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Rupert Murdoch Picks Liberal Son as Successor

December 17, 2007

Sean Hannity, the conservative Republican commentator who takes on such controversial issues as Hillary Clinton's legal work in a communist law firm, could be on his way out of the Fox News Channel as a result of Rupert Murdoch's decision to turn the company over to his liberal son James.

James Murdoch, 34, who buys into global warming hysteria, has in recent days been labeled the "News Corporation Heir" and "Son King" because of changes in the company that have dramatically increased his power. The Fox News Channel is one part of Murdoch's News Corporation.

While James Murdoch is based in London and is now being given control of News Corp's business in Europe and Asia, he is scheduled to take control of U.S. operations when Peter Chernin, the president of News Corporation who is based in New York, steps down. Chernin is himself a prominent Democrat.

James Murdoch is said to have convinced his father, 76, to "go green" in a major May 9 speech. In the speech, Rupert Murdoch sounded like Al Gore, saying that "Climate change poses clear, catastrophic threats" and that "We may not agree on the extent, but we certainly can't afford the risk of inaction."

Marc Gunther of Fortune magazine commented that "Murdoch has boldly promised to make News Corp. carbon neutral by 2010 and to weave environmental issues and themes into his newspapers, TV shows, movies and online properties¯a tricky business, particularly when it comes to news."

The Hillary front organization known as Media Matters has challenged Murdoch to rein in the various Fox News personalities, including Hannity, who have voiced skepticism about the man-made global warming theory. The group complains that conservative voices on Fox far outnumber "progressive" voices and that Fox anchors, reporters, and guests inject pro-Republican views into the shows.

Murdoch's decision to hand the European and Asian operations of his company to his son James has been widely interpreted as a sign that James will soon inherit control of the entire company. That means that James' liberal philosophy on environmental and other matters could become the party line not only of News Corporation but the Fox News Channel. Fox News already has come under conservative criticism for airing a Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. special that claimed human activity was causing global warming.

The New York Times has described James Murdoch as "steadfastly liberal" and notes that he "has supported Bill Clinton and Al Gore whose daughter he befriended at Harvard." James Murdoch, who dropped out of Harvard, runs BSkyB, a part of News Corporation which is airing Current TV, a television project sponsored by Gore, and the foreign-financed Al-Jazeera and Al-Jazeera English television channels.

The London Telegraph reports that "Thanks to friendships with Al Gore and Bill Clinton, he [James Murdoch] has developed deep green instincts..." His father made a $500,000 gift to the Clinton Global Initiative.

"I've gotten to know Al [Gore] in a number of different contexts in the last number of years," James Murdoch told the Financial Times in an interview. We "think the same way about the necessity of being realistic concerning the climate crisis," Gore piped in during the same interview.

While the liberal media establishment is concerned about Murdoch's News Corporation taking control of Dow Jones & Company, which owns a paper, the Wall Street Journal, with liberal news pages, conservatives are concerned that Rupert Murdoch has been moving rapidly to the left over the last several years.

A year ago, AIM went to the News Corporation annual meeting with a series of questions about James Murdoch's increasing influence in the company. The questions included:

  • James Murdoch wrote an article for the Guardian attacking the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute for dispensing "inaccurate propaganda" about the global warming issue. But many conservatives regard the theory of man-made global warming as a hoax. Has James Murdoch been persuaded by Al Gore to embrace it?
  • James Murdoch has criticized the Western media for focusing on China's human rights abuses. Observers say this was an effort to ingratiate the company with Chinese Communist leaders because of News Corporation's extensive business dealings with China. What is your view on that?

At the meeting, where Rupert Murdoch cut the questions short and refused to discuss his successor, AIM also questioned him about his support for Hillary Clinton. He hosted a fundraiser for her, and his New York Post newspaper endorsed her Senate re-election bid.

In Australia, where he was born, Murdoch just recently engineered an endorsement of the left-wing candidate, Kevin Rudd, as Prime Minister by his national newspaper The Australian. Rudd beat the pro-American candidate, John Howard.

On July 7, when the LiveEarth concerts were staged around the world, Murdoch's Foxtel television network was the exclusive Australian broadcast partner for the event. Here, the concerts were aired by the networks owned by GE, whose chairman Jeffrey Immelt also contributes to the Clinton Global Initiative.

Proceeds from the LiveEarth concerts went to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a group headed by Al Gore.

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Copyright ©2007 Cliff Kincaid

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