Tags: Hillary Clinton | Barack Obama | Presidential History | Donald Trump

Sometimes Political Contributions Make No Sense

By Thursday, 08 October 2015 01:10 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Ever since Barack Obama’s victory speech on Nov. 4, 2008, in Grant Park, Chicago, he’s been providing story after story for Fox talk show hosts to predict America’s imminent downfall.

In his historic address Obama declared: “Because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.”

He went on to quote from the speeches of Kennedy and Lincoln and once again proclaimed: “It’s been a long time coming, but change has come to America.”

It seemed as if the president was a Fox writer serving up material every day for talk show hosts Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. Soon after his “change” speech, Obama provided even more fodder by going on his “apology tour,” criticizing America’s arrogance.

He gave the talk show hosts so much to rail against – his speech to Muslims, his promise to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, his “red-line, his causing of ISIS, America's decline.”

During the 2012 election, shockwaves ran through the political world when it was revealed who received the most money from News Corp. It was none other than Barack Obama!

The corporation had donated $504,162 to numerous candidates and PACs and according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, it donated $58,825 to re-elect the president.

The top eight recipients of News Corp funds were the president and congressional committee chairpersons. The corporation didn’t seem too keen on Romney’s chances because they gave him a paltry $2,750.

In 2008, the corporation gave $380,588 to Obama's campaign compared with $32,740 to the Republican nominee, John McCain.

Most of News Corp's political donations are split pretty evenly between the parties, going to committee chairpersons who regulate their industry. It’s the presidential election that’s different.

The esteemed Center for Responsive Politics noted that Murdoch’s personal donations went almost exclusively to Republicans but that keeping Barack Obama in office was good for business.

Where would Fox's regular viewers plus Murdoch's readers go if they didn’t have Barack Obama to hate?

So we had the ironic situation of how some of the money earned from right wing viewers-who adore O’Reilly, Hannity, Megyn Kelly, Dana Perino, Oliver North, Cal Thomas, Karl Rove and Charles Krauthammer and who can’t stand the president-being used to re-elect him.

We saw Fox selling Romney to its viewers while at the same time giving money to his opponent. Is that confusing enough?

Murdoch has come under increasing fire from shareholders for his donating policies and although his company hasn't commented it does detail its political philosophy on its corporate website: “News Corp is active in the public policy process protecting the interests of our employees and shareholders.”

It notes that “News America-FOXPAC is a non-partisan PAC that aims to help elect quality men and women, regardless of political party, who are dedicated to providing leadership in public service and promoting sound public policy.”

In the coming election, we find it's the Republican Party clamoring for “change” in every sense of the word. No one personifies change more than billionaire Donald Trump and now even the popular former game-show host is coming under attack.

In a past life, before switching parties, the Donald gave to top Democratic leaders like Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid. “Sometimes you have to give wherever just to get things done,” Trump has said. That's how most of the superwealthy think and often they donate to both political parties.

One of Murdoch's early rivals, National Enquirer publisher Generoso Pope, taught me how politics should be used in business. Back when Gerald Ford was president and Pope's tabloid was selling 6-million copies, I'd come up with an idea for a kids' essay contest, “Why I Love America.”

The winners met the president and toured the White House.

This was all arranged by Ron Nessen, Ford's press secretary, whom I'd met while covering President Nixon's Winter White House on Key Biscayne. Ron worked for NBC and I represented Reuter's. I figured this relationship might help my job security — my in at the White House.

Not so fast.

One morning Pope called a meeting of all 12 of his article editors, his ideas men. “Who is Jimmy Carter?” asked our conservative boss.

Another editor brought up our good relations with President Ford but like Murdoch, Pope replied simply: “Which candidate's gonna sell more papers?” He termed Ford “dull.”

We all knew he meant business and scurried off to search for suitable off-beat story ideas, from interviews with crewmen on Carter's nuclear sub, interviews with his mother, with his controversial brother, with neighboring peanut farmers.

I'd found a speculative reference that he once sighted a UFO. If the story wasn't backed up there'd be big trouble. Reporter Jimmy McCandlish saved the day by getting Carter's vivid description of the encounter on tape. And in the end, my boss was right.

The Carter family did provide more interesting stories — both good and bad.

Malcolm Balfour worked as a producer for the CBS affiliate in Miami, was bureau chief of Reuters in Miami, and then became an article editor at the National Enquirer in the 1970s. He was a New York Post Florida correspondent for 27 years and worked as a freelance for numerous popular publications and television shows, from "Entertainment Tonight" and "Inside Edition" to "Hard Copy"and "Good Morning America." For more of his reports, Go Here Now.


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The Center for Responsive Politics noted that Murdoch’s personal donations went almost exclusively to Republicans but that keeping Barack Obama in office was good for business. Where would Fox's regular viewers plus Murdoch's readers go if they didn’t have Barack Obama to hate?
Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Presidential History, Donald Trump
Thursday, 08 October 2015 01:10 PM
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