Why I oppose the effort to get Orbitz to cease advertising on Fox News

A Commentary

Timothy Kincaid

May 19th, 2011

A collection of gay and progressive groups have banded together to demand that Orbitz Travel not advertise on the Fox News Channel. The coalition consists of:

  • Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
  • Courage Campaign (a multi-issue advocacy organization seeking progressive change in California)
  • Equality Matters (a new media and communications initiative in support of gay equality)

Here is the reasoning:

Fox News has a conservative bias. It tends not to be pro-gay but to instead give a voice to those, like Bill O’Reilly, who are conservative and do not speak out as favorably on gay rights issues as we would wish. Therefore they should not receive any ad revenue from companies that want gay customers.

Fox News demonstrated an indefensible bias in its coverage of core issues for the LGBT community. An analysis of coverage on everything from gay marriage to the repeal of DADT to gay individuals supports a conclusion that Fox’s coverage is driven by a political agenda and cannot be considered an objective news source.

Or, as the more histrionic dropfox.com put it:

Fox News gave Mike Huckabee his own show despite a history of comparing homosexuality to drug abuse, incest, pedophilia, and necrophilia. Huckabee has repeatedly used his Fox platform to campaign against gay marriage, even insultingly suggesting that marriage equality poses a threat to stable society.

Bill O’ Reilly has repeatedly used his popular and prime time show to warn against the “dangers” of allowing gay people near children, to assert that same-sex marriage could lead to nuptials with turtles, ducks or dolphins, and to baselessly claim that implementing a hate crimes bill could protect pedophiles.

First, it’s pretty clear that those who are leading this campaign have never ever actually watched any of the programs about which they complain.

Their depiction of Bill O’Reilly, for example, is so far from reality that it embarrasses me for my community. While O’Reilly is by no means an advocate for our community and opposes basic equality, he has also advocated for the end of DADT, has spoken favorably at times about civil unions, and conditionally supports gay adoption. He is not “progressive” in his views, but they are not outside the realm of reasonable political positioning.

O’Reilly is prejudiced, biased, and opinionated, but his show also features regular guests, like Margaret Hoover, who use that time to argue in favor of marriage equality and other pro-gay positions. And I would argue that more conservative families have been exposed to pro-gay arguments – made by conservatives – through The O’Reilly Factor than by any other venue.

The sort of caracatures that this coalition set up are best left for the Peter LaBarberas and Linda Harveys of the world, not for organizations which purport to be advocating for accurate portrayal of gay people or for equality for all.

But I don’t think the anti-gay defamation or marriage equality really have much at all to do with this campaign. These organizations don’t like Fox’s perspective or viewpoint – in general – and want to silence the network. The gay angle is just convenient. So they are seeking to pressure a gay-supportive company to stop advertising with Fox (and you can be sure that it won’t stop with Orbitz).

And this campaign cares nothing for the fact that at least a third of gay Americans are not “progressive”. While these openly gay Americans may object to statements made on Fox, they do share many of their underlying values and perspectives. But that is ignored.

“You can’t appeal both to gay customers and conservative customers!” this campaign tells Orbitz, “so you must choose what kind of customers you want!”

And that is the sort of stupid, hard pressure, arrogant nonsense that only feeds anti-gay activists with the ammunition that they need to portray our community as intolerant, demanding, and totalitarian. Because this tactic IS intolerant, demanding, and totalitarian.

If we disagree with O’Reilly – and we do – then let’s challenge his views. Let’s demand that he retract extremist positions. And let’s inform his specific advertisers of where he is taking positions or making statements that are offensive and based in prejudice and fear.

But demanding that those who like us must also hate those we hate has not been an effective strategy since sixth grade. And frankly, if we go down that path we may find ourselves losing more friends than they do. Most successful business people don’t respond well to bullies.

David Roberts

May 19th, 2011

The first time I remember seeing any of LaBarbera’s “secret video” was on O’Reilly, where Bill proceeded to have a fit about gay days at Disney. O’Reilly seems amoral to me — he does whatever makes him the bucks.

