Long-Term Unemployed Launch FOX News Boycott
The long-term unemployed (collectively known as the 99ers) have launched a boycott of sponsors that advertise on the FOX News Channel. Taking a cue from the recently successful effort that resulted in right-wing pundit Glenn Beck losing the support of over 300 sponsors, and the non-renewal of his contract with FCN, a group of 99ers has decided to actuate a similar boycott aimed at the network itself.
“It’s an opportunity for us to have our voices heard, to be visible, to be counted — and to effect well-needed change,” said Yvonne, a 99er from New York who started the Facebook group 99vFOX (The 99ers Versus Fox Fox News) last month. “And it gives us a chance to exact some revenge.”
After the 99ers held their first rally on August 12, 2010, on Wall Street, Beck slammed them on his show, telling his viewers, “I bet you’d be ashamed to call them Americans.” He singled out 99er Connie Kaplan, who had been interviewed at the rally by Ed Schultz, proposing she save her money traveling to protests and “Go out and get a job… work at McDonalds, work two jobs!” He declared, “Two years is plenty of time to have lived off your neighbor’s wallet!”
“He insulted us; we were angry,” Yvonne stated. “So I wrote Beck into the new lyrics of the oldies song, ‘Get A Job,’ that we sang for our first flashmob.” She continued, “But Beck wasn’t the only one to take shots at us. FOX News tried to brand us as lazy and prone to violence.”
On November 3rd, in a FOX Business News segment called [are] America’s Unemployed Getting Dangerous, host Eric Bolling tried to link the frustration felt by 99ers over the lack of added unemployment extensions to a news story that Ohio unemployment offices were hiring armed guards for the holidays. His opening question was, “Should we fear the 99ers might lose control and go wild?” He went on to ask Rhode Island 99er, Rhonda Taylor, if she had a gun.
And on November 22nd, FOX’s Charles Payne — in an interview with American 99ers Union president, Gregg Rosen — tried to suggest that 99ers were sitting at home, collecting money from the public, while “holding out for the right job” to come along. Payne pressed his view that it was time for ‘Tough Love,’ and faced with going homeless or being hungry, “They will find a job, create a job, create job opportunities.” Then he added, “When the first Americans landed here there was nothing. Some of them froze to death, some of them resorted to cannibalism. But they made it.” One has to shudder at the thought of being that desperate in the twenty-first century. Instead, faced with joblessness, homelessness and hopelessness, 99ers have increasingly taken their own lives.
The boycott against Glenn Beck began in the summer of 2009, after he called President Obama a “racist” who has “a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture.” The continuing incidents of lies, smears and incitement of violence by FOX News riles the 99ers. The 99vFox group has a growing profile on Twitter and on Facebook. The first member to join was Bud Meyers, a 99er from Las Vegas. Meyers, who has become a prolific blogger and an advocate for the unemployed, admitted, “I used to be a conservative Republican and Fox News fan until I lost my job in late 2008; and until I realized how much disdain the GOP and Fox felt about the jobless.”
The 99ers realize, without an income, boycotting sponsors of the FOX News Channel will be difficult. “But where we don’t have much buying power we have power in numbers. There are close to 5 million 99ers out there and 15 million unemployed. We also have friends, family members and advocates who will support us in this effort,” said Yvonne*. “This is a fight we look forward to winning. Revenge will be sweet.”
* Yvonne is a long-term advocate of the long-term unemployed.
* * About the 405 Club: "If you’re reading this you’re probably amongst the newly unemployed, or soon to be. We hope this serves as a place for newbies and sages alike to commiserate; to find and share some new tips and tricks to navigate this tough environment."