The Zenith of Hypocricy
Published on January 24, 2010 By Larry Kuperman In The Media

I recently had a debate with a Conservative friend of mine about the ties between News Corporation, the parent company of Fox News, and Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. When I said that the Saudi Prince was one of the largest and most influentilal shareholders in the media conglomerate, my assertion was met with disbelief. So let's establish the facts, quoting from the linked article:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saudi billionaire eyes new links with News Corp.

CAIRO – The Saudi billionaire whose investment firm is one of the biggest stakeholders in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. said he is looking to expand his alliances with the media giant, in the latest indication that his appetite for growth remains robust even as his company retrenches.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of the Saudi king and who was listed last year by Forbes as the world's 22nd richest person, met with News Corp.'s chief executive Rupert Murdoch on Jan. 14 in a meeting that "touched upon future potential alliances with News Corp.," according to a statement released by his Kingdom Holding Co. late Saturday.

Media reports have indicated that News Corp, parent to Fox News and Dow Jones & Co., among others, may be thinking of buying a stake in Alwaleed's Rotana Media Group, which includes a number of satellite channels that air in the Middle East.

 

According to Forbes, in 2005, the Saudi Prince made a substantial investment in the then troubled New Corp., initially making an investment that yielded him 5.46% of the voting stock. He has since increased that investment. More, the Prince expressed considerable confidence in Rupert Murdoch. Quoting from the Prince's statement as reported in the Forbes story (http://www.forbes.com/2005/09/06/alwaleed-murdoch-billionaires-cx_gl_0906autofacescan02.html):

"Last November I said that I had the utmost confidence in Mr. Murdoch, his management team and his succession planning, and that if necessary, the Kingdom companies would replace their non-voting shares with voting shares." He continued, "The Kingdom companies now own a significant interest in News Corporation voting shares and may purchase more if the situation warrants."

 

One might ask if there is anything wrong with Fox taking the Prince's money. Well, let us look at the reaction of Fox reporters when the Prince tried to donate $10 million to provide disaster relief to the victims of 9/11, an offer that was then refused by Mayor Guiliani:

Sean Hannity: "This is a man that blames the United States and their policies for the attack that took place on September 11th. That is such an egregious, outrageous, unfair offense that I would have nothing to do with his money either, and I applaud what Mayor Giuliani did. It showed a lot of guts and character."

Hannity again: "This is a bad guy. Rudy was right to decline the money."

Bill Sammon: "When you think about it, upon reflection, you think, you know, this guy is essentially trying to buy legitimacy for his extreme views, which is, you know, that the American policy towards Israel is to blame for this attack on the World Trade Center, which, of course, is outrageous. I think it's blood money and we're better off without it."

There you have it. Accepting the Prince's money to help the families of the victoms of the 9/11 terrorist attack would have been taking "blood money." Accepting the Prince's money to pay Bill O'Reilly's salary....well that was a prudent business decision.

The Prince is today so influential in the decision making at News Corp. that he was recently called upon to approve Rupert Murdoch's chosen successor- his son by his second wife. (Rupert Murdoch left her in 1999, when he was 68, to marry his current wife, Wendi Deng, who had just turned 30. This is the man whose TV station champions "family values.")

Given that News Corp. and through the parent company, Fox News, is controlled by a Saudi Prince whose views on Israel in particular are considered extremist, and who said that the United States brought the terrorist attack of 9/11 on itself, do you still think that they are Fair and Unbiased?

 


Comments (Page 1)
on Jan 24, 2010

With my objections to the pointless snark duly recorded, I have to mostly agree with you on substance.  'Controlled' might be a bit strong, but I'm less than comfortable with the Saudis having any stake in a major US news organization.  Fox's commentators have been pretty staunch in their support of Israel to this point - time will tell whether this remains the case.

on Jan 25, 2010

I guess Fox News isn't running for any political office anytime soon, so if Prince Aladouche invests in them, it will probably have little to no effect. Hamas contributions didnt seem to hurt Obama and he was running for office. That being said, I really don't like Prince Alaweed or his politics. If Fox suddenly becomes a shill for Palestinian causes, I'll have to remember that it was Larry who bravely sounded the alarm first.

on Jan 25, 2010

There you have it. Accepting the Prince's money to help the families of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack would have been taking "blood money." Accepting the Prince's money to pay Bill O'Reilly's salary....well that was a prudent business decision.

Did the "prince" make an outrageous statement when he handed over the money to Fox?

While I agree with the decision not to accept money from the Saudis for 911 (they bred the terrorists, they shouldn't buy their way out of their responsibility), I'm not sure this is really comparable.

If the Saudis want to finance a television station and get it to speak for them, that clearly falls under freedom of speech.

It's not a reason to watch Fox, of course.

 

Given that News Corp. and through the parent company, Fox News, is controlled by a Saudi Prince whose views on Israel in particular are considered extremist, and who said that the United States brought the terrorist attack of 9/11 on itself, do you still think that they are Fair and Unbiased?

I do not think that the Saudi "prince" is fair and unbiased. But his effective ownership of Fox (as a greater shareholder) does not make Fox unfair and biased.

It is perfectly possible (if perhaps unlikely) that the "prince" invested for profit alone or possibly because he wants to influence Fox in ways that profit his businesses rather than his politics.

The only thing that would make Fox unfair and unbiased (or, for that matter, fair and unbiased) is Fox' reporting.

