The Next Rupert Murdoch?

As if the Washington Times weren’t enough, this week, 260,000 copies of the free Washington Examiner started showing up on DC doorsteps. The brand-new tabloid has a decidedly right-wing slant to its editorial page, with conservative opinion pieces like “Social Security robs future to pay for past” and “Abortion isn’t a game, so stop playing.” The paper’s agenda should come as no surprise — it’s being bankrolled by Philip Anschutz, the conservative Denver billionaire. As more copies of this paper find their way into homes in our nation’s capital, here’s a look at the man behind the media.

He’s a staunch supporter of radical right-wing groups. He’s showered money on the Institute for American Values, a conservative group that campaigns against single parenting, as well as the right-wing Morality in the Media. His foundation also gave an award to James Dobson, whose group Focus on the Family is striving to “counter the media-saturating message that homosexuality is inborn and unchangeable.” Dobson also recently came out against what he saw as the pro-gay agenda of beloved cartoon icon SpongeBob SquarePants.

He’s an anti-gay activist. In 1992, he contributed $10,000 to the right-wing Colorado Family Values group in support of Colorado’s Amendment 2, an initiative to block anti-bias laws which protected sexual discrimination. (The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the amendment as discriminatory.)

He’s the founder of Qwest Communications, the troubled Internet and wireless company, whose top officers faced criminal prosecutions for fraud. In 2002, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued Anschutz for making “$1.5 billion in unjust revenue.” Without admitting or denying wrongdoing, Anschultz agreed to pay $4.4 million to charities in return for having the charges dropped.

He’s a movie mogul with a mission. According to a 10/4/04 Variety article, he’s “spent close to a quarter-billion dollars on a raft of movies designed not just to generate box office dollars, but to spread the gospel of education, religious faith and family values.”

Anschutz is a big campaign contributor. He’s funneled more than a half million dollars in campaign contributions to the right side of the aisle and supported right-wing candidates like John Ashcroft and Pete Coors.