Accuracy in Media

“Conservative Cash For Sen. Clinton” was the headline over a CBS/AP story on the CBS News website about a July 17 fundraiser for her Senate re-election campaign “hosted by conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch.” There are two errors here. First, Murdoch is not a conservative. And second, his cash isn’t conservative.

While most of Murdoch’s personal money went to Republicans, FEC records show two $1,000 Murdoch financial contributions to John Kerry in 2001. How “conservative” is Kerry? Murdoch’s top lieutenant, Peter Chernin, has contributed most of his money to Democrats, including such figures as Hillary and Al Gore. It is clever on their part-and good business-for one top executive to contribute mostly to Republicans while the other contributes mostly to Democrats.

The CBS/AP story said, “Murdoch’s media holdings include the New York Post and the Fox television network,” which is true but is not the complete truth. Emphasizing those two media properties makes him sound conservative. The accurate thing to say would be that Murdoch has made money by appealing to conservatives in the U.S. He also, however, has dealings with the Arab billionaire, Saudi Prince Alaweed, who is a significant investor in his company; and the Chinese communists. Plus, one of his British affiliates has agreed to air Al-Jazeera International, the spawn of the anti-American jihad TV network Al-Jazeera.

Apparently feeling some heat for hosting the Hillary fundraiser, Murdoch told Charlie Rose that he supports her as a Senator, not necessarily as a presidential candidate. He said he would support Senator John McCain over Senator Clinton for president, if they are the two nominees. That should not reassure conservatives, however, because McCain is not that conservative. His lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union is only 83 percent. In 2004 he scored only 72.

Making the same mistake as AP, the New York Daily News referred to the “conservative” Murdoch insisting that he was “stuffing more cash into Clinton’s overflowing coffers simply because she’s an effective senator.” But that’s the point. If her coffers are indeed overflowing, then why does she need Murdoch’s money? The answer: she doesn’t want his money; she wants softer coverage from his media outlets. And that’s why conservatives ought to be alarmed.

In a story about a Hillary speech backing Israel in the war with Hezbollah, the New York Times mentioned in passing that “At a separate event yesterday, Mrs. Clinton also won support from another onetime critic-turned-ally, Rupert Murdoch, the owner of The New York Post, who was the host of a political fund-raiser for her in New York City.”

But when did Murdoch turn into a Clinton “ally?” As we have documented, it may have begun last year, when Fox News personalities such as Bill O’Reilly refused to interview Ed Klein about his controversial and critical book about the former First Lady.

Keep your eye on Fox News and its Hillary connection. Murdoch wouldn’t raise money for her, when she clearly has no need for additional cash, if he wasn’t trying to cultivate another President Clinton.

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