Could we perhaps set up a test? We'll decide in advance what constitutes "unfair and biased" and see for a given event which news outlet matches our definition. That's the only way to determine who is fair and unbiased. I don't care if Fox wins or loses this game.

 

If Fox suddenly becomes a shill for Palestinian causes, I'll have to remember that it was Larry who bravely sounded the alarm first.

Given how much the Saudis hate Palestinian Arabs (or really anyone who isn't a pure Wahabi Arab) I don't think they really care much.

It should also be noted that in the last few years the "kingdom" of Saudi-Arabia has been more pro-Israel than anti-Israel in its rhetoric. I don't think they have changed and suddenly started to love freedom and humanity. It's just not in their interest to see Israel fall.

For all we know Saudi ownership might make Fox more pro-Israel since the "prince" can use this way to support the country he needs to survive while not having to speak up himself. None of the Arab regimes not allied with Iran really want Israel to go away at the moment.

 

on Jan 25, 2010

Not that I particularly like Fox' current stance on anything, as you (Larry) can probably imagine.

on Jan 25, 2010

The big question is - So?

Has Fox turned into Al jazeera West?  While it bears close watching, unless and until the slant changes, I see no reason to get hysterical about it.  I dont think anyone has asked who owns CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and MSNBC.  Who owns them is not important.  What is important is their slant.

on Jan 25, 2010

I dont think anyone has asked who owns CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and MSNBC.

Who owns them anyway?

 

 

on Jan 25, 2010

Leauki


I dont think anyone has asked who owns CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and MSNBC.



Who owns them anyway?

 

 

Well, the MS in MSNBC stands for Microsoft, so I would think that Microsoft and NBC own MSNBC.  But that is just an ass-u-mption on my part.

on Jan 25, 2010

While I agree with DrGuy, who really cares until we actually see Fox News actually acting under the control of this "prince".

What I find more interesting is how come Larry has not responded to any of the comments yet. Just curious.

on Jan 25, 2010

Given how much the Saudis hate Palestinian Arabs (or really anyone who isn't a pure Wahabi Arab) I don't think they really care much.

That might or might not be true, but they seem to love using them as cannon fodder against Jews.

on Jan 25, 2010

That might or might not be true, but they seem to love using them as cannon fodder against Jews.

Yes, they will fight Israel to the last Palestinian Arab.

Doesn't show love for either people, does it?

But the truth is that Saudi-Arabia has in the last 20 years or so used every opportunity it had to help Israel if it could be done without looking like Saudi-Arabia was helping Israel. In 2006 they even openly spoke up against Hizbullah for attacking Israel and in 2009 they (like the PA) forbade anti-Israel demonstrations. Finally, in 2008 they proposed what Israel proposed in 1967 as the "Saudi peace plan".

Saudi-Arabia only acts against Israel when the west gives it a chance to do so diplomatically.

Saudi-Arabia simply has no interest in destroying Israel. The Iran-supported Shia minority in the east and in Yemen are far too dangerous for Saudi-Arabia to be without an ally of last ressort in the nrighbourhood. The Saudi "royal" family know that their power is not based on anything but the fact that they are currently in power. They cannot risk losing a war against any rebel group, especially not when the American administration is known to be careful about intervening militarily and would rather talk with the rebels than stop them.

The Saudi government has been feeding its population crap about Israel and Jews for decades (part of it as propaganda against the former pre-Saudi kings who collaborated with the Zionists), thinking that Saudi-Arabia's Wahabism would be the alternative to Arab nationalism.

But now with Al-Qaeda and Iran at the helm of religious fundamentalism, Saudi-Arabia must be moderate.

 

on Jan 25, 2010

Wouldn't read anything into it, Chuck.  He takes his time returning to his articles.

on Jan 25, 2010

Maybe the Prince is an "Avatar" fan. Seems like that was a good FOX investment. I don't mind a little of the money we roll into Saudi oil, rolling back into the US. It is a pity he didn't invest in NBC, that way the cash would have been lost for good.

on Jan 25, 2010

Wouldn't read anything into it, Chuck. He takes his time returning to his articles.

Probably, I guess I tend to believe that if one writes an article that will get lots of responses, one would be looking to read and reply to them, not just write it, walk away and come back some other time as if it wasn't really that important. I guess I put too much value on my writtings.

on Jan 25, 2010

We all know every business has it's hands dirty some way or another. I don't really think this prince somehow makes Fox News say what he wants and I'm also sure that any new station gets money from more than one source so we can't say with centainty that O'Reily, Hannity or any other Fox reporter/entertainers check is actually from the money. For that matter I would be worried where my paycheck came from since the company is Mexican and it does business in over 150 locations around the world. Maybe my check came from terrorist money or from the Saudis as well. I'm not gonna lose any sleep over this.

on Jan 25, 2010

Saudi-Arabia simply has no interest in destroying Israel. The Iran-supported Shia minority in the east and in Yemen are far too dangerous for Saudi-Arabia to be without an ally of last ressort in the nrighbourhood.

I don't claim to be an expert on these matters, I only know what I read, but I think its safe to say that Saudi Arabia wouldn't shed a tear If Israel ceased to exist. Most of their pro-Israel posturing is only for Western consumption, and some stuff you mention isn't real;ly all that pro-Israel at all. But I understand what you're saying. If Iran wipes out Israe,l then Saudi Arabia would probably be in a lot of trouble as well and would probably soon  come under attack. The Mullahs would like to take control of all that oil while wiping out Sunni Islam in one fell swoop.

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