Accuracy in Media

Jeff Cohen, founder of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, is one of those observers on the political left who has the guts sometimes to tell the truth about his fellow-travelers. In a recent article on the Huffington Post, he said he can’t get fired up when he hears Democratic leaders “bleating” about the “culture of corruption” in Washington because “Democrats are up to their eyeballs in that same culture of corruption?” His main example of this was Senator Hillary Clinton’s financial relationship with News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch. This month Murdoch is hosting a fundraiser for Mrs. Clinton.

Cohen writes, “As Murdoch helps Hillary raise yet more funds for re-election, her antiwar opponent in the Democratic senate primary has resorted-for publicity and funds-to a 600-mile ‘Bring the Troops Home Now’ bike ride across New York. Jonathan Tasini is a respected labor activist and journalist, and former president of the National Writers Union. But so far, he’s no match for an incumbent who is a rock star in political circles, and now has America’s top media mogul behind her.”

Until I read Cohen’s column I had no idea that there was a left-wing challenger to Hillary. And that he was a journalist!

Where Cohen goes wrong is in his description of Murdoch as a “right-wing media mogul.” While Murdoch supports conservative news organizations, including Fox News and The Weekly Standard, he has business deals with Arab billionaires and the Chinese Communists. One of his British subsidiaries has agreed to air Al-Jazeera International. Financially, we have noted many times that Murdoch and his top lieutenant Peter Chernin have been long-time supporters of Democratic politicians.

But Cohen may be on to something when he says: “What does Hillary want from Murdoch? Obviously, softer coverage from Fox and elsewhere. She certainly doesn’t need his help getting funds; she raised $6 million in the first three months of 2006.” (emphasis added). Cohen noted that when Senator Clinton made an appearance at a Fox News event celebrating the creation of the Fox News Sunday show, Fox anchor Chris Wallace crowed that her presence “makes a statement about how we’re regarded in top Democratic circles.”

If this continues, look for Fox News to ignore the various Clinton scandals as Hillary prepares her White House run. And then look for Murdoch to support her presidential campaign, not just her Senate re-election bid.

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