I am disappointed that here on agnostic.com / humanist.com, and elsewhere on the net, I have not been able to find more traction for shareholder action against fox (along with iheartmedia, Liberty and perhaps sinclair or perhaps others) for their disgusting platforming of harmful toxic vaccine disinformation campaigns and election-was-stolen disinformation campaigns.
Fox News' alarming vaccine disinformation is a danger to America
Opinion by Dean Obeidallah
Updated 5:09 PM ET, Tue July 20, 2021
A lot of us on this board and elsewhere have united over the last year to try to oppose the attacks on reason, reputation and the rule of law that have emanated largely from the Republicans in the US. We have won a temporary victory in pushing back against a 2nd Trump term, but there is more work to be done.
It has been a working hypothesis of mine that one of several intertwined answers to the question of "how could this be happening?" is that insufficient arguments have been made and (where appropriate) actions have been taken to oppose the venal destructive toxic disinformation and poor reasoning emanating from our radio dials and TVs. To a degree, the events of January 6, stolen election mythology, climate emergency denialism, lethal pandemic disinformation, opposition to reasonable gun control, etc.... are somewhat down to the steady firehose of reasoning coming from these sources. True, that is only an intermediate step, but it is I think worth noting.
It is not possible, within the first amendment, for the government to take much action here, though I would argue that quite possibly an exception could be made, fully within the law, when it comes to advocating insurrection or violent lawless behavior over the airwaves. Still, it is not only the government which can take action.
Years ago, for example, boycotts were attempted against one or more of the voices coming at us, (Glenn Beck for example) and there were at times some apparent (temporary as it turns out?) victories. Anyway, the point is that in theory, advocates for change do not need necessarily to rely on government action to take meaningful economic actions that can indeed blunt the impact of those voices.
Recently it has become apparent that another tool advocates can wield is in the area of shareholder empowerment. This can take the forms of:
As to the Engine No. 1 thing, recently they have started an ETF (ticker VOTE) in which I have bought a small number of shares. The idea is (if I'm understanding) they will invest in some of the problem companies with an eye toward influencing the behavior of those companies toward the good (as they did with ExxonMobil) The only problem here is that they do not seem to be paying attention to the issue of influencing the media purveyors of lethal disinformation. In fact, I have not been able to find a single ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) system or professional on Earth, or even a single other activist in general, who stands for putting on the activist radar that we should be going after influencing these companies.
So, I"m suggesting here and elsewhere that we start flagging some of these companies for new activist efforts to thwart them. Fox News and iHeart Media are the worst examples to my eye. Heck, Fox is largely about the Australian Murdoch's partial ownership which means that a galling issue here is that American politics is being poisoned, and it's not even (to some extent) coming from the leadership of an American. As to iHeart Media, it is I gather the re-constituted Clear Channel Communications (out of the bankruptcy ashes). Both are known for providing platforms for such voices as Hannity. Shareholder activism in this area would mean going through all companies to figure it out, and the idea is not to "take vengeance" but to influence the companies so they stop platforming the worst of it. A starting point might be to seek the firing of any radio and TV hosts who have contributed significantly to the 2020 election disinformation campaigns, but also a common-ground type starting point would be to seek the de-platforming of radio and TV personalities who have led the climate emergency denialism efforts. We already know that ESG professionals and others, including Engine No. 1, are willing to engage in climate activism, and I think this would be good climate activism.
I may be wrong, but I think the de-platforming of some of these personalities (even if they then show up moreso in other internet channels and such) could belatedly be an impactful move to oppose some of what they are trying to pull.