How has DDAD chosen its campaigns
to counter Fox “News”?
Here's a brief explanation of campaign options we’ve considered, background information on each, and which campaigns we think have the best prospects for success.
Can we support local news reporting?
YES! SEE RECOMMENDED LOCAL NEWS OUTLETS HERE. Experts across many fields endorse local news reporting as an essential bulwark against disinformation media. We can fight back against Fox by supporting high-quality local reporting.
Can we avoid paying Fox “News” $2/month by choosing one of the four Fox-News-free options?
YES! Years of appeals to cable providers to allow subscribers to avoid paying for Fox “News” have gotten very little in the way of results. See the FOX-NEWS-FREE TV CAMPAIGN for the options available that DDAD recommends you subscribe to if possible.
Can we pressure TV providers to offer more packages that allow subscribers to deselect Fox “News”?
YES! We have posted an OPEN LETTER FROM MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS TO TV PROVIDERS stating that COVID-19 disinformation has made it imperative that all TV providers offer a basic package that allows subscribers to deselect Fox “News.”
More power to Media Matters if UnFoxMyCableBox helps loosen the Fox “News” stranglehold on cable TV providers.
Can we discourage businesses from showing Fox “News”
on public TV screens?
YES! See our CHANGE THE CHANNEL CAMPAIGN! All of us can politely ask those in charge of TVs in hotel lobbies, airport lounges, etc. to “change the channel” to something non-political.
Can we build support for shareholder resolutions, based on the harmful impacts of Fox “News” disinformation?
YES! See our CORPORATE CHANGE PAGE FOR UPCOMING RESOLUTIONS. Getting even a small proportion of investors to approve a shareholders’ resolution at a corporation’s annual meeting is a notable achievement that can attract attention from management and the media.
Can we have productive conversations with our Fox “News”-loving family and friends who think facts are “fake news”?
YES! CHECK OUT THE TRAINING OFFERED BY OUR PARTNERS, HEAR YOURSELF THINK! We all have people with whom conversation about the news seems impossible because we no longer share the same reality. There are some techniques of questioning and listening that may help you make inroads. And new research indicates that they can be brought back to reality.
Can we sue, as Smartmatic and Dominion
Voting Systems have?
MAYBE. Fox “News” can be sued for slander if a statement made by an identified individual knowingly and recklessly was not substantially true. Hard as it is to accept, a lawsuit based on the harm produced by such things as labelling COVID-19 a hoax or vaccinations unsafe is considered unlikely to prevail.
GOOD TO KNOW. A lawsuit filed in state court claiming that Fox “News” disinformation on COVID-19 constitutes consumer fraud does have potential and DDAD is doing all we can to support development of a case.
Can we deprive Fox “News” of advertiser revenue by boycotting
or shaming advertisers?
HASN'T WORKED YET. Two-thirds of Fox “News” revenue comes from cable TV fees, not advertisers. However, boycotts and shaming have scared advertisers away from some of the evening shows that have the least connection to reality and have had reputational effects, all to the good. It’s not clear that there has been any real financial damage to Fox Corp., however. If advertisers simply move their ads to other Fox “News” programs and/or to other Fox Corp. affiliates (Fox Sports, for example), the ad revenue counts the same in the Fox Corp. bottom line. It would be great to get advertisers to stop advertising on Fox Corp. entirely!
Can we appeal to Congress to grant the FCC more authority to mandate consumer choice in TV packages?
Or lobby state legislatures to require choice?
DICEY. This is important, as cable fees provide two-thirds of Fox “News” revenue. Unfortunately, local cable franchising agencies don’t have the authority to regulate content and telecommunications companies that market internet, cable (and, sometimes, phone services) have no incentive to respond to consumer pressure to change TV packages. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) currently does not have the authority to mandate more consumer choice in cable packages, but could be granted that authority by Congress.
Maine passed legislation requiring cable providers to offer a la carte choice in channels and was promptly sued by Comcast. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to District Court to rule on issues related to infringement of the cable company’s freedom of speech if it could not bundle channel as it wished, and the Maine Attorney General recently dropped the lawsuit.
Can we demand that local governmental bodies that contract with telecommunications companies require “unbundling”?
NO. Local governmental bodies contract with one or more telecommunications companies for cable services, but have no authority to negotiate over channel bundling.
Can we bring back the Fairness Doctrine?
DEFINITE NON-STARTER IN THE NEAR-TERM. Even if the Fairness Doctrine could be reinstated to require more balance in opinions expressed in media, it would apply only to broadcast news, not cable news.