RUPERT MURDOCH MAKES FRIENDS IN WASHINGTON
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).