Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sleeping With The Enemy: The Orbitz - Fox News Debacle

America is the land of opportunity and with this reputation; you have brands and businesses that cater to all walks of life. Although this is true, sometimes certain groups or individuals will attack the beliefs or lifestyle that the brand represents while advertising the brand at the same time. When a minority-owned or lifestyle oriented business starts advertising, it should consider whether or not the outlet agrees with your views, let alone the person that you are marketing to. By doing so, a brand is protected from having a negative reputation within one’s targeted community.

Consumer brands often have strong ties with the people that use their products or services. Some brands, like Orbitz, have close ties with and message to specific groups of people, such as The LGBT community. See the Orbitz Gay Travel section here: http://www.orbitz.com/App/PerformMDLPDealsContent?deal_id=gay-travel&cnt=OVI&type=el_dp

Orbitz, a travel agent website, is one of the most used travel sites in the country and one that is LGBT friendly. I remember in my class about Gender, Race, and Class in media, the professor showed us a clip of Orbitz subtlety advertising to the LGBT community by having the rainbow flag in the golf course and a guy wearing a Human Rights Campaign pin.

Just going through the Gay Travel section, you can find resorts, activities, and tours that are LGBT friendly. There’s even a section for LGBTQ families and travel specials for gay pride events. With a company that has a section dedicated to this community, advertising to the LGBT community raises brand awareness and helps ad revenue to LGBT websites and publications. Yet, what if it advertised to the wrong crowd and potentially hurt their brand?

In June of this year, Orbitz decided to advertise on the Fox News Network and was brought to the attention of the websites, Courage Campaign and DropFox, because they know that Fox News is known for going against anything that isn’t right-wing and conservative. The LGBT community is one of those groups of people that Fox News tends to alienate, along with immigrants, left-wing people, and anyone who isn’t a conservative. There’s an article on the website, Crooks and Liars, for more information on the Orbiz-Fox News ads (link at the end of the article).

Fox News, the so-called “fair and balanced” news network, or the leading right-wing propaganda network on television, which was planned by the Nixon Administration and carried out by Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch (Read about it here http://gawker.com/5814150/). As you can see, Fox News is no ordinary news channel; this “news” channel’s main purpose is to spread GOP-backed news with GOP-friendly reporters, personalities, and contributors while claiming that every news outlet belongs to the so-called “liberal” media. From Bill O’Reilly to Sean Hannity to Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier, they’re mouthpieces to the Republican Party spreading conservative misinformation to the masses while passing it on as news.

For example, Fox News launched a smear campaign an Islamic community center as a place where terrorists will be trained (the Park51 community center). To the LGBT community, they often have guests from conservative think tanks and organizations denouncing gay marriage to attacking MSNBC for hiring a “lesbian radio host” to their line-up (Rachel Maddow) and having absurd/paranoid theories, such as The New York Times being owned by the gay rights movement. To top it all off, they label poor Americans as enemies. Then again, this is the network that claimed that Health care reform would have “death panels” and home of the Tea Party.

What bothered me was that if Orbitz is known for being gay friendly, why did it advertise on a network that appears to be the complete opposite? When California passed a bill allowing LGBT history to be taught in schools, Fox News took the chance to attack the bill. Steve Doocy, a Fox and Friends co-host told parents, on the air, to home school their children so they won’t have to learn the contributions of LGBT Americans. Fox Nation, a blog which Fox operates, posted a story from another conservative website, World Net Daily, claiming that Home Depot was recruiting children to become gay by having craft workshops in various LGBT pride events. This is what Orbitz was putting advertising money for? Funding a political organization while having one of your core customers being attacked?

It is good that Orbitz decided to review their ads. Since they specialize in LGBT travel, it makes sense to not alienate a group of people for the sake of making advertising money. For more information on this, you can click here: http://crooksandliars.com/breaking-news/orbitz-review-all-ads-fox-news


When businesses advertise to spread their awareness to other consumers, they should take a good look at what outlet their advertising in. Certain TV, radio, websites, and print mediums usually have targeted consumers based on the content they present. A business that supports liberal causes advertising to a conservative audience can backfire. Should we support a business, brand, or media outlet that spreads hateful values? Personally I say no because this is a country that’s trying to move forward with a society sick of the games the right-wing has been playing in the livelihood and health of the United States.

At Get Down PSA, we accept people of all walks of life, all different sexual orientations. We accept people the way they are. When conservative media keeps spreading lies and propaganda as news, especially about the LGBT community, other misinformed people spread the “news” creating a climate of fear and hate. This fear and hate could prevent someone who is LGBT to come out of the closet and/or get an HIV/AIDS test. If a business funds ad dollars to a propaganda machine, the outlet gets more money to keep their operation going and more lies will be fabricated.

For information on keeping pro-LGBTQ from advertising on Fox News, click here: http://www.couragecampaign.org/page/s/orbitztrustbutverify

Here’s a watchdog group that monitor’s conservative misinformation

--Nelson Morales, Jr.
GET DOWN Youth Blog Squad

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