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Fox News Gives Karl Rove’s Crossroads Groups Millions In Free Airtime

By Josh Israel on May 15, 2013 at 3:55 pm

"Fox News Gives Karl Rove’s Crossroads Groups Millions In Free Airtime"

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Karl Rove on Fox News ChannelThough Karl Rove receives a salary from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for his work as a Fox News Channel “political contributor,” his compensation doesn’t end there. The network frequently airs ads by his American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS political committees, as “news,” free of charge.

A ThinkProgress review of Fox News Channel broadcasts over the past twelve months revealed that Fox News programs ran all or a significant part of Crossroads ads at least 34 times — an estimated value of more than $3.6 million in free air time. Frequently, the network’s hosts run the ads during Rove’s segments and then allow him to explain and repeat their charges.

On Monday, for example, Fox News aired a significant chunk of a new American Crossroads ad attacking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her handling of the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Noting criticism the ad received from conservative columnist William Kristol, host Martha MacCullum asked Rove: “What say you?”

Watch the video:

According to TVEyes Media Monitoring Suite, a subscription-only search engine for TV broadcasts, a 30-second slot on America’s Newsroom program has a “national publicity value” of $79,445.92. But because the ad was shown during the programming, Rove and American Crossroads got 20-something seconds of the ad for free, rather than having to pay Fox News Channel or local cable companies for the air time. What’s more, he was then paid to promote his own advertisement.

ThinkProgress found eight other recent Fox News broadcasts featuring Crossroads commercials in TVEyes, with an estimated value of about $580,000 combined. A Nexis search of other Fox News transcripts found at least 25 other times when hosts showed significant clips of ads. Estimating the value of these slots based on an average of recent “national publicity values” for each suggests they were worth more than $3 mllion. It is worth noting that ratings for Fox News (and all news networks) have been lower in 2013 than in the 2012 election year, so the value of the pre-election ad plays would likely have been even higher.

The spots included:

Date Program Ad
5/16/2012 Special Report with Brett Baier Obama’s Promise” (Crossroads GPS)
5/16/2012 Hannity Obama’s Promise” (Crossroads GPS)
5/22/2012 Hannity Basketball” (Crossroads GPS)
5/26/2012 Journal Editorial Report Basketball” (Crossroads GPS)
7/11/2012 Hannity Obama’s War On Women” (American Crossroads)
7/13/2012 Hannity Obama’s War On Women” (American Crossroads)
7/13/2012 The O’Reilly Factor Obama’s War On Women” (American Crossroads)
7/25/2012 The O’Reilly Factor Replay” (American Crossroads)
7/25/2012 Hannity Replay” (American Crossroads)
7/31/2012 Hannity News” (Crossroads GPS)
8/17/2012 The Five Run, Joe. Run” (American Crossroads)
9/14/2012 Special Report with Brett Baier Skips” (American Crossroads)
10/1/2012 The Five World” (American Crossroads)
10/1/2012 On the Record with Greta van Susteren World” (American Crossroads)
10/1/2012 Hannity World” (American Crossroads)
10/18/2012 The Five Act of Terror” (American Crossroads)
10/18/2012 Hannity Act of Terror
10/24/2012 The O’Reilly Factor At Stake” (American Crossroads)
10/24/2012 The Five At Stake” (American Crossroads)
10/24/2012 Hannity At Stake” (American Crossroads)
10/24/2012 On the Record with Greta van Susteren At Stake” (American Crossroads)
11/1/2012 Hannity At Stake” (American Crossroads)
2/7/2013 The O’Reilly Factor Ashley’s Story” (American Crossroads)
2/7/2013 The O’Reilly Factor (replay) Ashley’s Story” (American Crossroads)
2/22/2013 On the Record with Greta van Susteren Obama’s Mess” (Crossroads GPS)
2/22/2013 Special Report with Brett Baier Obama’s Mess” (Crossroads GPS)
3/13/2013 Hannity Appropriate” (American Crossroads)
3/13/2013 Happening Now Appropriate” (American Crossroads)
3/14/2013 Hannity (replay) Appropriate” (American Crossroads)
5/10/2013 Hannity Benghazi” (American Crossroads)
5/11/2013 Hannity (replay) Benghazi” (American Crossroads)
5/13/2013 The O’Reilly Factor (replay) Benghazi” (American Crossroads)
5/13/2013 America’s Newsroom Benghazi” (American Crossroads)
5/13/2013 The O’Reilly Factor Benghazi” (American Crossroads)

Karl Rove signed a contract extention in January, keeping him on the network through 2016.

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