Fox News is a channel that has long been a mouthpiece for the Republican party. But the rhetoric on the so-called news channel is worse during the Trump administration. And advertisers need to be aware of how it looks to place ads on what Media Matters calls “a propaganda network for Donald Trump, using any amounts of racism, sexism, and bigotry necessary to push his message, whatever the cost.”
Media Matters urges Fox News advertisers to “talk to their media buyers, listen to their customers, and consider suspending their relationship with Fox News until the network makes meaningful changes to curb its propagandistic narratives that intentionally spread disinformation and incentivize violence.”
Angelo Carusone, Media Matters President mentioned in a recent blog post that he has “spoken pretty extensively [with] media buyers that place a lot of ads on Fox News.” What he found among them is that there is a “deep anxiety brewing” and they will “need to shift their clients' ads away from Fox News before a massive controversy forces them to after causing reputation damage.”
Politico notes that while Laura Ingraham’s ratings are high, big advertisers are “still steering clear of her show.” Activists led a boycott of Ingraham’s show earlier this year. While her show averaged almost 15 minutes of ads per hour earlier this year, in September it averaged only 10 minutes and 50 seconds of ads per hour. According to the Politico report, that is in line with Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson.
Brands buying more ads on Fox
There are a number of major brands that recently increased their advertising on Fox News. They include:
- IAC/Interactive (parent company of Match.com, Angie’sList and HomeAdvisors)
- Progressive Insurance
- Dine Brands (Applebee's & IHOP)
- Capital One
- Walt Disney Co.
- General Motors
- Procter & Gamble
While a MoveOn petition calls for a boycott on Fox News advertisers, those brands need to be aware that people from the media itself are calling for a boycott of Fox News advertisers. Edward Luce, Financial Times U.S. National Editor, called for a boycott in a tweet last month. Luce tweeted: “The most effective thing Americans can do is boycott companies that advertise on Fox. They bankroll the poison that goes from the studio into Trump’s head. The second is vote.” Max Boot, a conservative columnist and former Christian Science Monitor editor, said on CNN that investors need to “boycott Fox News until they pull back from the hate.”
The culture, the bottom line: Fox needs to reflect
Bill Kristol, a Fox News contributor for years, recently appeared on MSNBC denouncing anti-semitic comments made by a guest appearing on Lou Dobbs’ show. “Obviously no one wants a board of directors to be micromanaging,” he said, “(saying) you can’t say this on the 8 p.m. show, but are they comfortable with the overall effect that Fox News and Fox Business, and I say this as someone who was on Fox News for 10 years. Can they defend their effect on the culture?”
When high profile people like the editor of Financial Times call for a boycott or a Fox News contributor calls for the channel to examine itself, advertisers need to do some tall thinking. Do they want to be associated with Fox News? Do they want to wait to pull their ads until a guest or host say something that causes a big backlash? The time is clearly now for them to pull their ads from a channel that repeatedly associates itself with racism and prejudice.