Friday :: Oct 12, 2007

Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and Rupert Murdoch

by eriposte

In response to my post "Is Hillary Clinton is a Corporate Democrat? - Part 1", reader Rene made the following comment (all emphasis in this post is mine):

My final unease has been elevated by the Clintons association with Bush Sr and Murdoch and the approach of getting lobbyists funding. The company you keep DOES affect your thinking.

In the same comment thread, reader DeminNewJ had this to say:

I can say with all honesty that there may be one person, who has learned through an incredible school of hard knocks, that is NOT a "corporate Democrat". Even though he is currently a member of several boards, a friend to many billionaire moguls and personally successful AFTER the most remarkable political assassination in living memory, I truly believe that Al Gore Jr. has been made aware of the dangers of Corporate democracy and is willing to fight for American Constitutional values.

Vice President Al Gore is no doubt an inspiring and progressive visionary and I am really thrilled this morning that he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his amazing work on raising worldwide awareness of the massive problem of global climate change. He would have made a great President and will be a great President if he chooses to run again. Here's what he thinks about Rupert Murdoch:

This was buried in a New York Times article on the News Corp. acquisition of the Dow Jones Company. Former Vice President Al Gore defends Rupert Murdoch as a man of his word.

In an interview, former Vice President Al Gore defended Mr. Murdoch as someone who supports independent voices and keeps his word. Mr. Gore was referring to his own experience negotiating a contract to carry Current TV, a cable channel he helped found. Mr. Gore, who has spoken out against media consolidation by conglomerates like the News Corporation in the past, said that he was mainly concerned with ownership of broadcast outlets. “That’s an issue — but on the question of his openness to independent points of view, I want you to know that my experience has been that when he gave his word, he kept his word.”

I'm sure the blood of some readers is boiling, but there are some occasions in life when cultivating a relationship or connection to a previously avowed enemy may not be entirely stupid or unprincipled. As long as one does not walk away from progressive principles, building bridges may be a good thing. Indeed, Senator Obama has been inspiring people to do just that - he certainly inspired me enough to convince me that he will be a great President. Likewise, Gore, President Clinton and Sen. Clinton have obviously tried to build bridges with Rupert Murdoch for various reasons - and here's one:

On the heels of the [2006] Clinton Global Initiative conference, The Financial Times quotes Murdoch saying he was "examining" how to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions "in every country where we are."

Murdoch is an unlikely crusader against global warming. He's long been skeptical of anthropogenic climate change. Liberals have often accused the News Corp. media empire of censorship and biased coverage when it comes to the issue of global warming.

In a review of "An Inconvenient Truth" that appeared in the News Corp.-owned New York Post, many felt reviewer Kyle Smith spoke for his corporate master when he accused

"Look carefully at Gore's charts and you'll see that the worst horrors take place in the future of his imagination."

Given his history, Murdoch's U-turn on this issue is enough to provoke whiplash. Yet, perhaps his change of heart was not as rapid as that of Saul on the road to Damascus. There were recent indications that Murdoch was reevaluating his stance on global warming. In August [2006], Murdoch invited Al Gore to give his climate change presentation at the annual News Corp meeting in Pebble Beach.

Here's more on what Murdoch has now promised to do on global warming:

...Murdoch has boldly promised to make News Corp. carbon neutral by 2010 and to weave environmental issues and themes into his newspapers, TV shows, movies and online properties - a tricky business, particularly when it comes to news.

"Climate change poses clear, catastrophic threats," Murdoch said last spring, in a speech webcast to all News Corp. employees (and available here.) "We may not agree on the extent, but we certainly can't afford the risk of inaction."

He went on to say, "Our audience's carbon footprint is 10,000 times bigger than ours. That's the carbon footprint we want to conquer."

So, coming back to Rene's comment, let me rewrite what she said to flesh out what she really meant:

The company [Hillary keeps] DOES affect [her] thinking.

I agree Rene, but does that not mean that the thinking of the person who keeps Hillary's company is also affected by her?

Moral of the story? Smart progressives can influence even their worst opponents to make progressive changes.

Yes, we have incredible amounts of corruption in politics - especially in the GOP - but sometimes, these relationships are not just about fundraising. So, if you see yourself having a negative, Pavlovian reaction to Sen. Hillary Clinton's outreach to Republicans, and you don't have the same reaction to Sen. Barack Obama's outreach to Republicans, then maybe it's time to ask whether your thinking is affecting the company you keep.

P.S. As for the Bill Clinton-George Bush Sr. connection, considering that it helped raise millions for tsunami-stricken Indonesia and convey a more positive image of America to the world at a time when that was badly needed, is that a bad thing?

eriposte :: 6:08 AM :: Comments (19) :: Digg It!