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?