Today, my very good friend Angelo Carusone, (a.k.a. @stopbeck), campaign director at Media Matters and currently working on the DropFox effort at Media Matters for America, announced that Orbitz, the travel agency powerhouse, and a significant Fox News sponsor, has agreed to review all of their advertising on Fox News, a clear signal that big changes may be coming soon.
Alternet broke the details of the story today, and Media Matters has a statement and some additional information on their DropFox site. While DropFox's first campaign against Orbitz was mocked by many Fox apologists, it's presence all over the Internet in the past few weeks was startling to Orbitz, as well as many long-time watchers of progressive activism efforts on the Internet.
This Orbitz review is just the first very big win in a long effort to hold Fox News accountable for the brazen and reckless political operation which they have been conducting, often over airwaves licensed to them by the taxpayers. Carusone's @stopbeck effort had already succeeded in starving Glenn Beck of advertisers after a protracted, two year battle which Beck often openly mocked, both on the is radio show, and on Twitter. But that guerilla effort, conducted mostly by Carusone alone, with only the help of Twitter and other social media, finally forced Fox News to drop Beck from their lineup earlier his year.
While you may think this DropFox effort seems like a run-of-the mill petition campaign, it has been anything but that by a wide margin. With Media Matters and its many allies, and the brilliant tactics of Carusone and the DropFox team, it seems to be organizing a coalition of diverse interest groups and constituencies – all with a common distaste for what Fox News has been doing to their individual interests as well as our society. It appears that together, and without much fanfare, they have launched a coherent, coordinated and well-implemented pressure coalition that actually works. And one that might be a prototype for many more like it.
Perhaps the most unique thing about the effort is that it is not designed to embarrass or punish advertisers into not advertising on Fox. Rather, it seeks to educate them about how much it is hurting their brand in and among the many consumer communities (LGBT, environmentalists, Latinos, etc.). It's the ultimate expression of free market principles. There are many places to advertise. Why do it where it hurts the brand that a company works so hard to build and protect?
Clearly the strategy is starting to prove itself. And with a few more outcomes's like this, it will soon demonstrate that Progressives have more power than many have thought when it comes to influencing the corporate forces which have so dominated our public discourse and politics for years. Stay tuned…