Back in May, News Corp. Chairman/CEO Rupert Murdoch and his wife donated $10,000 each to John Kasich’s campaign. Shortly after that, News Corp. gave $1 million to the Republican Governors’ Association.
In yesterday’s Politico, Murdoch admitted that he had his company’s PAC make the donation solely to help out John Kasich. When asked if he ever considered how such an one-sided partisan donation could affect Fox News’ credibility, he said:
“It doesn’t reflect on Fox News,” he said. “It had nothing to do with Fox News. The RGA [gift] was actually [a result of] my friendship with John Kasich.”
In other words, corporate fiction be damned, nobody should view that as a donation from Fox News… it should be considered a donation from me. Somewhere a gaggle of News Corp.’s corporate lawyers are trying to find out how they can draft a memo to Murdoch reminding him of the “alter ego” theory of corporate veil piercing without insulting his infamous temper.
But Fox News has been involved in the Ohio Governor’s race in unprecedented ways. Despite no longer having a show on the network, John Kasich has been on Fox News, on its highest rated shows, over fifty times since announcing his candidacy. In fact, my rough research indicates that Kasich has been on Fox News more frequently since he announced than the time period between when Kasich’s show was cancelled in April 2007 and before he announced.
The Democratic Governors’ Association has filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission arguing that at least one of Kasich’s Fox News appearances should be reported as an in-kind contribution because Kasich was permitted (and the network put up a graphic) to promote taking on-line donations through his campaign website. Kasich himself has told audiences that appearance has helped him raise substantial money.
While a ton of attention has been paid to Kasich’s ties to Wall $treet, so far there’s been scant attention paid in the Ohio media to Kasich’s ties to Fox News and how it has eliminated the barrier between journalism and outright campaign activity for candidates its executives personally favor.
That really should change before the election.