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Fox airs ad critical of News Corp. donation to GOP governors

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Media watchdog group runs ad critical of News Corp. on Fox News Channel
  • The ad highlights a $1 million donation to a GOP governors' group from News Corp.
  • Fox demanded changes in the commercial before it would air it

(CNN) -- After making changes requested by the network, the liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America aired a commercial on Fox News Channel Tuesday night criticizing Fox's parent company for a $1 million donation to a Republican governor's group.

"And now, a special message about a story that's not yet been covered on Fox News prime time, brought to you by Media Matters for America," a narrator said in the 30-second ad, which played during Fox's hugely popular "The O'Reilly Factor" program.

Over an image of a waving American flag, the narrator read a portion of a statement from Fox News Corp.'s vice president for corporate affairs and communications Jack Horner.

"News Corp. believes in the power of free markets, and the Republican Governors' Association's pro-business agenda supports our priorities at this most critical time for our economy," said the statement, published by the website Politico August 16.

"And that's why News Corp. has donated $1 million to oppose Democratic candidates this November," the narrator added, concluding with the phrase, "Paid for by Media Matters for America."

Two commercials for consumer products followed the ad, and then Bill O'Reilly welcomed viewers back to his show. He didn't mention the MMFA commercial, instead touting a premium membership on his website and his latest book, "Pinheads and Patriots."

The website Mediaite said the original script for the ad began with, "And now, a special message from Fox News," which the network demanded be changed, since the ad wasn't from the news channel.

The network also asked that the original text saying "to oppose Democratic governors" be changed, Mediaite said. The final cut said "to oppose Democratic candidates."

According to Politico, the group raised part of the funds to pay for the $35,000 ad by soliciting supporters online for donations.

Media Matters for America is a not-for-profit group "dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media," according to its website.