News Corp vows transparency for future GOP donations

In advance of last year’s midterm elections, Fox News’ parent company, News Corp., was awfully generous towards Republicans. The company made multiple donations to the Republican Governors Association, totaling $1.25 million, in addition to a $1 million contribution to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for its pro-Republican election-year activities.

The company didn’t disclose any of the contributions, but they were uncovered by journalists. Going forward, however, News Corp will bring some transparency to its efforts.

Beginning this summer, the News Corporation, the media company controlled by Rupert Murdoch, will announce each year all the political contributions it has made.

The move comes after the company was highlighted for donating $1.25 million to the Republican Governors Association and $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ahead of the midterm elections last year.

Critics of the company seized on the donations — which were made public only in news reports — as evidence of bias on the part of the News Corporation, which owns the Fox News Channel and The Wall Street Journal, and Mr. Murdoch, who has long been a supporter of conservative causes.

Apparently, News Corp shareholders were less than pleased to learn of the campaign contributions, not from officials at an annual meeting, but through the media. Since it was shareholder money going to Republicans, and not just Murdoch writing a check from his bank account, the company’s board of directors agreed to disclose future political donations.

This certainly seems like a step in the right direction. If News Corp is going to use its resources to boost Republican campaign efforts, disclosure is preferable to secrecy.

Or course, real progress will come when News Corp stops trying to help Republicans financially altogether, and stops using its cable news network to make in-kind contributions to the GOP every day.