10/01/2010 11:43 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Haley Barbour Defends News Corp's Donations To RGA, Chamber Of Commerce

The reports that News Corp., the parent company of Fox News, has given two separate million-dollar donations to conservative entities has sparked another wave of criticism over the cable company's editorial leanings.

On Friday, one of the recipients of those donations defended both the contribution and the contributor.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who heads the Republican Governor's Association, refused to oblige critics who say that News. Corp.'s donation to his organization and the one reported on Thursday to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce underscore the conservative tilt in Fox's coverage.

"NBC gives us money," said Barbour. "There is nothing wrong with corporations contributing to governors' races. It is perfectly legal. Lots of them do it, including lots of them that are in the news businesses."

NBC's donations to the RGA are short of the $1 million offered by News Corp. The peacock network's parent company, GE, has contributed $1.1 million to Democrats in the 2010 cycle but its business interests are immensely more diverse than Rupert Murdoch's.

For that reason, critics howled when it was reported that News Corp., under the auspices of backing a "pro-business" agenda, had cut such a large check to a committee whose sole task is to elect Republican governors. That the company would cut another check for the Chamber (one of the leading Democratic attack dogs) only confirmed the notion that Fox is in the bag for the GOP.

But Barbour refused to acknowledge the premise. "It doesn't seem to have much bearing on NBC's coverage," he offered.