Corporations Say Black Lives Matter — But Buy Commercial Space On Fox News
Can a corporation support both the Black Lives Matter movement and Fox News? The news and entertainment hosts on the network frequently deride the movement, mock protestors, and incriminate victims of police violence. However, many companies that pay for advertising on Fox News programs now say they support the current civil rights movement and justice reform.
How does Fox address black lives lost to systemic injustice? According to WGN, this past weekend it was with a graphic showing how these deaths affect the stock market. The network apologized, but for airing the image “without full context” — not for focusing on the wealthy getting wealthier at the cost of human life.
FOX NEWS CHANNEL:
“The infographic used on FOX News Channel’s Special Report to illustrate market reactions to historic periods of civil unrest should have never aired on television without full context.We apologize for the insensitivity of the image & take this issue seriously.”
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) June 6, 2020
For another example of the network’s reporting on Black Lives Matter, see Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s tweet, deriding the Black Lives Matter square as ‘patronizing.’
Liberals always patronize with symbols, always fail with polices: “D.C. Mayor Bowser orders 'Black Lives Matter' painted on 16th Street near White House” – The Washington Post https://t.co/0DBUkEaJIH
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) June 5, 2020
Now some consumers are calling for companies that really want to show their support for black lives and for justice for all to pull advertisement from the network.
.@usaa, as a large sponsor of Fox News, which has trafficked in racism for years and whose host Tucker Carlson just said companies that support #BlackLivesMattter are “craven, soulless corporations”, would you reconsider your support of this network? https://t.co/DXqEG041Cv https://t.co/ZoSAiKK9uF
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) June 7, 2020
Media Matters For America, tracking responses from advertisers on Fox, found a list of corporations that are outwardly claiming to want more justice, but still paying for advertising on the network that hosts so much derision for lives lost to state violence. These include Best Buy, Allstate, and others.
"We have the responsibility as a large corporation to do right in these times. We cannot commit to the brand purpose of moving the world forward unless we're committed to helping ensure we move forward for everyone." –@HansVestberghttps://t.co/fHH4TWe52g pic.twitter.com/9wGIjhwBgw
— Verizon (@Verizon) June 1, 2020
— Amazon (@amazon) May 31, 2020
However, the public pressure is on and making a difference. One company, Rakuten, a cash-back shopping app, has already pulled advertising. They did clarify that they pulled advertising from multiple news networks, to avoid using ‘social unrest’ as a promotional tool.
Rakuten stopped advertising on FoxNews on June 2nd.
— Rakuten (@Rakuten) June 6, 2020
It’s not the first time — or even the first time this year — advertisers have been criticized for financially supporting Fox and the messages it spreads. In March, Hollywood Reporter noted that staff at the network was worried about the impact of hosts’ denial of COVID-19 dangers, but that advertisers refused to take a stand. Petitions have circulated in the past asking advertisers to dump the network over misinformation or promotion of problematic norms — such as this one, asking corporations to drop their slots on Tucker Carlson’s show, after he called white supremacy a hoax.
The power of consumers over corporations, and in turn, the financial dependency of media on advertising dollars, has enabled the people to use their wallets and come together to force change. It remains to be seen whether companies that are currently shouting their support for equal justice will listen to consumers about this particular advertising buy.