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Righties Worry Rupe’s Gone Soft

Media baron to be pestered at annual meeting.

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Conservative watchdogs have a surprising new target: Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Members of Accuracy in Media, the Washington-based monitor of the wayward mainstream press, found themselves in the unusual position of wondering, as AIM’s Cliff Kincaid puts it, “Is Mr. Murdoch moving his media properties to the left?” Murdoch didn’t exactly allay their fears last week in the New Yorker piece on his ideological drift. So the activists have bought up enough shares in News Corp. to go to its October 20 stockholders’ meeting at the Asia Society in New York. Kincaid has a laundry list of questions: Will the Murdoch-controlled DirecTV follow his British Sky Broadcasting and carry the forthcoming English-speaking version of Al Jazeera? And why did BSkyB also ink a recent distribution deal with Al Gore’s Current TV? Has Murdoch gone into business with left-wing billionaire Ron Burkle, who backs Current TV and went to war against the Post’s “Page Six” earlier this year, claiming extortion? And, of course, what about Murdoch’s new coziness with the Clintons: the Hillary fund-raiser? The big donations to the Clinton Global Initiative? Murdoch will field all those questions “patiently and thoroughly,” says News Corp. spokesman Andrew Butcher. “He’s put up with gadflies before.”

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