In response to a public outcry, CBS decided not to air its TV program “The Reagans” on the national network. Terry Teachout identifies two important developments that this successful media protest effort brings to light. The first is “the megaphone effect”:
Boycotts of Big Media have always been feasible in
theory. (Newspapers, in case you didn’t know, take cancel-my-subscription-you-bastards letters very seriously—if they get enough of them.) In
practice, though, they rarely worked, because it was too difficult
to mobilize large-scale support quickly enough. No more.
What’s true for conservative web sites and blogs is also true for HonestReporting, where 60,000 subscribers are instantly alerted to anti-Israel media bias, and respond en masse to the news agencies. Megaphone indeed. Then there’s the effect:
Five years ago, opponents of The Reagans would have failed to sway
CBS because of their inability to make enough noise. The network
would have taken the “high road” and stared them down, and been
praised for its courage by other Big Media outlets. And if it were
only a matter of noise, CBS would have done the same thing today…but
it isn’t. Today, CBS is fighting for its corporate life. So are NBC,
ABC, Time…They can’t afford to ignore the noise anymore, no
matter which side of the political fence it comes from. And they
When an HonestReporting communique causes thousands of people to write concerned emails to media outlets, believe us, they’re listening and we are making a difference.