For months before the 2020 election, Fox News stoked doubt and fear about the integrity of America’s election system. Now they are working overtime to fuel the next insurrection. The content on FoxNews.com points toward only one direction: more doubt, more fear, and more political violence in 2024.
If all this feels like a horror movie, a slow descent into an authoritarian hellscape… snap out of it. Fox News is not an unstoppable force. It’s a content machine that feeds off of advertising dollars. And just like any machine, it can be broken by throwing a wrench in it.
The wrench is in our hands: Fox News depends on the advertising industry, and the advertising industry? It’s built to serve you. When you don’t respond well to something, the advertising industry changes — because they listen to you.
We’re Check My Ads, the adtech watchdog. We launched in November with a promise to rip out the beating heart of the disinformation economy. In January, we started forcing the ad industry to cut ties with the biggest voices behind the January 6 insurrection. And now, we’re turning our attention to FoxNews.com, the online epicenter of The Big Lie.
Fox News is weaker than you think, and we know how to disrupt it. In today’s BRANDED, we’re introducing the next chapter of the Defund The Insurrectionists campaign and our plan to cut Fox News off from its digital advertising revenues. To succeed, we will need your help.
There will always be a place in this country for opinions across the political spectrum. But there is no place for lies dressed up as news within the advertising industry.
Fox News promotes rumors, outlandish claims, and conspiracy theories that have already led millions of Americans to believe they live in a country with an illegitimate electoral process.
As Chris Wallace, the long-time Fox anchor who walked out after 18 years at the company over its coverage of the insurrection says, it is unsustainable. We agree.
Fox News bolstered the Trump campaign’s claims of widespread voter fraud. They promoted a debunked conspiracy theory that a software program was being used to alter key votes in swing states.
They claimed Democrats were working to “nullify the votes of 71 million Americans.” Fox News aired segments asserting that thousands of dead people were voting as evidence that the results of the 2020 presidential election were invalid.
In fact, Fox News casted doubt and pushed conspiracy theories about election results nearly 600 times between election day 2020 and November 16, 2020.
To this day, there is no evidence to back up The Big Lie. In fact, Fox News has been slapped with a $1.6B lawsuit from Dominion Voting systems, the voting machine manufacturer that was the center of some of the wildest Big Lie conspiracy claims. The federal judge who allowed the suit to go forward wrote that it was “reasonably conceivable that Dominion has a claim for defamation.”
Then there’s the fallout across our country. In a December 2020 poll, only 18% of individuals who frequently watched Fox News believed that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.
Millions of Americans are walking around angry, pissed off, and ready to fight. That’s a problem because it’s seeding the conditions for more election-related violence in 2024. Fox’s constant stoking of rage is not just dangerous, it’s also a violation of the advertising industry’s supply policies.
Fox News is free to say whatever it wants, but there is a line.
That line has been set by the digital advertising industry, which universally agrees that some content should be prohibited from being served with ads. These standards exist for a reason: Advertisers don’t want their ads running on places that are inappropriate, unsafe or damaging for their brands.
When it comes to TV, advertisers choose the spots they want their ads to run. But online, it’s the opposite. Advertisers depend on ad exchanges to run their ads for them — and to ensure that unsafe websites aren’t approved into their networks.
What are ad exchanges? Ad exchanges are the tech companies that work quietly in the background serving billions of dollars worth of ads across the internet. Every ad you see on the web is money — and every ad you see on FoxNews.com was automatically placed by an ad exchange.
Once a website is approved into an exchange, they get automatic access to unlimited ad revenues. That’s why it’s so important that ad exchanges don’t admit them into their network to begin with.
There’s no ambiguity around what’s brand safe or unsafe. These brand safety standards are clearly outlined in a document that states which websites are prohibited (or banned) from their networks.
This document is usually called a Publisher (or Supply) Policy and is usually available online.
Advertisers trust ad exchanges to enforce these supply policies.
Fox News has already moved beyond TV. They’re pushing advertisers to Fox News Digital, completing a pipeline from TV to their online platform — which is infinitely more dangerous.
They’re funneling viewers towards their newest digital platform Fox Nation, where they’re incubating increasingly extreme content. This content includes Patriot Purge, the January 6 revisionist documentary by Tucker Carlson.
But they don't talk about any of that when they're pitching their network to advertisers.
That's because they know they're on thin ice — and the ad industry can pull their support in an instant. Fox News needs advertising dollars to pull off its latest online expansion. We can disrupt that plan.
We believe in two inalienable rights:
Here at Check My Ads, we already have the ball rolling. Ad exchanges have dropped Dan Bongino, Steve Bannon, Charlie Kirk, Tim Pool and Glenn Beck — all people who profited from telling The Big Lie — all thanks to emails sent out by people like you.
Now you can do it with us. Sign up below for our action emails today. You will get ad exchange executive names, email addresses, and pre-written templates that you can fire off in seconds.
You don’t have to wait for someone else to hold them accountable. You can do it yourself. All of us, together.
Let’s go. 🐾
Claire and Nandini
Did you like this issue? Then why not share! Please send tips, compliments and complaints to @nandoodles and @catthekin.
Check My Ads Institute is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.