Unless one has a problem with the idea of voting with one’s pocketbook in general, I don’t see this as a problem. And the description of O’Reilly seemed mild to me.

Personally, I feel that any network that would nurture Glenn Beck onto the air probably does need some grief. That goes far beyond an alternate point of view.


May 19th, 2011

My god we agree on something.

My favorite O’Reilly moment is when he had ‘ex-gay’ Steven “I had sex with a thousand guys” Bennett live on his show and then proceeded to challenge him on every biblical point. Bennett couldn’t respond to any argument with something outside his canned talking points. It was priceless. That doesn’t change the fact that O’Reilly is a buffoon. But most that have cable news shows are.

@David Roberts

Keep in mind that it was CNN that first “nurtured” Glenn Beck.


May 19th, 2011

There are two viewpoints adressed in this piece the one that is directly challenged, quoted and taken to task and the other is O’Reilly’s.
Heh, I’m just being harsh.

Here is a great treasure trove of content with which one may begin to form an opinion on O’Reilly – and perhaps also an opinion as to whether interest group pressure on advertisers is a justifiable pursuit in challenging the on going nature of this bias on Fox.


Ben M

May 19th, 2011

I have to disagree with you on this one. I’m familiar with the Drop Fox campaign (run by the same guy who has assisted in getting 300+ advertisers to decline to support Glenn Beck, helping to lead to the end of his show). He does watch these shows, and documents the falsehoods presented on Fox News.

How is going informing O’Reilly’s specific advertisers different than informing Fox News’ as a whole? The evidence is that Fox News is a political machine, not a new organization, who’s goals are fundamentally opposed to mine. I have every right to vote with my money, and let companies know that I’m going to.


May 19th, 2011

Wait a minute, I signed the petition and NO WHERE in it did it call for, allude to, suggest and most certainly didn’t “DEMAND that those who like us must hate who we hate”.

Where exactly did you get that Tim?

They asked that Orbits not sponsor shows that specifically and radically oppose THEIR stated policies and positions. It asked that Orbits not market to gay people boasting about their policies and positions while giving money to programs that work tirelessly to oppose our civil rights through lies, misinformation and distortions.

I think that is a very reasonable position and I encourage others to join in signing the petition.

David Roberts

May 19th, 2011

“Keep in mind that it was CNN that first “nurtured” Glenn Beck.”

Very true, but in their defense, he was not nearly as nuts then. And at least they did get rid of him well before he became such!

Fox News programming is barely above tabloid “news” in my opinion. And I say that as one who has watched my share of it.


May 19th, 2011

If GLAAD, the Courage Campaign, and Equality Matters disappeared tomorrow, not only would they not be missed, it would actually be good for gay rights because the money that props them up might actually accidentally go towards people or organizations who are effective.

GLAAD exists to give awards to celebrities, while the other two are composed completely of Democratic party hacks. If you support Democratic goals, just donate directly to the party and cut out the middleman.


May 19th, 2011

As Dan Savage noted recently, all of these groups supposedly fighting for our rights are incapable of even stringing together a few memorable lines to make their case. When was the last time any of the three involved here actually contributed anything positive, something to stand FOR? It’s all “Oh my God, look at how dumb Sarah Palin is! Don’t you HATE her? God, Republicans are SO horrible! (Now, don’t forget to pull the lever for Democrats!)” But don’t pay any attention to Maryland or Rhode Island, where Dems have supermajorities in the legislatures but can’t pass gay marriage. Because remember, Republicans are such jerks!


May 20th, 2011

Those groups hung up on O’Reilly have too much time on their hands. Anytime I’ve seen gays on his show he seems more gay-friendly than not to me, and they should thank him for defending gays against those trying to equate them with child molesters.


May 20th, 2011

Too many people criticize Fox News who have never watched it. I will make one admission, I can’t watch Glenn Beck. I know two liberals who want even allow the Fox News channel to be used in their homes.


