A top official with the Democratic Governors Association said on Tuesday that Fox News has declined repeated efforts to put him on air to discuss the decision of the network's parent company to donate $1 million to the Republican Governors Association.
In a brief interview with the Huffington Post, Nathan Daschle, the executive director of the DGA, said that he has tried on numerous occasions to go on Fox News to discuss the donation made by News Corp. None of his entreaties have been answered as of 3:30 p.m on Tuesday.
"We haven't gotten a single phone call or email returned. We want to engage in a discussion with them about this," Daschle said. "But they didn't even respond."
In an email after the interview, Emily Bittner, a spokeswoman for the DGA, said that the committee had "sent more than a dozen emails and voicemails" to hosts and producers "for every weekday show" on Fox without a single bite. Bittner showed an email sent to Fox's Shepard Smith, perhaps the most sympathetic voice at the network on a matter like this, that she sent at roughly 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday.
Asked to respond to Daschle's charge that he was being denied a chance to challenge Fox on its donation, Fox News spokesperson Eva Synalovski offered the following: "We understand Nathan's desire to get face time on the most watched news network. And when he can offer insight on a legitimate news story instead of conducting a dishonest publicity stunt, we will consider having him on as a guest."
Asking Fox to engage in a segment of self-analysis is, of course, a difficult request to make. News organizations tend to like the spotlight on current affairs as opposed to their own affairs. But in this case, News Corp., which owns and operates Fox News, is the story. And in many respects the DGA is the aggrieved party.
On Monday night, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported that the company run by media titan Rupert Murdoch had written a check totaling $1 million to the RGA. The donation confirmed what is hardly a secret: that the editorial stance of News Corp. is decidedly conservative. But in terms of its implications -- both editorially for Fox News and politically for the RGA -- the contribution is hard to understate.
"Progressive and independent Americans have long thought Fox was just a mouthpiece for the Republican Party," said Daschle. "I never thought they would go so far as to literally bankroll the GOP."
"One million dollars is the entire RGA budget for one of these races in 2010," he added. "Depending on the media market, you can buy months of advertising with that."
The decision by the DGA to weigh in heavily against Fox following the newest revelation is not the first time that a Democratic entity has gone head to head with the network. The Obama White House famously engineered a boycott against the network over coverage that it thought was both imbalanced and partisan-driven, declining to put its officials on air.
Pressed as to whether he would push a similar form of protest -- asking, for instance, frequent Fox guests like Govs. Ed Rendell (D-Penn) and Jennifer Granholm (D-Mich) to decline interview requests -- Daschle demurred.
"I haven't talked to the governors yet. I think anyone who is going on this show, everyone knows they have a certain viewpoint on matters. This doesn't change that. It does change what we believe Fox News to be, it is no longer a media company it is a political organization."
"I wouldn't ask our governors to not go on the program," he added. "The most important thing is to let people know exactly who Fox is. And what it is that they are doing with their money."