Feb 17 2010
A reasonable question when a leading member of the ruling family of the sharia-totalitarian “kingdom” of Saudi Arabia, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has made himself the second-largest shareholder of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Fox News’ parent company.
Diana West writes Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s charm-blitzed through NY, juxtaposing Fox News’ Neil Cavuto’s sweetheart interview with “the prince” and Charlie Rose’s far more revealing conversation — essentially, it’s (everything’s) all Israel’s fault, and “my” 1.5 billion Muslims are all like the underpants’ bomber’s father.
I kept thinking about Alwaleed — his stake in News Corp., his stakes in Georgetown and Harvard — and realized that as a leading scion of the so-called House of Saud (q: how many countries are named for their rulers?), a totalitarian theocracy whose foundational documents — the Koran, the Sunnah, the Hadiths — place it in direct ideological conflict with the US Constitution, he operates not just as a billionaire businessman, but also, inevitably, by virtue of who he is, as an agent of Saudi influence.
Alwaleed’s long march through U.S. institutions is a mainly post-9/11 progression greased by his purchase of about a 5.5 percent stake in News Corp. in 2005, and his purchases, I mean, gifts, of $20 million apiece to Georgetown and Harvard Universities, also in 2005.
There have been other eye-catching displays of Alwaleed’s largesse — $500,000 in 2002 to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Hamas- and Muslim-Brotherhood-linked entity, and a whopping $27 million, also in 2002, to the families of Palestinian “martyrs,” aka suicide bombers. These, along with Alwaleed’s self-described “very close relationship” with Murdoch son and apparent heir-apparent James, a left-wing global-warmist with virulently anti-Israel views, should only deepen Americans’ concerns about Fox’s ties to “the prince.” Recently, Murdoch and Alwaleed have discussed expanding their business relationship through the Murdoch purchase of a substantial stake in Rotana, Alwaleed’s huge Arab media company.
Before entering his Murdoch association, Alwaleed gave a remarkably candid interview in 2002 about what Arab News described as his belief that “Arabs should focus more on penetrating U.S. public opinion as a means to influencing decision-making” rather than boycotting U.S. products.
The Arab News reported: “Arab countries can influence U.S. decision-making ‘if they unite through economic interests, not political,’ (Alwaleed) stressed. And to bring the decision-maker on your side, you not only have to be active inside the U.S. Congress or the administration but also inside U.S. society.'”
And active inside U.S. society living rooms — even better. Alwaleed would seem to have hit on a Fox strategy some time after Rudy Giuliani refused to accept, on behalf of a 9/11-shattered New York City, his $10 million check-cum-lecture that essentially justified the al-Qaida attacks as having been a response to U.S. foreign policy.
Meanwhile, spokesmen for terrorism-linked and Alwaleed-endowed CAIR still appear on Fox shows, for example, while Dave Gaubatz and Paul Sperry, likely Fox guests as conservative authors of the sleeper-hit book “Muslim Mafia” (an expose of CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood), get zero airtime. The more important question becomes: How does Alwaleed’s stake in News Corp. affect what Fox News doesn’t cover? If they don’t report, we can’t decide. This, for a sharia prince, could be worth millions.
Conservative activists rebel against FOX News: ‘Saudi ownership is really dangerous for America.”
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns a 7 percent stake in News Corp — the parent company of Fox News — making him the largest shareholder outside the family of News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch. Alwaleed has grown close with the Murdoch enterprise, recently endorsing James Murdoch to succeed his father and creating a content-sharing agreement with Fox News for his own media conglomerate, Rotana.
Last weekend, at the right-wing Constitutional Coalition’s annual conference in St. Louis, Joseph Farah, publisher of the far right WorldNetDaily, blasted Fox News for its relationship with Alwaleed. Farah noted correctly that Alwaleed had boasted in the past about forcing Fox News to change its content relating to its coverage of riots in Paris, and warned that such foreign ownership of American media is “really dangerous.” ThinkProgress was at the speech and observed attendees of the conference murmuring and shaking their heads in disapproval:
ThinkProgess spoke to right-wing author Brigitte Gabriel, another speaker at the conference, who said that Alwaleed was recently interviewed by Fox News’ Neil Cavuto. Gabriel angrily denounced the interview as a “darling high school reunion”: “All of the sudden, Neil Cavuto is interviewing him like a buddy-buddy because he is the boss.” Indeed, in the “rare” interview Alwaleed gave last month, he reaffirmed his “alliance” with the Murdoch family and told Cavuto why he has a personal stake in influencing American politic.
In addition to his powerful Fox News outlet, Alwaleed and other foreign investors have potentially unprecedented power to impact American elections.