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Hannity Decries Saudi Prince's University Donations, Ignores Same Prince's Financial Connections To FOX News

Reported by Ellen - December 14, 2005 -

For Sean Hannity, what's good for FOX and the Bush family is a scandal for universities. Last night's (12/13/05) Hannity & Colmes included a critical look at Saudi Prince Al-waleed bin Talal's large donations to two top US universities. Hannity and author Richard Miniter slimed the schools by saying, without offering any sources or facts to back up the claim, that the donations were evidence of anti-Americanism on campus. Meanwhile, everybody seemed to overlook the fact that the same prince is a large stockholder of FOX News parent company, News Corporation. Also overlooked were the recent allegations that, at the request of the prince, FOX News changed its news reporting to make it more Muslim-friendly.

Hannity, sounding outraged, introduced the discussion by saying, "Harvard and Georgetown Universities are now accepting $20 million each from Prince Al-waleed bin Talal for their Islamic studies programs... So will these grants lead to free and open debate on campus or do they come with some type of strings attached?"

Guest was Richard Miniter, touting a new book about how the media undermines the war on terror.

Hannity declared, "This is a bad guy." Hitting his hand against the desk to accent each word, Hannity asked, "Why would these universities take money from him?"

Hannity might want to ask his boss, Rupert Murdoch, that same question. A 1999 press release by News Corporation, announces that Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal owns more than 5% of FOX News Channel's parent company. Last September, our own Marie Therese posted that Bin Talal increased his holdings to 5.5% in order to block a threatened takeover. With News Corporation's market cap of $17.3 billion, Bin Talal's share comes to about $1 billion, quite a bit more than the gifts he made to Harvard and Georgetown.

As the screen read, "Dirty money?" Miniter answered that the reason Harvard and Georgetown accepted the money is "because these universities already believe this message... and teach that America's the problem, that our support for Israel and our arguments against terrorism is the problem." No examples or sources were provided to back up his claim.

Hannity said, "That's even more disgraceful... Why don't they get challenged on it?"

Alan Colmes said that the prince "is known to be pro-American. He's made major contributions to US corporations like Citicorp, for example."

Miniter agreed that the prince is a liberal Saudi and that it was "a good and fair point."

One might also think it "a good and fair point" for "real journalism, fair and balanced" FOX News to at least mention that they have their own connection to Prince Bin Talal. Not only that, on the same day of the show, FrontPageMag.com reported that FOX News, itself, capitulated to Prince Bin Talal's request that it portray Muslims in a more favorable light.

In early September 2005, Bin Talal bought 5.46% of voting shares in News Corp. This made the Fifth richest man on the Forbes World's Richest People, the fourth largest voting shareholder in News Corp., the parent of Fox News.

...Covering the riots in Paris last November, Fox ran a banner saying: "Muslim riots." Bin Talal was not happy. "I picked up the phone and called Murdoch... (and told him) these are not Muslim riots, these are riots out of poverty," he said. "Within 30 minutes, the title was changed from Muslim riots to civil riots."

Also not mentioned, and probably never will be, is the Bush family's deep connections to the Saudi Royal family. Read The Center for American Progress' Complete Saudi Primer and ask "fair and balanced" FOX News why the university donation is more newsworthy than evidence that ties the Saudi royal family to the 9/11 attacks.

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