Monday, August 30, 2010

Fair and Balanced Boycotting

Matt Taibbi suggests that we boycott Fox News and their advertisers.

There’s nothing in the world more tired than a progressive blogger like me flipping out over the latest idiocies emanating from the Fox News crowd. But this summer’s media hate-fest is different than anything we’ve seen before. What we’re watching is a calculated campaign to demonize blacks, Mexicans, and gays and convince a plurality of economically-depressed white voters that they are under imminent legal and perhaps even physical attack by a conspiracy of leftist nonwhites. They’re telling these people that their government is illegitimate and criminal and unironically urging secession and revolution.


I’m beginning to wonder why effective boycotts against these hate-media channels, and particularly Fox, haven’t been organized yet. Why not just pick out one Fox advertiser at random and make an example out of it? How about Subaru and their unintentionally comic “Love” slogan? I actually like their cars, but what the f**k? How about Pep Boys and that annoying logo of theirs? Just to prove that it can be done, I’d like to see at least one firm get blown out of business as a consequence of financially supporting the network that is telling America that its black president wants to kill white babies. Isn’t that at least the first move here? It’s beginning to strike me that sitting by and doing nothing about this madness is not a terribly responsible way to behave.

I’m glad Mr. Taibbi said “effective boycotts.” I’ve never been convinced that just not buying something is a truly effective method of registering a complaint with a corporate entity. After all, it’s an attempt to prove a negative: how can they know you’re not shopping there if you’re not shopping there? Rather, I think the active approach as demonstrated against Target last month works. A shopper in Minnesota went to Target, bought a couple of hundred dollars worth of stuff, and then turned around and returned it all showed the company her displeasure at the corporation’s financial support of a right-wing anti-gay candidate. A debit/credit spreadsheet works better than a rant on a blog to these people.

That said, I fully endorse the idea of letting a company know that you’re displeased with their choice of advertising venues via a polite letter or e-mail. If you’re like me and you save your receipts, you can scan and attach copies of them to show how much money you’ve spent on their products but from now on will be going to their competitor. (I’ve used that approach and it works. Okay, it was a complaint about Diet Pepsi in cans being repackaged in lots of eight instead of twelve, but it worked, and I’m very sure I wasn’t the only one who complained. They now proudly display the twelve-pack under a sign that says “Because you asked for it!”) It’s also more effective to organize a campaign against a company if you don’t include political rants; the ad buyers look at ratings, not polls. Just state the facts: “You choose to advertise on Fox. That’s your choice and it’s a free country. I choose to buy a Ford instead of a Subaru, and I’m urging my friends who are looking for a new car to do the same.” It also works if you contact a company whose products you actually use. I’m not sure that Summer’s Eve would be all too worried about losing my business.

Frankly, I wouldn’t know what companies to boycott in the first place since I don’t watch Fox News; hell, I don’t even know where it is on the cable in my area. So I guess I’m already boycotting Fox News.

Via C&L.