Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Let's leave Fox News advertisers alone

I've raised this issue several times in the past, and it's time to raise it again.

I got an e-mail today from urging me to bring pressure on a certain Rockford company that buys commercial time on the local cable channel that carries Fox News. The e-mail message did not include the word "boycott," but let's not kid ourselves. The people behind this effort want to scare off advertisers with thinly veiled threats of a boycott. That was the case earlier this year when Daily Kos and certain other liberal blogs targeted Fox's advertisers.

I'm sorry, but this kind of thing is just plain wrong.

Let me be clear. I hate Fox News as much as the next guy. Its blatant bias and its Orwellian claims to fairness and balance are appalling. But I think there's something terribly illiberal in organizing an advertising boycott against any news outlet or purveyor of political opinions. If the threat of boycotts makes advertisers wary of being even remotely associated with controversial political opinions expressed on radio or television, the networks and local stations, in turn, will offer us only pablum.

If you choose not to buy a car from a dealer who runs ads on Fox News, that's your business. But it's wrong, I think, for anyone to mount a broad campaign or otherwise put pressure on that car dealer.

You'd think my so-called liberal friends would understand this. Some, I'm sad to say, don't.

I stood by during the controversy over the Gen. Petraeus ad, but I part company with these people in the matter of advertiser boycotts.

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