RUPERT MURDOCH MAKES FRIENDS IN WASHINGTON
Published January 13, 1995
According to Howard Rubenstein, spokesperson for House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Gingrich met with News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch and "discussed the media baron's high-stakes battle over whether his television stations violated foreign ownership rules." The meeting came "shortly before" Murdoch's publishing firm, HarperCollins, offered Gingrich a $4.5M advance on a book deal. Gingrich had accepted it, but after public criticism, turned it down. Both Gingrich and Murdoch have denied discussing the book offer at their November 28 meeting. Murdoch has said he knew nothing of the book offer until he was notified of the controversy while on a visit to China. Gingrich has said that at the time, he did not know that Murdoch even owned HarperCollins. Murdoch has "numerous matters pending before the government that could cost millions of dollars." At the top of the list is a fight with NBC and the NAACP, over foreign ownership of Fox Television Stations. Meanwhile, Rep. Michael Oxley said yesterday that he will introduce a bill today to overturn the 60-year-old foreign ownership limits. He and other supporters of the bill say their interest is not connected to Fox. Fox claim they are already in compliance with the 25% limit on foreign ownership (Phil Kuntz, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/13).