Media Matters Launches Campaign Urging Advertiser Boycott of Fox News Channel
Glenn Beck, it turns out, was just a warm-up for Media Matters. This week, the progressive watchdog group launched a campaign targeting all companies that advertise on Beck's TV home, the Fox News Channel.
Headquarters for the campaign is a website called DropFox.com that was unveiled Monday. Front and center at the site is the group's first targeted advertiser: Orbitz Worldwide.
Next to the Orbitz logo on Wednesday was a photo of Beck above the tagline, "Buyer Beware: Why Advertisers Should Still Be Wary of Financially Supporting Fox News."
Click Beck's photo and it takes you to charts and data designed to show that a boycott of his TV show organized by Media Matters led to advertisers fleeing and Fox News ditching him, despite high ratings.
Orbitz is a target at DropFox because the online travel company has embraced lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders, a community Media Matters says Fox News maligns.
Clicking the Orbitz logo takes visitors to a letter addressed to CEO Barney Harford that asks him to yank Orbitz ads from Fox News based in part on things hosts Bill O'Reilly and Mike Huckabee have allegedly said.
O'Reilly, according to the letter, has compared same-sex nuptials to people marrying turtles, ducks or dolphins, while Huckabee compared homosexuality to pedophilia and necrophilia.
The letter ends: "It is our sincere hope that you will rethink your decision to support (Fox News) financially through ad revenue."
Fox News didn't respond to requests for comment. Beck, though, on his Wednesday radio show belittled claims that large numbers of advertisers have abandoned him, noting that the Forbes Celebrity 100 list released Wednesday ranks him higher this year than it did last year.
Blasting Fox News is nothing new for Media Matters, though insiders say the DropFox website and campaign is its most organized attempt to dictate what should be acceptable content at the leading cable news channel. Media Matters has coordinated "a wide range of interest groups" to assist.
"The goal of DropFox is to show Fox News that these behaviors are bad for business and that their bottom line would be better served if they resolved to become a responsible news organization," reads the effort's mission statement.
A spokesperson for Media Matters wouldn't clarify why it chose Orbitz as its first order of business but confirmed it will be the first of many businesses targeted.
"We're specifically targeting Fox advertisers starting with Orbitz," the spokesperson said.
Orbitz, though, shows no signs it will dump Fox News.
"Media Matters is a political grass-roots business trying to score headlines; they're completely off base," a spokesman told THR.