Edwards slams Dow Jones sale

by Ira Teinowitz, TV Week

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is calling on Democrats to oppose News Corp.’s purchase of Dow Jones & Co. and “take the necessary steps to stop the merger,” in a major step-up of his previous criticism of Fox News Channel.

In an e-mail today to his supporters, the former North Carolina senator said continuing media consolidation “threatens the health of our democracy.”

“News Corp.’s purchase of Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal should be the last straw when it comes to media consolidation,” he said in the e-mail.

“The basis of a strong democracy begins and ends with a strong, unbiased and fair media—all qualities which are pretty hard to subscribe to Fox News and News Corp.

“The reality is that Americans deserve more news outlets—not fewer,” Sen. Edwards said. “It’s time for all Democrats, including those running for president, to stand up and speak out against this merger and other forms of media consolidation.”

Sen. Edwards didn’t say how the Democrats should block the merger.

FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps suggested on Tuesday that the FCC should look closely at the cross ownership implications in New York, where News Corp. would own the Journal, the New York Post and TV stations.

Sen. Edwards also called on Democrats to refuse donations from News Corp. execs. Both Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. President-Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin have contributed to the presidential campaigns of Democrats Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Joe Biden and Sen. Christopher Dodd. Mr. Chernin also was co-host, with Steven Spielberg and Haim Saban, of a major Hollywood fundraiser in May for Sen. Clinton.

“Given Fox News’ consistent efforts to demean Democrats—they have attacked the character of Sen. Obama, Vice President Gore and many others—no Democrat running for president should accept campaign money from top News Corp executives,” Sen. Edwards said in his e-mail. “So today I’m challenging every Democratic presidential candidate to refuse contributions from News Corp. executives and return any they've already taken, beginning with Rupert Murdoch. The time has come for Democrats to stop pretending to be friends with the very people who demonize the Democratic Party.”

Sen. Edwards was the first Democratic candidate to decline to participate in any Fox News Channel debates, and he has used his refusal in fundraising efforts.

article originally published at http://www.tvweek.com/news/2007/08/edwards_urges_dems_to_fight_do.php.

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