Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Are the Saudis leaning on Fox News???

In 2005 the world's fifth richest man, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, became the fourth largest shareholder of the world's second largest media conglomerate, Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp (the corporate empire behind Fox News as well as Beliefnet, MySpace, Hulu, AskMen, The New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, Harper Collins . . . . )

Now in 2010 Al-Waleed is actually the largest shareholder in NewsCorp outside of the Murdoch family itself. And earlier this year, the Prince met with Rupert Murdoch in New York "to discuss 'economic and investment issues, especially in the media sector' and a 'future potential alliance with News Corp,'" according to a story by Kenneth Li in the January 21st edition of the Financial Times.

So maybe this explains why the American right-wing's favorite propaganda outfit has suddenly started attacking Geert Wilders as a "fascist"?

Personally I find the newly unleashed anti-Wilders position at Fox a very welcome development. Too many American right-wingers have mistaken Geert Wilders for one of their own.

It is true that Wilders holds many positions consistent with American political conservatism. But whereas the American right has become addicted to the support it receives from slack-jawed religious fundamentalists, mysoginists, homophobes and racists, Wilders is a man who is waging a principled war against religious fundamentalism, and who strongly and frequently invokes his support for women's rights and gay rights, and who has nothing but contempt for racists and racist groups.

It is very unlikely that Fox has turned on Wilders (who has in the past been showered with praise by Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly) due to any disagreements over principle. Rather it appears to be the case that this is due simply to the influence of Saudi oil money, combined with the prospects for future media profits to be made in the Middle East and throughout the Muslim world.


Kullervo said...

Without a owning a majority share, or at least having effective control of a bloc of shareholders who add up to a majority, I'm not sure how much "leaning" this guy could actually do.

He's not on the board of directors, and he's not an officer or manager. He can't force a vote on anything. He has no way to exert control over the corporation.

I just don't see it.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

I think having 7% of the voting stock gets you listened to. Also, the timing of this coming so soon after Rupert's little get-together with the Prince is a bit of (highly) circumstantial evidence.

Some explanation is demanded. This is the first criticism (at least that I know of) of Wilders from the American "right", and it is a dramatic reversal of what the Fox punditocracy has said in the past. And it appears to have been orchestrated, with Krauthammer, Kristol and Beck all in on it, as well as Fox Chief White House correspondent Bret Baier (and apparently A.B. Stoddard, whoever she is).

Something gives.

mamiel said...

Glenn Beck has been known to change positions before. He was a huge critic of the health care system until Obama took office, when his criticism of American health care morphed into praise.

But if Beck, Kristol, and O'Reilly have all dramatically changed their position on Wilders, you better believe there was a directive given to them from higher up. Because Wilder's position has not changed at all.