Singleton, Scaife Among Political Contributors

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By: Joe Strupp

While their newspapers are busy covering the elections of 2004, owners and top executives of some of the country’s largest papers and chains are busy contributing to candidates — or at least their money-hungry political parties, according to campaign finance records filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Richard Scaife, the outspoken conservative publisher of the Tribune-Review (Click for QuikCap) in Pittsburgh tops the list with a $25,000 donation to the Republican National Committee last July, while also giving $2,000 to George Bush’s re-election campaign and $4,000 to the U.S. Senate bid of Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Pat Toomey.

Across town, William Block Jr., chairman of Block Communications, which owns the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Click for QuikCap) and The Blade (Click for QuikCap) in Toledo, Ohio, offered two $250 contributions to the Democratic National Committee in 2003.

In other family newspaper finances, George R. Hearst, chairman of the board of The Hearst Corp. of New York gave $1,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, while his cousin, William R Hearst III — grandson of William Randolph Hearst and former publisher of the San Francisco Examiner — donated $2,000 to the Joe Lieberman for President campaign and another $2,000 to VenturePac, a political action committee supporting issues related to venture capital firms.

The Murdoch family showed its political leanings with a $2,000 donation to the Bush-Cheney campaign from Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp., who also sent $2,000 to Sen. John McCain’s 2004 re-election effort and the same amount to the campaign of California Republican Congressman Bill Thomas.

Wendi Murdoch, his wife, also donated $2,000 to Thomas, while his son, New York Post (Click for QuikCap) Publisher Lachlan Murdoch gave $2,000 to Bush-Cheney.

Also in New York, Mortimer Zuckerman, chairman and co-publisher of the New York Daily News (Click for QuikCap), granted $1,000 to the re-election coffers of California Democratic Congressman Tom Lantos.

William Dean Singleton, CEO and vice-chairman of MediaNews Group, who also serves as publisher of his flagship The Denver Post (Click for QuikCap), gave a $2,000 contribution to Bush-Cheney as well.

Other contributions from members of well-known newspaper families include Michael C. Copley, step-son of retired Copley Newspapers chairwoman Helen Copley, who provided $2,000 to the Bush-Cheney campaign; and William H. Scripps, great-grandson of news pioneer E.W. Scripps, who contributed $2,000 to the president’s re-election campaign, as well as $2,500 to the Republican National Committee.

Even Roxanne Pulitzer, the infamous former wife of Herbert Pulitzer, son of newspaper legend Joseph L. Pulitzer, is in the act, giving $250 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

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