As ThinkProgress and others have documented, for over a year now, Fox News has promoted and celebrated the anti-Obama Tea Party movement. But at a forum for the public affairs TV series, The Kalb Report, last night, Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of Fox’s parent company, said that the network should not be “supporting” the movement:
The mogul was peppered with a host of questions related to his media empire’s political leanings, and in each case fought the perception that he’s made his fortune by catering to the conservative audience. Asked by an official at the progressive watchdog group, Media Matters, whether it was ethical for officials at Fox to promote the Tea Party movement (as has been documented on some occasion) he replied without hesitation.
“No. I don’t think we should be supporting the Tea Party or any other party. But I’d like to investigate what you are saying before condemning anyone.”
If Murdoch does “investigate” Fox’s support of the Tea Party, he will not only find that network has given the conservative protests blanket, celebratory coverage, but has even branded some of them as being “FNC Tax Day Tea Parties“:
In April 2009, Fox Business reporter Stuart Varney contradicted the network’s assertion that it is only covering the protests when he declared on air, “It’s now my great duty to promote the Tea Parties. Here we go!” Earlier this year, NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd explained the impact of Fox’s promotion on the Tea Party’s prominence. “When we did our own polling on this it’s clear that the Tea Party gets a big benefit because there’s one news organization that gives them a huge bump all the time,” said Todd. “I mean their favorable rating among Fox viewers is through the roof and the rest of the country sort of doesn’t know a lot about these folks.”