On Dec. 12, 2005, the Guardian reported what the investor Alwaleed Bin Talal claimed he had done about altering the Fox News coverage of the just-passed French riots.
he had telephoned Mr Murdoch after seeing a strapline on the news channel describing the disturbances as "Muslim riots." "I picked up the phone and called Murdoch and said that I was speaking not as a shareholder, but as a viewer of Fox. I said that these are not Muslim riots, they are riots," Campaign Middle East magazine quoted the prince as saying. "He investigated the matter and called Fox and within half an hour it was changed from ‘Muslim riots' to ‘civil riots'." The prince said his intervention had been an example of how Muslim people can change the portrayal of their religion in the western media.
Alwaleed Bin Talal gave orders to Rupert Murdoch.
But did that really happen or was it just an empty boast? Cliff Kincaid, in "The Saudi Prince and Fox News," verifies it.
At the annual meeting of News Corporation, parent of Fox News, chairman Rupert Murdoch confirmed that a call from a Saudi Prince had resulted in a change in how the Fox News Channel covered the Muslim riots in France in 2005. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, a significant investor in News Corporation, told Murdoch he objected to highlighting the Muslim role in the riots. Murdoch said the change was made after it was determined that there was a Catholic role in the riots.
To which Kincaid observes: "This is strange, to say the least. I had never heard or seen it reported anywhere that there was a Catholic role in the riots." That's putting it mildly.
One discrepancy between their two accounts did emerge. Kincaid reports that "Murdoch told me that the call from the Saudi Prince resulted in an investigation that resulted in the change of coverage." In contrast, Alwaleed claimed that the coverage was changed "within half an hour."
Comment: As the price of oil soars, one can expect many more such distortions. (November 24, 2006)