#CancelFoxNews: Cable Customers Demand Credit for ‘Core Channel’

On May 18 2022, Imgur user SchenectadySlumlord shared a Twitter screenshot about Fox News and cable companies. An attached December 2021 screenshot showed a tweet by user Paul Cogan.

Cogan asserted that Fox News was part of his cable package, so he “demanded a credit” and received one from his cable provider for four years:

Fact Check

Claim: Cable customers can get a credit for Fox News

Description: People are claiming they were able to contact their cable providers to demand a credit for the cost of the Fox News channel as part of their cable package.

Rating: True

Rating Explanation: Users across multiple platforms report their success in receiving a credit from their cable providers upon request, associating the action with ongoing controversies related to Fox News’ broadcast content.

Why Cogan was moved to tweet the suggestion in December 2021 was not contextually clear. However, the Imgur post was clearly linked to ongoing national and international discussion about a racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, and significant discourse linking Fox News’ programming to the alleged shooter’s actions.

A May 16 2022 NBC News article, “Fox News’ Tucker Carlson under fresh scrutiny after Buffalo mass shooting,” reported:

Fox News personality Tucker Carlson is facing intense scrutiny from extremism experts, media watchdogs and progressive activists who say there is a link between the top-rated host’s “great replacement” rhetoric and the apparent mindset of the suspect in the weekend’s deadly rampage in Buffalo, New York.

The white suspect accused of killing 10 people and wounding three others Saturday at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood apparently wrote a “manifesto” espousing the white supremacist “great replacement” conspiracy theory — elements of which Carlson has pushed on his weeknight show.

On May 15 2022, the New York Times described Fox News segments about “replacement theory,” citing previous reporting which counted “more than 400” references to the conspiracy theory on episodes of Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program:

By his own account, the Buffalo suspect, Payton S. Gendron, followed a lonelier path to radicalization, immersing himself in replacement theory and other kinds of racist and antisemitic content easily found on internet forums, and casting Black Americans, like Hispanic immigrants, as “replacers” of white Americans. Yet in recent months, versions of the same ideas, sanded down and shorn of explicitly anti-Black and antisemitic themes, have become commonplace in the Republican Party — spoken aloud at congressional hearings, echoed in Republican campaign advertisements and embraced by a growing array of right-wing candidates and media personalities.

No public figure has promoted replacement theory more loudly or relentlessly than the Fox host Tucker Carlson, who has made elite-led demographic change a central theme of his show since joining Fox’s prime-time lineup in 2016. A Times investigation published this month showed that in more than 400 episodes of his show, Mr. Carlson has amplified the notion that Democratic politicians and other assorted elites want to force demographic change through immigration, and his producers sometimes scoured his show’s raw material from the same dark corners of the internet that the Buffalo suspect did.

“It’s not a pipeline. It’s an open sewer,” said Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox News political editor who was fired in 2020 after defending the network’s decision to call Arizona for then-candidate Joseph R. Biden, and who wrote a forthcoming book on how media outlets stoke anger to build audiences.

Several major news organizations connected Fox News content about “replacement theory” with the actions of the alleged Buffalo shooter. The Imgur user shared their own text post alongside the screenshot, reporting that they had succeeded in receiving a credit for Fox News on their Comcast bill:

I called Comcast and told them I wanted Fox removed. They said it was a core channel and couldn’t be removed so I demanded to not pay for it. I was given a 2 year credit for the cost of the single channel. Only about $20 per year but it’s not about the money, it’s about sending a message.

One person linked to a petition-like website (unfoxmycablebox.com), enabling users to contact specific cable providers about Fox News. Its landing page read in part:

Pay for cable or satellite TV? You’re subsidizing Fox News whether you watch it or not.

Your cable or satellite TV provider pays a subscriber fee to carry Fox News. That cost is passed directly on to YOU.

Every network charges cable and satellite providers a small fee per subscriber; the one for Fox News is extraordinarily high. A typical household pays Fox News almost $2 per month—about $20 per year— via their cable or satellite provider, regardless of whether they actually watch the channel.

In 2021, a wave of big contracts between Fox News and TV providers for subscriber fees are set to expire. These contracts make up about 65% if Fox News’ subscriber fee revenue. If we want to stop paying the Fox News “tax,” now is the time to act.

A commenter reported contacting another cable provider, Spectrum, in response to the post:

I just called Spectrum. Got my $20 credit

On Twitter, #CancelFoxNews contained similar discussion on May 18 2022 (with some users suggesting use of parental controls to restrict the channel):

A December 2021 tweet advising cable subscribers to contact their providers to cancel Fox News or demand a credit recirculated intermittently. In May 2022, Fox News came under renewed scrutiny for the frequency with which its programming and personalities (Tucker Carlson in particular) espoused and promoted “replacement theory” on-air in the months leading up to the shooting. A handful of commenters indicated they followed the post’s advice, and that they had subsequently secured a credit for the cost of Fox News on their cable bills.