A number of Tea Party activists are turning their back on Fox News, claiming the news network is becoming too liberal. According to The Daily Beast, disgruntled conservatives are boycotting the right-leaning news network, their second such action.
“Particularly after the election, Fox keeps turning to the left,” said 70-year-old Stan Hjerlied to the Beast. After the network dropped its obsessive focus on the raid on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes gave an interview in which he said the Republican Party needs to retool its message on immigration, Hjerlied believes that “we are really losing our only conservative network.”
The current boycott was in its third day Saturday, the second such action by the Tea Party this month. Organizers claim that by tuning out, they were able to cost the network 20 percent of its audience in the previous boycott, a claim the Daily Beast dismissed.
According to the Beast’s David Freedlander, “A Daily Beast analysis of the same data showed that the boycott had little effect.”
Nonetheless, the boycotters, led by Kathy Amidon of Nashville, TN, insist that they are having an effect on Fox’s coverage.
“We have seen FOX suddenly get very loud about Benghazi after the 1st boycott, but conservatives are conservative because they are not stupid,” reads the boycott website, Benghazi-Truth. “We recognize, easily, loud noise which is low on substance. In other words, by whining loudly about Benghazi without the kind of hard-hitting investigative reporting that brought down Nixon over Watergate, what we are seeing from FOX IMO is smoke and mirrors; a trick, to fool us into dutifully genuflecting at their alter [sic] of their arrogant hosts who throw us crumbs with one hand while insulting us with the other. If we want FOX to get serious, we’re going to have to keep hitting them hard. And that is just exactly what we’re going to do.”
One boycotter, former New Hampshire state legislator Kevin Avard, said that he finds it difficult to go without his daily dose of right-wing commentary. “I am having withdrawal. I do like Fox News. I have been going to CNN, and to Headline News just to get some kind of fix. I usually probably only watch them once or twice a year.”
Hjerlied, on the other hand, is staying within familiar ideological waters during the 4-day boycott, which began Thursday and ends on Sunday morning.
“If I want news, I go to Breitbart News and Drudge and I can find all the news I need, very quickly,” he said, noting that since the first boycott, he has all but “kicked” the Fox News “habit” for good. “I used to have it on all day long, and I probably watched maybe six hours last week,” he said. “The more I looked at it, I have come to the conclusion that Fox is not as fair and balanced as I thought. They shade the truth also.”
Boycotters have listed their agenda, that Fox become “the right-wing CBS News: to break stories, to break information, and to do what news organizations have always done with such stories: break politicians.” They have also demanded that the network feature ”at least one segment on Benghazi every night on two of its prime-time shows; that Fox similarly devote investigative resources to discovering the truth of Obama’s birth certificate; and that the network cease striving to be ‘fair and balanced.’”
“We need Fox to turn right,” Hjerlied said. “We think this is a coverup and Fox is aiding and abetting it. This is the way Hitler started taking over Germany, by managing and manipulating the news media.”
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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