Saturday, April 08, 2017

Big Boycott Is Watching You

Boycotts versus free speech:
Obviously, advertisers have every right to decide what sort of programs their spots air against. Before the scandal broke, Mercedes, BMW and others purchased time on O’Reilly’s show not because they agreed with his idiosyncratic right-wingish political views or approved of his bullying TV demeanor. They were, presumably, agnostic on those points. They advertised because they believed his viewers were likely to buy their products. Today, they’re changing that tune, fleeing the show because O’Reilly’s foes have convinced them that their advertisements signal approval of the man.

When we encourage corporate advertisers to police content and commentators, we end up making them the guardians and arbiters of journalism, always a bad choice….

Of course, nobody is policing O’Reilly’s content directly. Instead, they’re using the harassment accusations to implore advertisers to scuttle his show. Media Matters President Angelo Carusone has called for O’Reilly to be fired over the charges, but Carusone’s organization would want O’Reilly sacked if he were as chaste and pure as a Mother Superior. The charges just give them an opportunity to destroy O’Reilly by other means. Every strident television voice knows that his enemies will eventually appeal to his advertisers to silence him.
A kangaroo court of opinion is still a kangaroo court...

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