May 20th, 2011

Mk, I have seen plenty of segments about gays on the Factor and none of them are friendly. He says no one should normalize homosexuality. He has compared us to terrorists. He had a guest on who said we are celebrating our lifestyle choice. He did not challenge the guest’s premise that our orientation is a choice. He ran a segment about prop 8 opponents ripping a sign out of a supporter’s hand but I’ve never seen one segment about anti-gay violence or harassment during the prop 8 campaign. He was still against gay marriage recently, and oddly enough Glenn Beck of all people said it shouldn’t be an issue anymore. O’Reilly is a douchebag who screams and throwns temper tantrums over guests attempting to make valid counterpoints on his shows like a six year-old. He deserves zero respect. I’m not sure if we should care about Orbitz advertising there. Afterall, it would get them more visibility, but anyone at any time can boycott anyone they want or ask others to do the same. I disagree once again with Timothy calling that hatred. What nonsense.


May 20th, 2011

I quit listening to Bill when he didn’t understand the difference between a Peabody and a Polk award.

Priya Lynn

May 20th, 2011

Timothy said “He is not “progressive” in his views, but they are not outside the realm of reasonable political positioning.”.

There is nothing reasonable about opposing marriage equality, or the right of gay couples to show affection in public just like heterosexuals.

I recall one of the baseball teams having a gay welcoming event and O’reilly was frothing at the mouth screaming how children shouldn’t be exposed to two gay men kissing so, yes he has warned against the “dangers” of allowing gay people near children just as Dropfox.com said. Just because you watch some of O’reilly’s shows doesn’t make you the quintessential expert on everything he’s ever said contrary to your claims.

R Boyer

May 20th, 2011

Oh,gosh. Just from the title, I was willing to bet that it would be our little Timmy being a mischievous contrary boy again.

And so it was.

No, Timmy. Asking for O’Reilly to retract or correct his views has been tried. And it has failed. For years. Erin has stated matters very accurately. Dropfox.com isn’t “histrionic;” its truthful.

Hitting FOXtards in their pocketbooks seems to be the only effective way of getting their attention. Boycotts are NOT totalitarian. (Now THAT’s a histrionic declaration.)

Please go stand in the corner until you’ve learned to resist the urge to commit another of these hissy fits – and study orthography and proof-reading skills (it’s “carIcature,” dear).

“I would argue that more conservative families have been exposed to pro-gay arguments – made by conservatives – through The O’Reilly Factor than by any other venue.”

And I would respond that you are living in a “fair and balanced” world somewhere on the other side of the looking-glass, and have exhausted my capability of believing six impossible things before breakfast. It was frayed after your “Proposition 8 and Race Revisited” screed in July of 2009, and I’ve read subsequent pieces with increasing amounts of skepticism and admiration for the sheer bloody-minded determination and cynicsm they display – but you should drink your milk and cookies (no cracks about “Kool-aid,” please, dear) and take a nap with the other children for a bit. You are seriously cranky – and it’s a communicable condition.

Richard Rush

May 20th, 2011

R Boyer, you succeeded admirably in showing the writer to be a “mischievous,” “contrary”, “cranky” child having “hissy fits” who should take their “milk and cookies,” and “go stand in the corner.” That writer is you.

Ed Myhro

May 20th, 2011

Back in 1978-1979, There was a spokeswoman for Florida Orange Juice named Anita Bryant. Many of you will remember her. She went after the gay people in Dade County, Florida with a vengence. Gay bars accross the US refused to use Florida Orange Juice. Ultimately, she lost her job and Florida Orange Juice distanced itself from her.
It worked then and it will work now.
Hit them in the pocketbook and see how fast they respond!


May 20th, 2011

Fox news should generally be boycotted for being the most corrosive, vile, and corrupting political institution in America today. By dint of its very existence it has denigrated all journalism. (As reporters who do not work for Fox news, might one day apply to work at Fox news, they actually toe Fox news line or at least rarely call Fox news out on its shoddy propaganda). But yes, Bill O’Rielly has done much to foment anti-gay sentiment. He was the one who reported that lesbian street gangs were terrorizing America.

But don’t pay any attention to Maryland or Rhode Island, where Dems have supermajorities in the legislatures but can’t pass gay marriage. Because remember, Republicans are such jerks!

