Democrats' letter to Fox News denounces News Corp. donation to Republicans

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By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 18, 2010; 1:26 PM

The Democrats are escalating their attack on Fox News over the $1 million donation by the network's parent company to the Republican Governors Association.

In a letter Wednesday to Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, the head of the Democratic Governors Association said: "In the interest of some fairness and balance, I request that you add a formal disclaimer to your coverage any time any of your programs covers governors or gubernatorial races between now and Election Day."

Nathan Daschle, the group's executive director, even suggested the wording: "News Corp., parent company of Fox News, provided $1 million to defeat Democratic governors in November." Otherwise, he said, Fox executives should demand that the donation be returned.

Either outcome is extremely unlikely, but Daschle, who has already put out a fundraising letter about the News Corp. contribution, is doing what he can to keep the story alive.

In a postscript, Daschle, the son of former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, told Ailes that while many news outlets have covered the controversy, "your own news programs have been strangely silent." Daschle said he is available to appear on any Fox program.

Fox News spokesman Brian Lewis responded: "Nathan's stunt has run its course. His 15 minutes are up. Time to leave the stage."

After the seven-figure donation by Rupert Murdoch's company surfaced Tuesday, News Corp. spokesman Jack Horner called it "patently false that a corporate donation would have any bearing on our news-gathering activities at Fox News or any other of our properties." Other media companies have regularly made political contributions, but nothing even remotely close to $1 million.

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