Many Bearing Drift readers would think it’s not news that most broadcast media companies — the owners of the major television networks — favor Democratic politicians in their distribution of campaign contributions.
There’s at least one major surprise, however. Prepare for the unexpected.
Alex Weprin of TVNewser dug into the data compiled by OpenSecrets.org to learn about the political giving habits of the political action committees (PACs) started by the television networks, and also of some of the individual executives, during the current campaign cycle, which will culminate in the presidential election in November.
Of the six corporations Weprin examined, five gave more money to Democrats than to Republicans. In most cases, the contributions went to members of the congressional committees that regulate the communications industry, and sometimes to House or Senate leaders. (TVNewser’s published report does not list donations to presidential candidates.)
The smallest pool of money came from CBS, which gave 57.5 percent of its $100,000 in contributions to Democratic politicians. The largest pool, more than $2 million, came from Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal (NBCU). Weprin reports that Comcast gave $1.06 million to Democrats and $965,000 to Republicans.
The one media firm that gave more money to Republicans than to Democrats was the Walt Disney Company, which owns ABC-TV and ESPN. (ABC doesn’t have its own cable-news channel, but it has several sports sisters.) The margin was not large: Disney sent $161,500 to Republicans and just $9,000 less to Democrats.
Here’s the real surprise. Weprin writes:
News Corp: The parent company of Fox News has given $759, 525 so far this cycle, with most of it going to Democrats. Democrats received $510,721, compared to $251,204 to Republicans. The list of recipients is heavy on party leaders and committee members. While the company PAC is giving to Democrats, News Corp, CEO Rupert Murdoch still donated almost exclusively to Republicans, according to filings.
For all those who think Fox improperly skews to the right, this data point might serve as a corrective.