Fox News' Special Report has discussed allegations that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has spent millions from undisclosed donors on GOP attack ads in a total of seven segments on four programs. But in only one segment has the network disclosed that their parent company, News Corp., donated $1 million to the Chamber this year.
Special Report acknowledges $1 million donation in initial report on Chamber donations
Henneberg notes News Corp.'s donation in October 7 report on Chamber donations. On October 6, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) sent a letter to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), asking them to investigate allegations that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been using foreign donations to finance campaign ads, which is illegal under campaign finance law. Franken's letter was reportedly prompted by an October 5 report released by the liberal blog Think Progress. On October 7, President Obama echoed Franken's charge at a rally in Maryland, saying, "Groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections, and they won't tell you where the money for their ads come from."
Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier first covered this story on October 7. During that segment, correspondent Molly Henneberg acknowledged that News Corp., the parent company of Fox News, gave $1 million to the Chamber of Commerce, suggesting that the program believes such disclosure is necessary. From the October 7 edition of Special Report (accessed from Nexis):
MOLLY HENNEBERG, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A rally today by the left wing group Moveon.org protesting the pro-business U.S. Chamber of Commerce, after Democratic Senator Al Franken sent a letter to the Federal Election Commission suggesting the chamber is using funds from foreign corporations, quote, "to finance millions of dollars in expenditures related to the 2010 mid-term elections." President Obama echoed Franken's charge today.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a threat to our democracy. The American people deserve to know who is trying to sway their elections.
HENNEBERG: The Chamber, which received $1 million donation from News Corp., the parent company of Fox News Channel, and which has put out TV ads, such as this one for Republican Rob Portman in Ohio's Senate race, is fighting back, saying, quote, "No foreign money is used to fund political activities. All allegations to the contrary are totally and completely false."
Conservatives say this is the latest salvo by Democrats, who have for years poured union manpower and money into elections.
$1 million donation not disclosed in any other Special Report segment on the Chamber
Since the October 7 segment, Fox News' Special Report has covered the allegations concerning the Chamber of Commerce in six additional segments. None of these segments disclosed the fact that Fox News' parent company, News Corp., donated $1 million to the Chamber of Commerce. According to a review of the Nexis database, Special Report covered the story without providing disclosure of its parent company's donation during three segments on October 11, two segments on October 12, and one segment on October 14.