Accuracy in Media

A full-page anti-Bush ad in the New York Times on September 23, paid for by the Democratic National Committee, was signed by a number of corporate executives, including those who run Miramax Film Corporation. They placed the anti-Bush film Fahrenheit 9/11 in movie theaters. But you might be surprised to learn that one of the signers was Peter Chernin, president and chief operating officer of News Corp., the parent company of Fox News.

This fact gives the lie to the frequent left-wing claim that the people who run News Corp. are ardent Republicans who are using Fox News as a vehicle to help the GOP. We think Fox News provides a needed and necessary alternative to the liberal news outlets. But it would be a mistake to conclude, therefore, that it is an organ of the Republican Party. Fox News is run by corporate executives who know how to make money but whose own personal and political views may be far to the left of the guests you may hear or see on this cable news channel.

The signers of the ad represent some of the big movers and shakers in corporate America, especially the entertainment industry. The signers include executives representing Sony Music; Warner Music; Viacom, the parent company of CBS; Black Entertainment Television; Time Warner; Sony Motion Pictures; Westwood One Media Company; Nickelodeon Networks; Emmis Communications; Inner City Broadcasting; and Yahoo.

Chernin of News Corps. is a major fundraiser for Kerry and contributor to the Democratic Party. An examination of records on file at the Federal Election Commission shows that he has given almost $70,000 in political contributions, the vast majority of that to Democrats. In June he gave $25,000 to the Democratic National Committee. Writing in Broadcasting & Cable magazine about Bill O’Reilly’s announcement that he may vote for John Kerry, reporter John Eggerton said it would put him in political step with one of his big bosses, none other than Chernin. Some think, however, that O’Reilly made that announcement because he was trying to entice Kerry on his show for an interview.

Michael Goodwin of the NewYork Daily News notes that Chernin not only has endorsed John Kerry but called Bush’s education policy “a joke.” Goodwin commented, “The event drew little outrage because Fox is seen as tilting to the right, so Chernin was given a pass. But the problem is not whether a media boss tilts left or right. Tilting either way should be a no-no.” Chernin not only tilts to the left but advertises this fact.

After he publicly endorsed Kerry, Chernin appeared on?where else??the Fox News Channel, where he insisted that the company would benefit from a Kerry presidency because Kerry would “do a good job moving our economy forward.” There was speculation that Fox Home Video would distribute the DVD release of Michael Moore’s anti-Bush film Fahrenheit 9/11. That didn’t happen. But Fox Home Video is distributing the pro-Clinton DVD, The Hunting of the President, which attacks conservatives for holding Clinton accountable for his sexual and other scandals.

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