During Coverage, Should Fox Have Disclosed That It Is Backing Fight Against California Ballot Initiative?


News Corp. isn’t the only media giant that is worried about the passage of California’s Proposition 24, a bill that would repeal $1.7 billion in corporate tax breaks in order to help balance the state’s budgets. Companies like Disney, Time Warner, Viacom, CBS, and General Electric (the owner of NBC) are among the highest donors to the fight against it. And Rupert Murdoch’s empire (which employs a huge amount of people in the entertainment industry) donated $1.3 million to defeat the bill — but money is not the only resource available to him, of course. From the Times:

In five consecutive hours of live reports on Tuesday, a Fox Business correspondent, Adam Shapiro, was stationed at Cambridge of California, a small furniture manufacturing facility in Gardena. Mr. Shapiro repeatedly said the proposition could drive businesses — specifically small businesses, not media titans — out of California, and he said “332,000 jobs” were “on the line.” Tracy Byrnes, the anchor for one of the reports, expressed the opinion that “the proposition was setting up businesses to be destroyed, quite frankly.”

The segment was titled “The War on Business.” But none of the Fox anchors or correspondents made note of the fact that their parent company was financially supporting the fight against Prop 24. Even when it featured a small-business owner who was sent to them by the group they supported, No on 24. “We didn’t know that News Corporation had made a contribution to No for 24,” said Kevin Magee, an executive vice-president at FBN. Had he known, he said, he would have disclosed it.

A Donation Clouds Fox News Report [NYT]