Yes… and? Your point is? We have one party that’s actively hostile to us, and one party that is apathetic and indifferent. So what, exactly and precisely, is your point?

R Boyer

May 21st, 2011

@ Richard Rush

Yep. Guilty. And sick to death of acquiescence, accomodationist hand-wriging, and Timothy Kincaid’s armchair quarterbacking.

I lived through the Anita Bryant era, was in San Francisco when Harvey Milk was murdered, and have been patient long enough.

“No boycott” my eye.

R Boyer

May 21st, 2011




May 21st, 2011

I’m guessing R Boyer is an “in your face” drag queen, working hard to make gay people look weird, freaky, and abnormal.

Contempt for him. Nothing but contempt and rejection. NOT my people. NOT my community.


May 21st, 2011

R Boyer, I’m sad you lived in SF during the Anita Bryant age. How many drugs, including amyl nitrates, did you ingest? How many STDs did you pick up? What is a “shower shot”? What is “chicken”? What did Harry Hay’s sign say?

Why do we continue pretend that queer culture was a good thing that we need to celebrate? It’s degrading and harmful to gay people.

Priya Lynn

May 21st, 2011

Pintuck, some of us who accept and support drag queens have nothing to do with drag, have never ingested amyl nitrate, nor had an STD. And I don’t know what a shower shot is, chicken, or what Harry Hay’s sign said.

Your assumptions about drag supporters are just like the anti-gays assuming you’ve had thousands of sex partners, many STDs, and are a drugged up depressed alcholic.


May 21st, 2011

Wow, Pintuck, looks like someone is horribly self-loathing. And apparently did not learn the lesson that every other group that fought for civil rights also didn’t learn. As long as there is an outgroup to hate…

R Boyer

May 21st, 2011

Pinhead – I said I lived THROUGH the Anita Bryant era – and that I was IN San Francisco when Harvey Milk was murder.

Don’t conflate.

Never done drag. Zero drugs. Zero STDs. And I have no clue what the other three things are that you’re raving about.

Go bother someone else in one of your other alternate personas, please – after you’ve pulled your head from your nether regions.


May 21st, 2011

Pintuck capitalising letters doesn’t make anyone your people or your community – you don’t own them, you can’t speak for all of them, you don’t know what’s best for all of them.

Try to practice some diversity.


May 22nd, 2011

Many of the commentators on Fox News (Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly) claimed that the hate crimes bill (which many on the right opposed because it was the first federal protection given to gays) gave protections to pedophiles.

That was their way of equating gays with pedophiles.

Remember how they smeared Kevin Jennings?

Huckabee has compared gays to pedophiles in at least two of his books.

Boycotts were a part of the African American Civil Rights movement and women’s suffrage weren’t they?

We have to challenge those that finance hate.

Timothy Kincaid

May 22nd, 2011


I too have lived through Anita Bryant, Harvey Milk, Bill Dannemayer, B1 Bob, and the whole crew.

And I’m not entirely anti-boycott. But a boycott of our friends? Really?

Is the message supposed to be “Don’t advertise to gay people because they will boycott you if you also advertise elsewhere”?

How incredibly stupid is that idea?

Timothy Kincaid

May 22nd, 2011

oh… and according to Amazon, a Shower Shot is a tool for cleanliness.

I don’t know what Pintuck’s sexual life is like (nor do I want to imagine it) but a good many gay men appreciate the old maxim that cleanliness is next to godliness.


May 23rd, 2011

Pintuck, some of us who accept and support drag queens have nothing to do with drag, have never ingested amyl nitrate, nor had an STD. And I don’t know what a shower shot is, chicken, or what Harry Hay’s sign said.

I will also note that even those who do have STD’s, struggle with drug addictions (past or present), and otherwise fit the negative stereotypes are still people. As such, they still deserve to be treated as people, rather than condemned, vilified, marginalized, and otherwise othered.

In fact, one of the things that infuriates me with some members of the gay community is that they’re not so much opposed to the marginalization of people as they are in redefining who it’s still okay to marginalize.

Note that the above isn’t directed at Priya. I simply chose her statement as a good starting point for what I wanted to say.

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