February 25, 2024

News Corp. Will Disclose Its Political Donations

The move comes after the company was highlighted for donating $1.25 million to the Republican Governors Association and $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ahead of the midterm elections last year.

Critics of the company seized on the donations — which were made public only in news reports — as evidence of bias on the part of the News Corporation, which owns the Fox News Channel and The Wall Street Journal, and Mr. Murdoch, who has long been a supporter of conservative causes.

The News Corporation said at the time that the company’s corporate side had made the donations with no involvement by its news operation, and that the gifts would not have any impact on newsgathering operations. Still, the Democratic Governors Association argued that during the election season, Fox’s coverage of governors and campaigns should include disclaimers about the donations.

After the controversy over those donations, the News Corporation’s board of directors decided to revisit its policies about disclosure, and on April 12 it adopted a policy “to publicly disclose corporate political contributions annually on News Corporation’s corporate Web site.”

The first such statement will be published by July 15, and later statements will be published each January. A News Corporation spokeswoman declined to comment further.

The decision may have stemmed from shareholders who raised questions about the donations at an annual meeting last October. “Our concern was not only that shareholders found out not through the standard decision-making process but through media reports, but more importantly that this was shareholder money that was being used — but it was not being used for a clear rationale for furthering shareholder value,” Laura Shaffer Campos, the director of shareholder activities for the Nathan Cummings Foundation, told The Associated Press.

At the annual meeting, Mr. Murdoch said the donations were “unusual” and were “in the interest of our shareholders and the country,” according to the liberal monitoring organization Media Matters, which posted audio clips of his comments. The interest, Mr. Murdoch suggested, was in bringing “change” to Washington.

The policy statement appears to bring the News Corporation in line with media companies like Time Warner that disclose donations.

The decision was announced on the News Corporation’s Web site toward the end of April, and was noticed by Media Matters on May 4. It gained more attention when The A.P. reported on it recently.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=655e6a4fda92d91f7feaf48c40d7271f

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