The “truthiest” of the Bush-Cheney administration’s false pretexts for invading Iraq was the claim that Saddam Hussein funded terrorism by making donations of $25,000 to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. The assertion was true — Saddam even bragged about it — but the Cheneyites and neocons twisted this fact into circumstantial evidence that bolstered their entirely specious claim that Saddam was behind the attacks on 9/11 in the eyes of their low-info base who were unable to distinguish between Hamas, al Qaeda and any other group from the Middle East. (Read: Fox viewers.)
Not surprisingly, Fox News spinners were instrumental in helping the Bush administration square the circle in order to blur Saddam’s donations to Hamas into donations to terrorists writ large (read: the 9/11 bombers).
But that was then. Now, according to Joseph Trento at the DC Bureau website, Fox’s owner, Rupert Murdoch, has struck a deal with Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal that will make the prince News Corps’ fourth largest investor:
The notorious Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, nephew to the Saudi king, met with Rupert Murdoch in Hong Kong on Jan. 14. The prince issued a press release after the meeting stating that the prince’s Kingdom Holding Company had discussions that “touched upon future potential alliances with News Corp.”
…Prince Alwaleed was about to become News Corp’s fourth largest voting shareholder (behind the Murdoch family, Liberty Media, and Fidelity Management & Research Co, a mutual fund). The prince has repeatedly defended his homeland as a problem-free place. What he has failed to mention is that he has personally donated huge amounts of money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
Alwaleed is the same Saudi prince who made headlines right after 9/11 when he personally went to Ground Zero and offered then-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani a $10 million check for the relief efforts. But Alwaleed could not keep his mouth shut. He released a bizarre statement that blamed the attacks — not on the 15 airline hijackers from Saudi Arabia — but on the United States’ support of Israel. Giuliani, “America’s mayor” [and a nearly constant presence of Fox today,] saw a political opportunity and, confident that his reaction was appropriate, immediately refused the prince’s donation. He said: “There is no moral equivalent for this attack.”
In the weeks since the Murdoch-Alwaleed deal was struck, Trento says he’s detected a noticeable softening in Fox News’ coverage of Saudi Arabia. It’s also a safe bet Fox will impose a blackout on coverage of the Saudi prince — and because its viewers only get their news from Fox, talk radio and other right-wing propaganda outlets, its audience — the same folks who were outraged over Saddam’s donations to the bombers — will never know that a latter day terror funder is keeping the network afloat.
- Section: News & Comment