Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks revealed an interesting fact: Saudi citizens apparently like their Fox News programming. Some FNC shows air on Rotana, the channel owned by Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal (pictured right) and Rupert Murdoch‘s News Corp. The cables also called the ABC and CBS evening newscasts “agents of influence.”
According to the cable, two Saudi media executives tell a U.S. official (while at a Starbucks in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah) that MBC, which broadcasts “Housewives,” “Letterman” and “Friends,” and Rotana, a part-Rupert Murdoch-owned channel that airs Fox News programming, are very popular and have citizens of Saudi Arabia more interested in studying and learning about the United States.
While it’s not earth-shattering to hear that Saudis like Jennifer Aniston, Eva Longoria and David Letterman, it’s something of a surprise that they enjoy watching Fox News programming. American critics of Fox News have accused it of pushing a right-wing, anti-Islam agenda.
Al Waleed is the largest shareholder of News Corp. outside of the Murdoch family, and in turn Murdoch has invested millions of dollars in many of his media properties in the the Middle East.
Back in October Al Waleed was in the news following a “Fox & Friends” segment that painted him as a supporter of terrorists, and a “Daily Show” segment that followed.