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Media Matters Memo

Media Matters Memo

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Publicado porAndrew Kaczynski

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Andrew Kaczynski on Feb 13, 2012
Direitos Autorais:Attribution Non-commercial


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Mold a new conventional wisdom against Fox News among elite political and media opinion
leaders who shape the public perception of the network.


In order to neutralize Fox News, it is critical that we engage elite opinion leaders in both
political and media circles on our mission to hold Fox News accountable. Media Matters will
target political and media elites in key markets with aggressive advertising and individual
outreach designed to sour conventional wisdom and the media elite's positive opinions of,
misplaced journalistic solidarity with, and its tendency to follow or defend Fox News. By
investing these influential leaders, we will create a waterfall effect, growing our numbers and
power while also further removing Fox News from the table of those engaged in civil political

This effort will take various forms including the implementation of an aggressive paid media
campaign with television ads run each weekend on the all-important Sunday morning political
talk shows {except Fox News) in New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Atlanta-these
cities house the bulk of important media and political leaders. Additionally, we will engage
these leaders in a highly targeted direct mail campaign designed to sway or reinforce their
opinions about Fox News while also bringing awareness to our overall efforts. We will also
consider other television, radio and print advertising, targeting programs and publications that
these elites regularly watch, listen to and read like Comedy Central's Daily Show, WTOP news


radio and Politico. All paid media will creatively push our message that Fox News is an
increasingly aggressive and vicious political organization, further making the network
illegitimate in the eyes of elite news consumers.

An on-going out-reach effort, with presentations on the nature and scope of the problem, will
also be undertaken to engage progressive leaders and opinion influencers in DC and selectively
around the country. We will also organize public forums in key markets, journalism symposia,
and panels at progressive conferences around our new, tested Fox News message. These
efforts may also include invitations to roundtable discussions, panel discussions, and
symposiums on the emerging role of journalists in a changed media environment inviting media
critics from prominent organizations and publications such as the Columbia Journalism Review
and prominent journalism professors nationwide such as Robert McChesney from the
University of Illinois and Christopher Martin of Occidental College who recently authored a
significant study of coverage of the ACORN scandal.

Additionally, Media Matters staff will submit articles for publication in prominent publications
such as the Columbia Journalism Review, industry publications like Media Week, and engage
with industry bloggers such as The New York Times Media Decoder Blog.

As part of that education effort we will create a documentary on the "Victims of Fox News" -
which happens to include many of these political and media elites --that will educate and
invest these important leaders in stopping Fox News. The documentary will be rolled out in a
way that maximizes earned media and resultant recruitment. It will also be an important tool
for our viral online "public" education and direct mail campaign.

We may also consider pushing prominent progressives to stop appearing on Fox News. As we
continue to educate the public on Fox News' transformation into a political organization, we
could urge Democratic elected officials, pundits, organization and other leaders to demonstrate
their refusal to buy into Fox News' pretense as a news organization by declining to appear on all
Fox News programs. Towards that end, we could consider posting a list of Democrats and
progressives that have appeared on Fox News each day on our website to put pressure on
those still participating to end their relationship with Fox News.


Reaching out to VIP's is nothing new. Political campaigns have been doing it for generations.
Presidential contenders expend considerable resources in the early stages of their campaigns to
court and land the endorsements of not only influential political leaders but also the approval
of media elites as well. They run targeted ads, send targeted mail, hold public events to show
their breadth of support and much more. The key for these campaigns is reaching these elites
where they are -so too will be the thrust of this effort. Ads on television and radio programs
watched by these elites, direct mail to show the seriousness of the issue, public events to show
the breadth of support-all of these techniques will be deployed to sway the opinion of these
key leaders who shape the conventional wisdom that drives public opinion every day in this



Elites will resent our efforts to influence them and defend Fox News. This may be the case,
that is why great time and effort will be made to carefully craft our message and ensuing
contact with these audiences. Private meetings are all the more important for recruiting people
within this universe so that they feel well thought of and so that messages can be finely tailored
to each pitch. Additionally, our outside campaign {television, direct mail, precinct walking etc.)
will only serve to emphasize the popularity of our mission and the dedication of those involved
-another good selling point for some within this core elite group.

Elites' minds are already made up about Fox News. It is likely that many in the elite class have
already made up their mind when it comes to Fox News -however, it is also likely that their
private opinions do not match what they say publicly. Talk to any elite reporter and they will
argue that Fox News does have real reporting. Equate the quality of the reporter you are talking
with to Fox News and they'll be offended. Our goal here then is to make sure that the personal
feelings members of these audiences have are reflected in the views they choose to make

Affecting reporters and hosts attitudes about Fox News may not translate to different
coverage in their news rooms.
This may be true. Of all the changes we seek, affecting the
coverage on Fox News may be the most difficult, but it is not without hope. In late November,
Media Bistro posted a Fox News memo acknowledging "a series of mistakes on FNC in recent
months" and pledging to "quality check everything before it makes air, and we never having
[sic] to explain, retract, qualify or apologize again." The memo added that "[m]istakes by any
member of the show team that end up on air may result in immediate disciplinary action" and
"jobs are on the line here." This after Media Matters and others caught the network red
handed trying to pass off video of a 2008 McCain/Palin rally as footage of a Palin book signing
event in Michigan depicting the turnout as massive. Other cable news outlets and industry
trade websites and publications pounced on the "error" which ultimately resulted in the
internal memo that was later obtained by Media Bistro. Perhaps, repeatedly embarrassing the
network may be just the recipe needed to affect real, lasting change at Fox News.

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