NEWS CORP’S GOP DONATION RAISES EYEBROWS…. Media conglomerates don’t often give $1 million to a political party to help influence statewide campaigns. It’s encouraging, then, that News Corp’s seven-figure check to the Republican Governors Association is generating some discussion.

The contribution from Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation, which owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post and other news outlets, is one of the biggest ever given by a media organization, campaign finance experts said.

Democrats seized on the donation as evidence of the News Corporation’s conservative leanings, with Media Matters for America, a liberal group that has tangled often with the company, calling it “an appendage of the Republican Party.”

But News Corporation executives said the political priorities at the Republican Governors Association and its emphasis on low taxes and economic growth dovetailed with the company’s own concerns. “News Corp. has always believed in the power of free markets, and organizations like the R.G.A., which have a pro-business agenda, support our priorities at this most critical time for our economy,” said Jack Horner, a company spokesman.

What a terrific response. News Corp is facing questions about the propriety of a media conglomerate giving Republicans a cool million, and as a defense, the corporation effectively replies, “But we really like Republicans.”

We know. That’s why the check was written. The point isn’t whether News Corp and Republicans have a shared worldview; the point is whether the financial support is appropriate.

At a minimum, it’s breaking new ground: “Dave Levinthal, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, said seven-figure donations from anyone to ‘527’ associations were unusual, but a $1 million donation from a news organization was particularly rare.” A Politico report added that the contribution “isn’t business as usual — in either size or style.”

What’s more, Amanda Terkel noted that News Corp’s own “Standards of Business Conduct” may prohibit exactly the kind of financial support the company is providing the Republican Governors Association, but like the media company’s journalistic principles, it appears these standards may be malleable.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.