The National Press Club issued a scathing rebuke late Thursday of the Nexstar Media Group, the parent company of the CW Network, over a TV deal the company agreed to this week with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league.
In a statement lambasting the television rights deal — LIV Golf’s first — as a “shameful PR stunt,” National Press Club President Jen Judson said her group is “disappointed that a company that makes money from news like Nexstar would agree to participate” in broadcasting the league’s tournaments.
LIV Golf, Judson argued, is “fundamentally designed to rehabilitate the Saudi reputation, tarnished irreparably by the state-ordered gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018.”
“We are left to wonder what if anything Nexstar stands for,” she said. “You cannot have a brand in news and act this way. Saudi Arabia murdered a Washington Post journalist and cut him up with a bone saw.”
The multiyear agreement between the CW and LIV Golf was announced Thursday and will begin with the 2023 LIV Golf season, with the CW Network airing 14 global LIV Golf live events this year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Nexstar, which owns and operates dozens of local television stations across the country as well as the upstart cable channel NewsNation, acquired a 70 percent ownership stake in the CW Network in October. Nexstar purchased The Hill in August of 2021.
A representative for Nexstar did not respond to The Hill’s request for comment.
Since launching last year, LIV Golf has come under heavy scrutiny for its financial ties to Saudi Arabia.
The Saudis, the press club asserted, are working to “use golf to get Americans to forget about murder.”
“We call on Nexstar employees — many of whom are journalists — to demand management explain why they have partnered with the murderers of a journalist,” the statement from Judson read. “We urge Nexstar to do the right thing and cancel their bloody golf show. And if they don’t drop the program here is what we can do: don’t watch it; and write each sponsor asking them not to sponsor.”