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 2)
on Jan 25, 2010

ChuckCS

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.

No, Larry is an occassional visitor.  I guess Brad keeps him too busy to play.

 

But Larry, I would ask you one thing.  As a long time employee of Stardock, I take it you have some ownersip?  (Brad seems the kind of guy that rewards good work with stocks).  If so, then can we impugn that Stardock is in the tank for israel?

hardly.  The Saudi connection is an investment.  If it should lead to an editorial bias, we will see it and Fox will lose a lot of audience.  It works both ways.  I really doubt that Microsoft shares even 10% of the views of MSNBC, but they do own it.  I for one do not wish them to exert editorial control over it (although I do wish sane people would).

on Jan 25, 2010

although I do wish sane people would

Good luck with that.

on Jan 25, 2010

But Larry, I would ask you one thing. As a long time employee of Stardock, I take it you have some ownersip?

Privately held... no stock options for Larry. No soup for you... and you and you!

on Jan 25, 2010

First off, thank you for forgiving me for not responding earlier, you all were right in assuming that it was the press of business and family that kept me away. Even worse, I am leaving for a business trip beginning tomorrow and will not be able to post replies for several days. But with that said, let me go out on a limb and possibly give you something to consider.

The first part of the story is the Saudi ownership of News Corp, which stretches well beyond Fox News. It is worth a minute or two of your time to look at how vast their holdings really are. MySpace, The New York Post, Sky Television in the UK, the list goes on. Remember the movie "Citizen Kane?" He was nothing compared to New Corp.

Be aware also that at the time of the Prince's initial investment, the Murdoch clan was facing a challenge for control from stockholders within the company. "In August 2005 the Murdoch family owned only about 29% of the company. However, nearly all of these shares were voting shares, and Rupert Murdoch retained effective control of the company. Nonetheless, John Malone of Liberty Media had built up a large stake, with about half of the shares being voting shares." Not long after the infusion of cash, the Murdoch's would reassert control. "Therefore, in November 2006, News Corporation announced its intention to transfer its 38.5 per cent managing interest in DirecTV Group to John Malone's Liberty Media; in return it bought back Liberty's 16.3% shares in News Corp., giving Murdoch tighter control of the latter firm." (The Prince, now with 7% of the voting stock is the second largest shareholder.)

The Prince also owns substantial stock in Disney and CitiCorp.

What makes you think that the Prince wants to change the direction of Fox News? Understand that Saudi Arabia, existing in a volatile part of the world, with no army to compare to its neighbors, has existed by getting others to fight amongst themselves. They offer a peace plan for Israel while continuing to provide funds to Hamas and Hizbollah. When Iraq invaded neighboring Kuwait, the Saudis allowed their land to be used as a base of operations for Operation Desert Storm. This contradicts the core values of their own Wahhabi roots.

Imagine who Fox News plays in the Middle East. What do you think the reaction in say Islamabad or Riyadh is to something like Fox accusing our President of being a secret Muslim? How do you think the Fox coverage of the Tea Parties plays in the Arab street?

But that may well be conspiracy theory stuff. (Though I believe that there may well be a kernel of truth to it.) Maybe the Prince is simply making what he thinks will prove to be a prudent monetary investment. What I want to know is how can people like Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck and now even Sarah Palin accept money from the Prince, when many of these same pundits decried donations to the 911 families from the same source?

By the way, General Electric is the majority owner of MSNBC these days. "Although Microsoft and NBC shared operations of MSNBC cable at its founding, it was announced on December 23, 2005, that NBC Universal would purchase a majority stake in the television network, which left Microsoft with 18%. The two companies remain partners in msnbc.com."

on Jan 25, 2010

What I want to know is how can people like Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck and now even Sarah Palin accept money from the Prince, when many of these same pundits decried donations to the 911 families from the same source?

You think they should give 7% back?  Maybe O'Reilly, Beck & Palin are supporting Isreali causes with 'the Prince's money', who knows?  The notion that dollars are marked in some way and we shouldn't accept money from a source that accepts money from or is partly owned by a person or entity with which we disagree is tough - the 6 degrees of separation effect can hit anyone, even you.

That said, transparency/sunlight is the only counterbalance and this appears to be pretty transparent.

on Jan 26, 2010

What do you think the reaction in say Islamabad or Riyadh is to something like Fox accusing our President of being a secret Muslim? How do you think the Fox coverage of the Tea Parties plays in the Arab street?

can you source that?  Or is this just one of the stories they covered about others making the claim of Obama's religious affiliation?  Reporting what is claimed is not claiming it.  But that is a tactic many use to impugn Fox - that by reporting a story - they are owning it.  I guess the National Enquirer was all wet when it reported about Edwards Love Child.  Must have been the national Enquirers love child, right?

 

on Jan 26, 2010

As I said before, I don't question where the money from my paycheck comes from. Considering that I work for a Mexican company, for all I know my paycheck could be responsible for the poverty in Mexico, but do you think I'm gonna investigate that? I earned my paycheck and as long as I am not 100% sure my paycheck came directly dollar for dollar from a bad source, I'm not questioning it.

on Jan 28, 2010



They offer a peace plan for Israel while continuing to provide funds to Hamas and Hizbollah. When Iraq invaded neighboring Kuwait, the Saudis allowed their land to be used as a base of operations for Operation Desert Storm. This contradicts the core values of their own Wahhabi roots.



I don't think Saudi-Arabia provides funding to Hamas and Hizbullah.

Hizbullah threatens their holiday resort (Lebanon) and Hamas destroyed their hopes of controlling "Palestine" via the PLO (which they do fund).

The reason Saudi-Arabia keeps trying to "re-unite" Hamas and PLO in a common "resistance" is not that they think a united "resistance" will be able to win the war but because there is an investment at risk.

on Jul 29, 2010

Fair and "unbiased"? Interesting switch of words. Fox has never claimed to be unbiased, just "fair and BALANCED." They show both sides of an issue, something a .... <ahem>... "journalist" should consider. Fox is "controlled" by the Prince? Uhhh... where does that come from?

 

I would be my pension you've got some connection to Halliburton in your 401k...... does that make you controlling of Dick Cheney?  LOL

on Aug 02, 2010

Welome to JU gymlock.

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