It’s not every day that you find a prominent right-leaning media conglomerate throwing its financial weight behind a Democratic senator. Yet, according to recent campaign financial disclosures, that’s precisely what appears to be happening with Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Rupert Murdoch’s Fox empire.
Senator Manchin, a moderate Democrat in a state that leans decidedly Republican, is gearing up for a fierce re-election battle. With either Republican Gov. Jim Justice or Republican Rep. Alex Mooney expected to oppose him, the stakes are high. Not only is Manchin’s political future hanging in the balance, but so too might the balance of power in the Senate.
Several executives and members of the legal team from the Murdoch media empire seem to have a keen interest in the outcome. According to the Federal Election Committee’s July records for Manchin, there’s been a flurry of donations flowing his way from Fox. Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations, and Stephen Brown, a network executive, both contributed $3,300 each. Meanwhile, Michael Mulvihill and Fernando Szew, other prominent figures in the company, gave $1,500 and $1,000 respectively.
But they weren’t alone in their support. Senior Fox figures Adrian Farley Jamie Gillespie and Jamie Gillespie went above and beyond, contributing $6,600 each to Manchin’s coffers. Fox Corp.’s legal department also seemed to rally behind the West Virginian Democrat, with total contributions from the team amounting to $11,350.
However, it wasn’t just individual donations that caught the eye. Fox Corp.’s political action committee itself handed over a total of $8,500 to Manchin’s campaign.
Of course, these figures might seem surprising to some. When questioned about the donations, Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti responded, “FOXPAC supports candidates on both sides of the aisle.” It’s a testament to the complex political landscape where alliances can sometimes be unexpected.
It’s also worth noting that these contributions follow reports of Fox News matching employee donations to various groups, including some left-leaning organizations.
As the next election season heats up, it will be fascinating to see where other unexpected alliances may form. What this scenario underscores, however, is the age-old political wisdom: in politics, always expect the unexpected.