Fox News As Advocacy Organization

by: Matt Stoller

Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 14:56


Yesterday I wrote about why Fox News is going after Jetblue, and I went onto the Thom Hartman Show to discuss it.  In the short term, it's just revenge for the cancellation of the Fox News Democratic Presidential debate.  In the long term, Fox News is trying to prevent alliances between the corporate sector and the progressive movement.  I think it's pretty clear, with this campaign, that Fox is not a news channel but a clear advocacy organization.  This changes the equation for Fox News's advertisers, and they should know that they are supporting Fox News's agenda.

And just what is that agenda?  As Robert Greenwald and the Sierra Club have shown, one piece of it is to deny global warming.  That's why they are asking newly environmentally friendly Home Depot to stop adverising on Fox News.

A grassroots coalition of environmental, religious, and activist groups launched a campaign today to expose the Fox News network's consistent pattern of spreading misinformation about global warming. As part of the campaign, the coalition is urging Home Depot -- a company that says it cares about the environment -- to stop advertising on Fox.

I wrote this last week.

The coalition is attacking Home Depot for trying to portray itself as ecofriendly while advertising on Fox News.  To provide some context, there's a lot of 'greenwashing' going on in corporate America, with companies contributing to global warming but making money by pretending not to.  This is bad, and there need to be campaigns to change the incentive model to lie about being green.  Any greenwashing going on is amplified by Home Depot's political work.  Home Depot gave 73% of its cash to Republicans in 2006, and 87% in 2004.  As a percentage, that's more money to the GOP than Walmart.

It gets worse.  Home Depot recently had a huge CEO pay scandal, paying poorly performing ex-CEO Bob Nardinelli $200M for running the country into the group (Nardinelli is a massive GOP donor).  The AFL-CIO has the most galling piece, from their blog.

Nardelli in particular received massive September 11 option grants, grants that were issued in the wake of the September 11 attacks when prices were at record lows.

Home Depot's board used 9/11 to rip off shareholders, and is now using the label of green to mask its political agenda.

There are a lot of companies that advertise on Fox News aside from Home Depot.  I don't like the argument that your sponsors are responsible for your content, but apparently Fox News does.  And as a newly minted official advocacy organization, I would hope that they are treated as one.  That means no press credentials not given to advocacy organizations, no membership in organizations designed solely for the press, and regulations that apply to advocacy organizations.

Right now, Home Depot has a target on its back.  The progressive movement has limited bandwidth, so it's not clear where the counterstrike is going to come from.  But it's going to come.

Matt Stoller :: Fox News As Advocacy Organization

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Counterstrike under way (0.00 / 0)
I agree with you about the idea that a counterstrike is coming. Look at all that's going on at once: the swipes from Fox News against Home Depot and JetBlue; Susan Collins lashing out today; Bush is threatening a veto of SCHIP funding (subsidized private health insurance for kids, fer crissakes) against the objections of even the most conservative elements from within his own party.  I'm sure you can think of others that I'm missing from the last 10 days alone.

It's plain that Bush and his surrogates are looking to fight their way back into relevance.  They don't care what the fights are about, the just want to be seen as fighting the Democrats.


Proofread your post (0.00 / 0)
"paying poorly performing ex-CEO Bob Nardinelli $200M for running the country into the group"????????????

His name is Nardelli, and I assume you meant he ran the company into the ground.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.


Now that they're an advocacy organization (0.00 / 0)
What should the FEC do about Fox News's electioneering services and the candidates who use them?

fox news (4.00 / 1)
excellent analysis matt. This issue of fox is going to be with us for a while.It is encouraging the coaltion building from move on to sierra club to color of change.More to come.But we all need to be aware how tough and serious this fight is. It will be critical to help educate people about fox before we get into the final stretch of 08.We know what they will do at that point and if we havent worked hard to take away their megaphone as a "news" source, we are screwed.

Global Warming (0.00 / 0)
The study found that global warming since 1985 has been caused neither by an increase in solar radiation nor by a decrease in the flux of galactic cosmic rays. Some researchers had also suggested that the latter might influence global warming because the rays trigger cloud formation. I am write a blog which gave complete information about Global Warming.

The Politics of Anger (0.00 / 0)
When does it end? When do we put aside the politics of anger?  When I hear people advocate using Moral Majority methods for our own really moral majority it gives me pause.  There just seems to be something inherently wrong. 

Michael Vick (0.00 / 0)
Home Depot has the biggest , fattest target on its back imagineable.  Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank was the co-founder of Home Depot (and ex-CEO before Nardelli).  Blank owes his fortune to the Depot and the stores make a handy target while the Falcons continue to make animal torturer Michael Vick the face of their franchise.  As Bobby Byrd said on the Senate floor, "barbaric."

Why the Depot wants to add to their PR misery at this time is beyond me.  They and Jet Blue are putting themselves in the shoes of Iron City Beer.  Iron City Beer was the local dominant brand around Pittsburgh until they ran ads featuring black Steelers.  No problem:  they pulled the ad and lost black customers like crazy.  Put it back and the white customers fled (and many black customers still did not return).  A few trips on the yo-yo machine and the brand was badly hurt.

Fox is taking a huge risk by targeting corporate sponsors.  This is the sort of hubris that normally leads to disaster.  Other than the NFL (which you can see elsewhere) and The Simpsons what does Fox have anyway?  24.  Who cares.


Thank you judge and jury (0.00 / 0)
Has Michael Vick been convicted already?

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