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It’s not often that an article in Golfweek sets the tone for the actual week, but on Saturday the premier journal of hitting small balls with sticks noted continuing problems for the nascent LIV Golf tour. The schedule of tournaments isn’t full. The roster of big name players that LIV needs to make itself seem a legit competitor to the 93-year-old PGA Tour have failed to materialize. The team-based structure of LIV has failed to create the kind of rivalries that the creators suggested would help raise interest in the new offering.
However, all those concerns could turn out to be minor. That’s because a court case in California, where LIV has filed an antitrust suit against the PGA, has gone in a direction that LIV definitely, definitely did not want. While fighting back against this suit, the PGA has sought to compel discovery about the real sources behind the fund picking up the ticket on LIV’s considerable expenses. As it happens, a slip of the tongue from a LIV attorney during the trial revealed that the fund owns 93% of LIV Golf and covers all of its expenses.
The chairman and controlling officer of that fund is Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Its bin Salman paying all the bills and taking all the risks for LIV Golf. But who is making a profit?
[LIV Golf] has paid Trump-owned golf resorts unknown millions of dollars to hold its events there, and former President Trump has publicly championed the new league, made prominent appearances at its events, and urged PGA players to sign on with LIV Golf.
Exactly how many millions is bin Salman funneling to Donald Trump through LIV? We don’t know.
That LIV Golf was at least partially owned by Saudi sources was never a secret and has been a concern since the tour began. However, as a private company, its internal ownership and funding was obscured until the unfolding court case opened up the details of just how little involvement there is from anyone else. It’s not just that bin Salman owns 93% of the tour on paper. He’s picking up 100 percent of the bill.
In response to the effort to compel discovery on LIV’s finances, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) insisted that it could not be forced to reveal anything. They don’t have to talk, because they are an “organ of the Saudi state” and protected by “foreign sovereign immunity.”
That doesn’t exactly make things better.
According to Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now, “The revelation that a fund controlled by Crown Prince MBS actually 100 percent funds LIV Golf means that MBS has been paying Donald Trump unknown millions for the past two years, via their mutual corporate covers.” She also stresses that this has implications that go way beyond golf and beyond Trump fattening his wallet. “The national security implications of payments from a grotesquely abusive foreign dictator to a president of the United States who provided extraordinary favors to him are as dangerous as they are shocking," said Whitson.
In 2018, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner paid a visit to bin Salman at a time when he was seeking $1.8 billion to bail his company out of a devastatingly bad real estate investment. At the time, there was great suspicion that Kushner, who later received his rescue in the form of a secret bailout, may have been selling bin Salman national security secrets, including the names of U.S. sources and dissidents in Saudi Arabia.
Also in 2018, bin Salman had Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi lured into a Saudi embassy, bound, tortured, dissected, killed, and burned. In that order. Later reports showed that, while he would not admit it, Trump was aware of bin Salman’s role in the journalist’s horrific death.
In 2022, the classified documents found in Trump’s private office in Mar-a-Lago reportedly included nuclear secrets from a foreign nation. Many reports have indicated that this information related to the Iranian nuclear program — information that would certainly be of direct interest to bin Salman.
Still, Donald Trump is being paid millions by Mohammed bin Salman. How many millions? We don’t know. What did bin Salman get from Trump in return? We don’t know.
But we shouldn’t be getting revelations from Golfweek.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.
Fox News has almost completely neglected to cover breaking news developments in a series of shootings that targeted the homes of multiple Democratic officials in New Mexico, neglecting a story that would potentially call further attention to the network’s own promotion of conspiracy theories about voter fraud.
On Monday, an Albuquerque SWAT team arrested Solomon Pena, naming him as the suspected “mastermind” behind a series of drive-by shootings at the homes of four local Democratic elected officials, including two county commissioners as well as the incoming speaker of the state House. Nobody was injured in the shootings, but in one instance bullets went through the bedroom of a 10-year-old girl while she was asleep.
A crucial aspect of this story is the suspect’s alleged motive, reported by the Albuquerque Journal: Pena ran as the Republican nominee for a state legislative seat last November, losing with just 26 percent of the vote, and since then has made conspiratorial claims that the election was stolen. “Once the rigging is stopped, I will be sworn in as the State Rep for district 14,” Pena wrote in one Twitter post. He also was in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021, when then-President Donald Trump gathered his supporters in an attempted insurrection to overthrow the results of the 2020 election, and has since repeatedly voiced his support for Trump’s false claims about elections being stolen by Democrats.
CNN has covered the story for a total of one hour and 35 minutes over the past two days, MSNBC has covered it for a total of two hours and 20 minutes, including interviews on both networks with one of the officials whose home was shot, and who described Pena’s earlier visit to her home to complain that the election had been fraudulent. In an astonishing contrast, Fox News has covered it for a grand total of less than one minute.
Pena’s false claims of election fraud align with past messaging from Fox News personalities, from defending the January 6 insurrectionists to telling viewers not to trust the results of the 2022 midterm elections before and after Election Day.
The first mention of this story on Fox News was not even intentional: The network was carrying a live feed of White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s briefing with reporters, when a journalist asked a question.
Fox first purposefully included the story during a headline update on Special Report, lasting less than 30 seconds. The story received another 20 seconds of coverage on Fox News @ Night, as part of a collection of stories headlined under Fox’s misleading category “America’s Crime Crisis.” Fox mentioned in both instances that Pena had lost his campaign for the state legislature, but the network did not mention his false claims that the election was stolen, the fact that he had previously visited a county commissioner’s home to complain about the results, or his presence in Washington on the day of the January 6 insurrection.
Fox News could never admit a connection between those conspiracy theories and a rash of terrorist acts, as doing so would call into question the network’s own recent coverage. Last November, for example, prime-time host Tucker Carlson questioned the election results in Arizona, where a number of statewide Republican candidates lost their races, and declared ominously that “Americans lose their faith in their democratic system and when they lose that faith, they tend to become radical and over time, they can become dangerous.” In addition, the network’s coverage last August of the FBI search for stolen documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate was clearly aimed at whipping up its viewers into further rage.
Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC for any of the terms “shot,” “gun violence,” “death,” or “attack” or any variation of any of the terms “shoot,” “wound,” “kill,” “injure,” “gunfire,” or “terror” within close proximity of any of the terms “Solomon,” “Pena,” “Peña,” “New Mexico,” or “Albuquerque” from January 16, 2023, when authorities arrested Pena, through 12 p.m. ET on January 18, 2023.
We included segments, which we defined as instances when the shootings allegedly directed by Solomon Pena were the stated topic of discussion or when we found significant discussion of the shootings. We defined significant discussion as instances when two or more speakers in a multitopic segment discussed the shootings with one another.
We also included passing mentions, which we defined as instances when a single speaker in a segment on another topic mentioned the shootings without another speaker engaging with the comment, and teasers, which we defined as instances when the anchor or host promoted a segment about the shootings scheduled to air later in the broadcast.
We rounded all times to the nearest minute.
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.
- Gunfire Hit Homes Of Five New Mexico Democratic Officials Since December ›
- GOP Candidate Who Cried Voter Fraud Is Arrested In New Mexico Shootings Case ›