Media Matters Launches “Know What You’re Sponsoring” Ad Campaign Targeting Buyers At Upfronts

Media Matters has a simple message for businesses looking to advertise on Fox News: Beware.

This week in New York, Fox Broadcasting Co., the parent company of Fox News, is pulling out all the stops to get media buyers -- the agents who represent the big-name businesses that do TV advertising -- to sign new yearlong contracts with its networks. During this annual ritual, called the Upfronts, Fox woos ad buyers with new and returning TV lineups, on-air talent, and swanky presentations and parties.

Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Upfronts presentation was on May 15 -- and, for the first time in years, it didn’t mention Fox News. Instead, the two-hour presentation promoted sports and entertainment programs, sweeping the news division’s toxic brand under the rug. Don’t be fooled, though: Fox News is as risky as ever.

That’s why Media Matters is running a paid ad campaign to make sure that ad buyers know what their clients are sponsoring if they spend their ad dollars with Fox:


Fox News’ two decades of peddling bigotry, misogyny, and extremism are finally coming home to roost. After former president and CEO Roger Ailes was forced out last year, Fox News parted ways with Bill O’Reilly and co-president Bill Shine last month after their central roles inside the network’s workplace culture of sexual harassment and racial discrimination were put in the spotlight and advertisers started to flee.

At Media Matters, we know Fox News. We’ve spent more than 10 years watching the network profit from a dangerous mix of hate, lies, and propaganda. Ad buyers may think that because Fox dropped O'Reilly and some of the old guard executives who enabled him, it’s safe to get back in the water there. But we know that the network’s new prime-time lineup -- featuring the likes of Sean Hannity, Eric Bolling, and darling of the “alt-right” Tucker Carlson -- is just as bad. They’re committed to the same “culture war” racism and misogyny that made Fox culture toxic in the first place -- and as a federal investigation into shady practices at Fox ramps up, there are no indications yet that this network is any less risky for advertisers than it was before.

The bottom line is this: When companies knowingly advertise alongside hate, they incentivize and enable more hate, and they put their reputations on the line. Like our ads say, “It’s one crisis after another with Fox. Don’t forget: Hate, misogyny, and racism are bad for business.” Advertisers beware.

Images in ads by Sarah Wasko