After three rounds of changes, Fox News has agreed to run a Media Matters for America ad pointing out the cable network’s parent company’s $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association.
“If Media Matters can come up with the money, we’ll take the ad,” a Fox News spokesperson told POLITICO.
A 30-second slot during the top-rated "O’Reilly Factor" costs $35,000, which Media Matters has been trying to raise from its supporters. The nonprofit liberal media watchdog group sent out a fundraising e-mail last week, reprinted by Mediaite, which suggested that the move might be a bluff.
Ari Rabin-Havt, Media Matters’ vice president for research and communications, said the group raised some money from the campaign, though not the full amount. Nevertheless, it was ready to pay for the ad.
“I wanted to run this ad,” he said. “I didn’t go back three times to them for fun.”
The first version of the ad, which began, "A special message from Fox News brought to you by Media Matters for America” and included references to News Corp.’s donation fighting against Democratic governors, was rejected for factual inaccuracies, Fox News Senior Vice President of Ad Sales Paul Rittenberg told Mediaite last week.
Media Matters changed the final wording to “Democratic candidates,” at Fox’s request, and changed the introductory text to "a special message that Fox News' prime-time hosts refuse to tell you, brought to you by Media Matters for America.”
But that version was rejected because it attacked Fox.
“No network that I know of would reasonably broadcast an ad that makes false claims about their on-air talent,” Rittenberg told Mediaite.
The third version passed muster, however. It frames itself as "a special message about a story that's not yet been covered on Fox News prime time, brought to you by Media Matters for America."
Most of the rest of the ad is taken up by a quote, first run on Ben Smith’s blog on POLITICO, from News Corp. spokesman Jack Horner explaining the political donation: “News Corp. believes in the power of free markets, and the Republican Governors Association’s pro-business agenda supports our priorities in this most critical time for our economy.”
The outro remains the same as the second version: “And that’s why News Corporation has donated $1 million to oppose Democratic candidates this November. Paid for by Media Matters for America.”
The story of News Corp.’s gift to the RGA has been extensively covered by many media outlets but so far has only gotten a brief mention on Fox.
Media Matters paying FN to run an ad that will tell FN vewers that network puts money where mouth is? Have Media Matters switched sides or something? And the ad being rejected at first because of "factual inaccuracies", that is some watchdog organization!