|October 20, 2010|
|Murdoch Overplays Hand; Backlash to Go Mainstream|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which has been shilling and shelling out for the Republican Party, is making investors queasy with the strident partisanship of the publicly held company. |
London’s Telegraph reports that U.K. fund manager, F&C, has had it with Murdoch’s use of News Corp. as a GOP piggy-bank. F&C today voted against the re-election of former British Airways CEO and chairman of News Corp. audit committee Rod Eddington to the board of directors.
Katrina Livack, F&C’s governance and sustainable development head, said the “against” vote was over political contributions made by News Corp. in the U.S. “We are concerned to see the company deploy shareholder funds for activities that are best left to individuals whose views they reflect and are not obviously a matter of concern for the company,” she said.
The F&C vote is symbolic, but it's a start. Murdoch controls a 39.7 percent voting stake of News Corp’s voting shares and his family trust owns 38.4 percent. The 79-year-old Rupe has got to begin thinking about his legacy at News Corp. [Murdoch plans to be around for quite some time, often mentioning that his mother, Elisabeth, is a robust 101-year-old.]
Does Rupert want to be remembered as a global media empire builder or a right-wing hack?
While Fox News has long been the media arm of the GOP, the Wall Street Journal is following suit. Fox preaches to the choir, a rather tiny but vocal group. The Wall Street Journal, however, was among America’s most respected papers before News Corp got its hands on it. It is rapidly descending into FoxLand.
These are all of today’s WSJ opinion pieces: “Bye Bye Blue Dogs,” “My Jewish Perspective on Homosexuality,” “Voters on ObamaCare: Informed and Opposed,” “Obamanomics Paints Ohio Red,” “Stop Bashing Business, Mr. President.”
Each would make Glenn, Sean, Bill-O and the rest of the Fox fanatics proud. And then there is the WSJ editorial page that each day treats President Obama and Democrats as piñatas. Today’s three editorials are “Liberalism and Public Works,” “ObamaCare in Court” and “The Education of Barney Frank.” And then the capper: the page one WSJ lede is “Democratic Funding Fades.”
With that editorial firepower aimed at the Democrats, News Corp.’s $2M contribution to the GOP’s U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Republican Governors Assn., headed by presidential wannabe Haley Barbour, is overkill that opens the company to attacks like the salvo from F&C.
Rupe overplayed his hand. The anti-Murdoch backlash, which has been largely been from leftist groups, is going mainstream.
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