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Fox News assures advertisers that rabid trumpet Maria Bartiromo is ‘hard-hitting journalism’

Fox News has a message to potential advertisers: Relax, the “negative chatter” associated with sponsoring our toxic brand is quickly fading away. So please buy ads.

In a blurb, obtained and reviewed by The Daily Beast, the network pitched its ad space to potential sponsors by presenting internal data suggesting that negative coverage of Fox’s inflammatory right-wing commentary is not actually harming its advertisers. Additionally, the network touted the “hard-hitting journalism” of stars like Maria Bartiromo, a staunchly pro-Trump host who has long spurred groundless right-wing conspiracy theories.

In recent years, the conservative cable news giant has faced a barrage of calls to boycott advertisers from celebrities, politicians and liberal activists for a variety of bigoted comments and theories. of the dangerous plot peddled by big air figures like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham. In some cases, such as during Carlson’s prime time, the boycotts have been so persistent that only a handful of advertisers – including a pro-Trump pillow company – remain.

But behind the scenes, Fox told potential advertisers not to worry.

The companies were “only temporarily affected by the advertiser boycott,” the network wrote, alongside a graphic showing a brief increase in brand mentions for five of its advertisers in March 2019, when old tapes took off. surface of Carlson making racist and misogynistic comments about shocking Bubba’s shock. the Love Sponge radio show.

Three of the advertisers mentioned – Outback Steakhouse, Capital One, and AstraZeneca – all dropped out of the network as a result. Nonetheless, “conversation volume quickly returned to normal levels regardless of the response,” the network assured potential ad buyers.

The network also tried to reassure buyers by claiming that the “negative gossip” about Fox News advertisers was not as bad as the “real brand damage” Boeing suffered after 346 people died in two. accidents involving its new 737 MAX airliner; that United Airlines incurred when airport security dragged a bloody and unconscious doctor off his plane after refusing to give up his seat; or that the pizza chain Papa John’s received after its founder and former CEO John Schnatter used a racial slur on a corporate conference call.

And after all, the network contemptuously asserted to potential sponsors, “87% of all direct advertiser targeting came from shares and comments on tweets from just three different anti-Fox News activists,” the writer noted. liberal Judd Legum, social media activist group Sleeping Giants and Anonymous Resistance Twitter account @DesignationSix.

According to a source familiar with the presentation, the mid-year pitch deck has been distributed to potential advertisers in recent months.

Elsewhere in the presentation, Fox News highlighted its diverse roster of programs, particularly touting Bartiromo’s “hard-hitting journalism” alongside presenters such as Chris Wallace, Bret Baier, Dana Perino and Martha MacCallum. “Breaking Through With Quality Journalism,” the presentation sounded on another page featuring Bartiromo’s portrait.

Of particular concern is the network selling Bartiromo as a face of his journalism given the famed financial journalist’s multi-year descent into full Trump boosterism.

The Fox host has been a vocal election denial, leading the charge of the network’s right-wing pro-Trump voices peddling lies that the election was “stolen” from the president via widespread electoral fraud. In addition to providing a regular platform for Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and Trump legal adviser Sidney Powell to uncritically amplify their unsubstantiated allegations, Bartiromo has also repeatedly dipped his toes in those same conspiratorial waters. .

As she continued to book high profile guests from her vast rolodex of financial industry names, her gullible take on some of Trumpworld’s most deranged rigged election theories, namely that corrupt voting software has flipped millions of votes from Trump to President-elect. Joe Biden, ultimately resulted in legal threats to the network.

Fox News responded to legal threats from voting machine supplier Smartmatic by filming a segment in which an electoral systems expert debunked lies about the company. Bartiromo aired the segment on his Sunday morning show, followed by his own brief commentary: “So that’s where we are now. We will continue to investigate. “

Despite repeated controversies from the network and subsequent pressure on its advertisers, the limited amount of public data shows that Fox News has continued to carry advertising money. Fox News saw huge revenue gains in the second quarter, which the network partially attributed to its ad spend, according to a survey released by Pew last year.

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