fox News,” Murdoch answered. “We don't censor that or take any particular line at all.  We are not anti-immigrant on Fox News.”  Murdoch is himself an immigrant from Australia. He became a U.S. citizen in 1985 to satisfy law that mandates only citizens may own American television stations.

Bloomberg and Murdoch are both members of the Partnership for a New American Economy, which aims to influence public opinion and policymakers toward comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to legal status for undocumented workers.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio








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