Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Saudi Prince, Now Part Owner of Murdoch's News Corp., Influences Fox News
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal now owns a 7 percent stake in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., the parent company of Fox News, making him the company's largest shareholder outside of Murdoch's family. Alwaleed is best known for going to Ground Zero after the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks and personally handing then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani a check for $10 million to help finance relief efforts. Afterwards, Alwaleed released a statement blaming the attacks not on the Saudi airline hijackers, but on U.S. policies in the middle east. As a result, Giuliani returned the prince's donation, gaining him praise from Fox News for doing so. Now that Alwaleed has a controlling ownership in News Corp., he is gaining influence over Fox News. In 2005, just months after Alwaleed acquired his first 5.4 percent stake in News Corp., Fox News covered riots in Paris under a banner saying "Muslim riots." Alwaleed allegedly called Murdoch and had him change the banner to say "Civil riots." Investigative journalist Joseph Trento also reported that a comment he recently made on a Fox Network morning news show, Fox and Friends, about Saudi Arabian money still financing Al Qaeda, was edited out of the show. Trento also reports that Alwaleed "has personally donated huge amounts of money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers." In a rare interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto in January, AlWaleed explained his personal reasons for seeking influence in American politics: the U.S. buys Saudi Arabia's oil, and the bulk of his country's gross domestic product (GDP) comes from oil. Fox News reliably broadcasts misinformation on clean energy, and aggressively fights efforts to move America away from being dependent on a fossil fuels.