FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 19, 2010
Jess Levin (202) 772-8162
After Hannity yanked from tea party event, network faces further scrutiny
Washington, DC - Today, Media Matters for America reported that a fundraising event keynoted by Fox Business host John Stossel is scheduled to go forward as planned, despite the ethical fallout from Sean Hannity's recent Cincinnati Tea Party scandal. Stossel's planned appearance has been criticized by several business news veterans.
"Fox has a chronic ethics problem," said Media Matters President Eric Burns. "And seeing as John Stossel's fundraiser comes after the network promised to rein in their employees, it doesn't seem like a problem they're too interested in solving."
Burns added: "This latest incident is just the latest of many, many examples of Fox operating as a political advocacy network, not a news network."
Three weeks ago, Media Matters reported that Stossel is scheduled to keynote a June 4 fundraising luncheon in Houston for the Institute for Energy Research (IER) -- an organization with heavy ties to the energy industry and whose research and representatives have repeatedly appeared on Fox.
On the event's website, IER lists several levels of "sponsorship" for the event. For $2,500, a "Silver Sponsor" and two guests get to attend a private reception with Stossel, while a "Gold Sponsor" pays $5,000 for a private reception with Stossel and four guests. For $7,500, a "Platinum Sponsor" gets a "[c]onference call with John Stossel leading up to event, Private reception with John Stossel, and photo op for you and your guests."
After Fox News executives yanked Hannity from taping his April 15 show at a Cincinnati Tea Party event which charged admission and had "all proceeds" benefiting the organization, the network reportedly planned to "keep a tighter rein on Hannity and others." But today, Media Matters confirmed that the Stossel fundraising event is scheduled to go on as planned.
Media Matters' Investigative Reporter and Senior Editor Joe Strupp asked several business news veterans to comment on Stossel's event:
IER says it "maintains that freely-functioning energy markets provide the most efficient and effective solutions to today's global energy and environmental challenges." According to Media Matters' partner organization, the Media Matters Action Network, IER received $337,000 from ExxonMobil between 2002 and 2007. IER's president is Thomas Pyle, who previously lobbied for Koch Industries, a large private company with heavy interests in the oil industry. A report by Greenpeace recently detailed the Koch empire's extensive donations to organizations skeptical of global warming; it said that IER received $175,000 from Koch-related foundations between 2005 and 2008. Rush Limbaugh has called IER "the energy equivalent of the Heritage Foundation," and said they are "[g]reat people."