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Billionaire Funder and Fox News Collude in Glenn Beck's Affront to Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" Speech

Tim Phillips, president of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, flatly denies that his organization has any  partnership with Rupert Murdoch, CEO of Fox News' parent company, News Corporation. Still, the coincidental evidence keeps piling up. Take, for instance, the cheapy-cheap deals available through the AFPF Web site for those wishing to travel to Washington, D.C., for the big Glenn Beck event, Restoring Honor -- which happens to take place at the Lincoln Memorial on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, which took place in the same hallowed location. Okay, so AFPF doesn't advertise the deals as being for the Beck event; they just happen to be wrapping their own annual D.C. conference around the Beck event, and will be ferrying attendees to their Defending the American Dream confab to the Beck event. And the buses will conveniently not leave D.C. until the Beck event concludes. (Coincidentally, FreedomWorks, which is using Glenn Beck's image and endorsement to peddle membership in its Take America Back election campaign, is also hosting a conference the same weekend.) Just how good are the deals? Well, check this out. (Bear in mind that the Beck event is on Saturday, Aug. 28, and the conference begins on Friday, Aug. 27.) Let's say you want to travel from Orlando, Florida, and you insist on single occupancy in your hotel. A package that includes the conference registration fee ($99 if purchased separately), transportation, two nights in a good Washington, D.C., hotel, two meals, and transportation back and forth to the Beck event will run you $450. (One of those meals is a dinner banquet staged in honor of the late President Ronald Reagan.) If you choose double occupancy in the hotel, you still get all that (plus a roommate) for $300. Why don't we progressives, you ask, get deals like this? Why are we always couch-surfing, carpooling and brown-bagging our meals to get to our events? Well, we don't have David Koch, the billionaire oil-and-gas-and-financial-derivatives magnate bankrolling our movement. Koch, you'll recall, chairs the board of the Americans For Prosperity Foundation. Now, back to Glenn Beck and Rupert Murdoch. Fox will likely tell you that Beck's event is a Beck, not a Fox, extravaganza. Sure, but what is the source of Beck's fame? Where does he promote his event? Fox News, of course. Do you really think he'd be doing that without Rupert's blessing? One more time: Glenn Beck is Rupert Murdoch's community organizer. Last year, at the Americans For Prosperity Foundation's RightOnline conference in Pittsburgh, I noticed that one-third of the speakers on the roster at the conference plenary were paid commentators or full-time employees of Murdoch's News Corp. So I asked AFPF President Tim Phillips if he had a partnership with Murdoch. He seemed a bit thrown by the question. "We have someone from Fox News?" he asked. "Well, Fox News Channel contributors," I replied. "OK. So, they're not on the payroll of Fox News. Do any of those guys get money from Fox News?" Actually two of the five News Corp.-affiliated speakers were paid contributors to Fox at the time (Michelle Malkin and Jim Pinkerton), while two (Stephen Moore and John Fund) were -- and still are -- full-time employees of the Wall Street Journal, which is also owned by News Corp. What Koch and Murdoch share in common is a brutally anti-regulatory agenda for big business, one that subjects the well-being of the everyday person to the whims of shareholders and CEOs. If what it takes to maintain the loyalty of Tea Party ground troops is a subsidized trip to D.C. to attend a fun-filled event designed as an act of race-baiting, well, then, that's a small price to pay to further the enactment of an agenda that could reap billions for the men who are advancing it.