The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
on entertainment and media

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Fox News advertiser asked to dump channel over gay 'slurs'

May 16, 2011 |  8:15 am

GlennBeck Political activists who led an advertiser boycott credited with helping to cut short commentator Glenn Beck's tenure on Fox News are ready to announce a new campaign to wrench advertisers away from Fox.

Media Matters for America and three gay activist groups will on Monday ask online travel promoter Orbitz to drop its ads on Fox, citing repeated slams on the cable outlet against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered individuals and against the issues important to them.

Media Matters' DropFox campaign joined GLAAD, the Courage Campaign and Equality Matters in a letter calling on Orbitz International Chief Executive Barney Harford to reconsider his company's use of Fox as an advertising platform.

The groups noted that Orbitz has been successful in providing travel services to the LGBT community. The activists called out various Fox personalities and guests for "misinformation, smears and flat-out lies" toward gays and lesbians and asked the company not to support the news outlet with its ad dollars.

The campaign cites a long list of complaints against Fox programs — such as Bill O'Reilly arguing that allowing gays to marry could open the door to polygamy, or host and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee suggesting that gay marriage was as wrong as allowing "every behavioral pattern that is against the ideal," including drug use and incest.

Media Matters released research showing that a previous campaign against Beck led to a marked decrease in advertiser support. When the boycott began, Beck brought in well over 500 spots per month, a number that declined to as low as 300 spots a month before rebounding to about 400. Among those not advertising with the show were big corporate accounts such as Allstate and Anheuser-Busch.

The information suggests that "available paid ads never recovered as a result of advertiser boycotts” against Beck's show, said Angelo Carusone, campaign director for Media Matters.

The liberal watchdog group said it plans to continue indefintely with the campaign targeting Fox via its advertisers.

— James Rainey

Twitter: latimesrainey

Photo: Fox News host Glenn Beck will end his show later this year. Activist groups claim some of the credit after a campaign that succeeded in getting many advertisers to pull their ads off Beck's show because of his inflammatory presentations. Credit:  Justin Lane / EPA.