After Fox News agreed to pay Dominion Voting Systems $787 billion in a negotiated settlement of the landmark defamation lawsuit, Fox had no obligation under the agreement to admit wrongdoing or apologize to their viewers that they’d lied to. Over many decades, Fox has disseminated disinformation on a range of political and social issues stoking racism, hate and fear. But Rupert Murdoch’s network’s amplification of Trump’s Big Lie, falsely claiming that the 2020 presidential election was rigged and stolen from him, were in large part responsible for the violence and deaths that occurred during the Jan. 6 Trump-incited insurrection and coup attempt to overthrow U.S. democracy.
Dominion will be proceeding with additional lawsuits against Trump associates Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne and My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, as well as News Max and One America News Network (OANN). Fox, and many of the other Dominion targets continue to face a parallel $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit filed by the Smartmatic voting technology company, alleging that Fox lies decimated its business.
As Fox continues to spew its toxic rhetoric MoveOn.org, the national grassroots progressive political organization has launched their new Stop Funding Fox campaign, targeting the network’s corporate advertisers as they negotiate new contracts for the coming year. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Rahna Epting, executive director of MoveOn.org, who discusses the campaign that’s now organizing protests against Fox advertisers that includes AT&T, General Motors and the Subway restaurant chain.
RAHNA EPTING: The recent settlement of that lawsuit with Dominion changes nothing about the endless stream of dangerous lies that saturates Fox News airwaves. And I’m thankful for this suit that Dominion won because the truth came out. I mean, something all of us listening here tonight, we’ve known for a very long time that Fox News is not a legitimate news outlet and has been peddling QAnon conspiracy theories, anti-vaccine rhetoric, hatred, etc. for a decade.
But what we saw come out in this lawsuit just proved our point. Proved the point we’ve been saying for so long. And now there should be no question.
Although this lawsuit’s settled, Smartmatic has a lawsuit pending as well and I’m sure there’ll be others down the road. But a really important point here is that Fox News is at its weakest it’s been in, in my recent memory. They’re really taking a lot of criticism. They’ve outed themselves. And this is the time for us to all really take action and go straight for the incentives, whatever the incentives that are propping up this dangerous “news site” that is hurting all of us and it’s hurting society.
So Fox News lies are fueled by the financial support of corporate advertisers like General Motors, AT&T and Subway. Every dollar these guys spend and they give to Fox is funding this dangerous rhetoric and conspiracy theories.
But talk about corporate funders. The thing that really gets my goat is that our own personal dollars that are going for us to pay for cable — that is going to fund Fox News as well. So basically, if you pay for cable, you’re probably forced to pay about $20 directly to Fox News every year, even if you boycott the channel.
And that’s because there’s a fixed amount per subscriber that comes along with your cable payment and these companies pass that charge on to you. So there are really two focuses on this campaign. One is calling your cable company demanding that they un-Fox your box. They take Fox off your cable subscription and you refuse to pay to fund Fox. And then Number Two is applying pressure on these corporate targets: Subway, General Motors, AT&T and more to tell them to stop funding FOX, stop funneling corporate ad dollars to this dangerous propaganda network.
So we’re turning up the heat. We’ve got some actions planned. And we hope that there will be tons of coverage on this. But we’ve got members organizing as we speak, several actions outside of these headquarters next week.
SCOTT HARRIS: So this is a critical time as you said in one of the press releases, because new contracts are being negotiated. And as I understand it, Fox is less dependent on advertisers than are many other cable channels because they get most of their revenue from these very high fees that they get from the cable providers, right?
RAHNA EPTING: That is correct. It’s like welfare for Fox News. So our dollars paying for our cable are going directly to fund Fox News even if we don’t watch the news site ourselves. People can go to MoveOn.org/Fox. We’ve got ways for you to take action on both accounts.
But definitely there’s the easy way if you go to MoveOn.org/Fox, we’ll help you give guidance on how to reach out to your cable provider and demand that they take Fox off your subscription so that we are no longer subsidizing this hate speech.
SCOTT HARRIS: Rahna, what’s the role of consumer boycotts against these companies that continue to advertise on Fox and directly fund their toxic propaganda?
RAHNA EPTING: Look, sometimes boycotts can be really hard, but boycotts work with Fox News. It’s worked. It worked back in the days when we had Glenn Beck. We were able to get a lot of their advertisers off the air. And you’re even seeing now that Tucker is off the air, you’re seeing advertisers come back to that 8 p.m. timeslot. You can see that advertisers — their bottom line is the dollar. And if it is not in their best interest to be advertising on Fox News because that’s bad for their dollar, then they’re going to make different decisions.
So corporate boycotts, especially when it comes to Fox News, we’ve seen work and that’s why we’re doing it. We don’t tend to do these types of boycotts a lot in our campaigning, but we’ve seen it work with Fox News.
It can work and if enough people take action, we can pull these these corporate funders down and off of the network.
Listen to Scott Harris’ in-depth interview with Rahna Epting (17:22) and see more articles and opinion pieces in the Related Links section of this page.
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