Murdoch Defends Plan to Host Hillary Fundraiser; Calls Her 'Effective, Good Senator'

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News and the New York Post, said today that he his standing by his decision to host a political fundraiser for Sen. Hillary Clinton later this year.

During a conference call about his company’s robust earnings report, I asked Murdoch what conservatives are to make of his willingness to support the liberal New York senator who has voted against tax cuts, supports partial-birth abortion and opposed Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito. (Listen to Murdoch’s response in Windows Media and MP3 formats.)

“It will be pretty modest support,” Murdoch said. “It’s giving the opportunity to people in our office who want to join us at a breakfast.

“We think that she’s been effective on state issues and local issues here in a New York. She’s been an effective and good senator. And if people want to come to breakfast for $1,000, they’re welcome. It’s no big deal. It’s not a million-dollar raising. It’s got nothing to do with anything other than her Senate re-election.”

A News Corp. press officer invited HUMAN EVENTS to participate in the call—and ask about Hillary—following my report last night about a speech Murdoch gave to conservatives without mentioning the topic.

Last night’s speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., came a day after the Drudge Report broke the story about Murdoch’s decision to raise money for Clinton. The news was the talk of the town, leading some pundits to speculate that Murdoch was making a strategic move similar to his embrace of Tony Blair over conservatives in the United Kingdom.

Murdoch chose not to broach the subject during his speech to conservatives. He was in Washington to receive the Phillips Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award and honor recipients of the foundation’s journalism fellowship awards. He kept his remarks focused on Fox News and his other journalistic enterprises.(Note: Tom Phillips, chairman of the foundation, is also chairman of Eagle Publishing, parent company of HUMAN EVENTS.)

During a pre-dinner reception before Murdoch was honored, he entertained and chatted with some of the conservative movement’s VIPs. But everyone I talked to said they were either too nervous or simply too afraid to bring up the Hillary question.

When I told one attendee I planned to corner Murdoch and ask him about it, he suggested I avoid interacting with the News Corp. chairman for fear of angering the honored guest.

Following his speech, I made my way to the front of the room to ask the question no one else would dare pose to Murdoch: What are conservatives to make of his raising money for Hillary? Alas, I was too late. Murdoch made a dash for the door, and I missed him.

Today, however, after seeing my story, a News Corp. press officer called to apologize. He said Murdoch would have been happy to answer my questions about Hillary. He then offered me the opportunity to take part in this afternoon’s call.

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