Mon, Jul 09, 2012 - Page 7 News List

Murdoch steps up visibility in US politics

AP, NEW YORK

The Romney campaign has no immediate plans to make changes to its senior staff, though officials said they are still in the process of hiring new people for the fall push against Obama.

Michael Wolff, author of The Man Who Owns the News, a Murdoch biography, said Murdoch’s use of Twitter reflected a new determination to address politics using his own voice and to carve out a separate identity from Fox News, which has grown more conservative than Murdoch himself over time.

“He’s not a Fox conservative and he’s not a Tea Party conservative. That’s why he’s angry about Romney,” Wolff said. “Romney is closer to a Murdoch conservative, but he is now pandering to the conservative wing of the party that Murdoch has always had contempt for.”

Judd Legum, who has researched Murdoch for the liberal Center for American Progress, a Washington-based think tank, agreed that Murdoch was attempting to separate himself from Fox, but for a -different reason: He believes the network had gone too easy on Romney.

“They’ve positioned Fox News to be largely supportive of Romney, with lots of sympathetic interviews,” Legum said. “Murdoch is suggesting another approach. He wants to push Romney into a more aggressive posture.”

As a political donor, Murdoch has contributed to both Republicans and Democrats, including US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham -Clinton during her run for re--election to the Senate from New York. Murdoch also came close to endorsing Obama in 2008, calling Obama a rock star and saying rival Senator John McCain had “a lot of problems.”

News Corp contributed US$1 million each in 2010 to the Republican Governors Association and the US Chamber of Commerce, prompting the company’s board to announce News Corp would disclose its political giving annually on its Web site.

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