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News Corp. Donates Big To California Politicians

First Posted: 08/25/10 01:00 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:25 PM ET

News Corp Donations

This story comes courtesy of California Watch.

By Chase Davis

Though it may have been unique in size, the controversial $1 million campaign contribution made this summer by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. to the Republican Governors Association should come as no surprise here in the Golden State: The company best known for running the right-leaning Fox News channel has spent even more on California politics over the last decade.

Fox Group, a division of News Corp.'s U.S. subsidiary, has donated more than $1.2 million to California candidates and causes since 2001, state campaign finance records show, and unlike the RGA bonanza reported last week, many of those contributions have gone toward Democrats.

This election cycle, for example, the company has given $25,000 to the central committee run by the state's Democratic Party but only $20,000 to the committee run by the Republicans - though it has also backed GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman but not her Democratic opponent, Jerry Brown.

Not that showering money upon both sides of the aisle is unprecedented, even at News Corp. As the Wall Street Journal reported last week, the company has actually favored Democrats in Congressional races over the years, despite frequent accusations that it cheerleads for the right.

Of course, News Corp.'s long history of partisan giving has done little to quiet the pundits, who seem to have ignored all but the most recent $1 million giveaway. The Democratic Governors Association lashed out in the Washington Post almost immediately after the story broke, calling the donation "a jaw-dropping violation of the boundary between the media and corporate realm."

Kelly McBride, an ethicist at the Poynter Institute, a nonpartisan journalism think tank, attacked the company's partisan reputation even more directly, arguing that the donation "clearly implies that Rupert Murdoch is no longer interested in providing fair news. It confirms that Fox News is an arm of the Republican Party."

Making that case might have been a bit harder when News Corp. donated to the Democratic Congressional and Senatorial campaign committees in the early 2000s.

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Filed by Billy Silverman  |