Petition Calls On Democrats To Stay Off Fox

What took so damn long? has just announced a petition drive to persuade Democrats to Stay Off Fox.

This could be a turning point in the campaign to isolate Fox News and to re-brand them as a partisan purveyor of propaganda. As my regular readers may know, I have been calling for all Democrats and progressives to stay the HELL off of Fox News for more than two years. I launched my Starve the Beast campaign in August of 2007, by saying:

“The problem with Fox News is not that it’s a right-wing platform for war, intolerance, and greed; it isn’t that it’s spreading propaganda in support of an out-of-control White House that is hoarding unprecedented levels of power; it isn’t that they engage in relentless and unfounded attacks on Democrats, progressives, and the rest of the 72% of Americans that Fox portrays as unpatriotic because they disapprove of Mr. Bush and his war; it isn’t even that it sits at the center of a politically charged media empire run by Rupert Murdoch, a monopolistic ideologue with no allegiance to country or the common good.”

The problem with Fox News is that people grant them far more credit and influence than they deserve. They are a niche player in the cable news universe. Their highest rated program (The O’Reilly Factor) has fewer viewers than the lowest rated broadcast news program (CBS/Couric). They reach an audience of about 3 million, which is less than 1% of the population. In Starve the Beast, and its two follow ups, I painstakingly made the case that Democrats can and should avoid Fox News. There is almost nothing to be gained by patronizing them.

Now has come aboard:

President Obama is fighting back against FOX. The White House communications director said FOX is a “wing of the Republican Party…let’s not pretend they’re a news network.”

To draw attention to its biased coverage, President Obama will not appear on FOX for the rest of this year. Can you sign this petition asking Democrats to support President Obama’s stance by staying off FOX as long as he does?

A compiled petition with your individual comment will be presented to Democratic senators and representatives.

MoveOn’s petition drive was inspired by the recent courageous comments by White House communications director, Anita Dunn, who said that Fox is “the communications arm of the Republican Party.” That simple and obvious observation has sparked a dialogue that, in the end, will reinforce the public perception that Fox is merely masquerading as a news enterprise. For her trouble, Dunn has been smeared by Fox presenters, particularly Glenn Beck, who has falsely asserted that she worships Mao Zedong. That is especially ironic considering that Beck himself was caught on video confessing his idolization of Adolf Hitler (Call me, Glenn. Tell that I’m wrong).

My original Starve the Beast column ended with a plea to my political compatriots that still reflects the urgency of embargoing Fox News and treating them as the partisan prevaricators that they are:

“Please stop hurting our cause by appearing on Fox News. Rupert Murdoch and his media megaphone is openly hostile to our agenda and our representatives. They will only use your appearance to distort your message and derail our mission. Studies have proven that their audience is unreceptive, and even antagonistic, to us. Your appearance will be rewarded more with ridicule than respect.”

Many thanks to MoveOn for coming aboard and giving this movement a much needed boost.


5 thoughts on “ Petition Calls On Democrats To Stay Off Fox

  1. I just signed the petition, including in the “personal message” that the “rest of the year” stipulation is too arbitrary (and certainly too short). I’d much prefer the boycott to be indefinite.

    • I thought of you when I saw this. I was gonna email you, but you saw it first. Kind of an amazing coincidence that this should come up so soon after you suggested it.

      I agree that it should be broader in both duration and targets. I think it should apply to any Democrat or progressive, even those not in office. And journalists too.

      But this is still pretty great just because of the scale of MoveOn. They have millions of people on their email lists. They can expose this to a far bigger chunk of the population than I ever could.

      • And I thought of you when I got the MoveOn petition email today. Not that I don’t enjoy taking credit when deserved, it was a rather obvious response to the situation. So I was pleased to learn a hugely read enterprise took the initiative. Maybe as the year ends MoveOn can be persuaded to expand the reach and the duration.

  2. America need to move forward – one group continually stands in the way. It’s time for MoveOn to Move Over! The group turned 11 this year, and has repeatedly been the source the drives American politics into the gutter. Stop embarrassing our nation, and move on.

    • Wow, MoveOn is 11 years old. Time to dispense with it?

      OK. Fox News is 13 years old. So it must be time to dispense with that too. Fox has repeatedly been the source the drives American politics into the gutter. Stop embarrassing our nation.

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