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April 16, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Days after News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch remarked that his Fox News Channel should not be supporting any political movement or party, the network canceled plans to broadcast Sean Hannity’s show from a Tea Party fundraiser in Cincinnati on Thursday. The network’s action took place following reports from the liberal website Media Matters, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the Los Angeles Times that organizers of the affair were using Hannity’s image to sell tickets and were pricing them on the basis of how close to Hannity’s set buyers would sit. In a statement, Bill Shine, executive vice president of programming for Fox News said, “Fox News never agreed to allow the Cincinnati Tea Party organizers to use Sean Hannity’s television program to profit from broadcasting his show from the event.” Hannity’s appearances at Tea Party events had come under increasing criticism from journalism ethicists — particularly since Fox News was prominently mentioned in ads for the affairs. Media Matters had quoted Kevin Smith, president of the Society of Professional Journalists, as saying, “For a news organization to charge people for access, then take that money and roll it over to a political action group that they cover quite a bit … There is a clear conflict of interest here.” But Chris Littleton, a spokesman for the Cincinnati Tea Party, told the Cincinnati Enquirer: “The left drove that story, Fox capitulated to it and left.”