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Jeff Norman Headshot

The Feelgood Boycott of Fox News

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Has war on Fox News really been declared? If so, who are the warriors, and what is their strategy henceforth?

First we had MoveOn and Robert Greenwald, as a response to the supposedly intolerable bias of Fox News, call for a boycott, not of the network's most decadent shows, but of the one program - a debate featuring Democratic presidential candidates - that was emerging as a cut above the rest. Now we have Harry Reid, on behalf of the Democratic Party, making the boycott official, not for MoveOn's reason, but because of a joke (in which President Bush is the butt) Roger Ailes told that Reid claims somehow makes it impossible for the Dems to partner with Fox News. I haven't seen logic like this since the Anybody But Bush "strategy" the Democrats relied on in 2004, and Not One Damn Dime Day, a profoundly misguided protest that was aimed at pretty much everybody on January 20, 2005. The call then was to boycott providers of all goods and services on Bush's Inauguration Day. I remember telling one of the organizers that causing - or intending to cause - economic harm to innocent parties, is not an effective or noble way to win over the public. This guy insisted it was good practice for future boycotts that would attack only culprits who deserve it.

Of course, when the Not One Damn Dime crowd subsequently organized anti-war and pro-immigrant boycotts, innocents were again targeted, so the Fox News boycott indicates a little progress, because here at least a villain has been identified. But the boycotters still need to figure out how to zero in on Fox's truly egregious sins, instead of sabotaging a meritorious effort such as the debate (which was designed to expose the Democrats to an audience of potentially new supporters, and is now a squandered opportunity). In the meanwhile, as Rosa Parks turns over in her grave, I'm sure proponents of the Fox News boycott feel good about themselves. Isn't that what it's all about?