Who’s Getting Rich Dividing Americans?

7 mins read

Who’s getting rich dividing Americans?

“Give a capitalist enough rope and he’ll hang himself.” – Karl Marx

Marx would smile if he could see how American billionaires make money inciting attacks against the U.S. government.

FOX is a $18 billion corporation whose CEO, Rupert Murdoch makes $12.85 million every year partially funded by cable ad sales which rose $45 million in the company’s first quarter of fiscal year 2021.

Conspiracy theories can draw large audiences, but should FOX promote them to make money? Should companies profit by dividing Americans and inciting violence that gets a policeman killed? How can social pressure be applied to encourage corporations to temper greed with civic responsibility? The board of directors of a corporation have overall responsibility for the activities of a corporation like FOX and News Corp. What should be done when directors abdicate their responsibility and condone questionable behavior?

Power mapping

Power Mapping helps visualize the people who can influence FOX News including investors, advertisers and their alma maters. These individuals and companies should be encouraged to live up to the values they claim to have.

How people spend their money reflects their values. People choose which firms to invest in and which investment firm to use. Which universities their children should attend? Should universities have trustees and professors whose values differ from those of the institution? How can alumni encourage their alma mater to live up to its principles. How can cable viewers ensure they aren’t unknowingly funding hate speech? Social pressure can be a force for good and encourage corporations to consider the social good as well as profits.

A relationship map reveals the connections between different people and organizations.

Navigating a Kumu relationship map

Relationship maps show the connections between firms and individuals. DemLabs created and interactive map of the FOX News ecosystem with Kumu, a free app. The map is interactive and clicking on it reveals more details and discrepancies between what people’s words and actions. This maps includes:
– Five corporate directors of FOX News
– Six prominent academic institutions with FOX affiliated executives as trustees and professors
– Five investments firms that control over 20% of FOX News stock
– Five large consumer brands that are major FOX advertisers
– Five corporations that have Fox affiliated executives as board members
– Details on FOX racist, sexist commentary and coverage of violence and sedition
– Practical steps individuals can take and links to groups working for more corporate responsibility at FOX News

Kumu creates relationship maps that are easy to navigate and share.

Kumu relationship maps

Kumu is a wonderful, free app that easily maps relationships. Kumu maps can be shared on social media with a link or embedded in a website with a single line of code:

< iframe src=”https://Dem-Labs.kumu.io/whos-getting-rich-dividing-americans?token=tvWodM4rSCC5ovUU” width=”1024″ height=”576″ frameborder=”0″>

Kumu makes it easy to organize complex data into relationship maps that are easy to understand, share and update. The free app can be used for:
Stakeholder mapping – Explore the complex web of loyalties, interests, influence, and alignment of key players around important issues.
Systems mapping – Understand and engage complex systems more effectively using systems maps and causal loop diagrams.
Social network mapping – Capture the structure of personal networks and reveal key players.
Community asset mapping – Keep track of the evolving relationships among community members and resources.
These Kumu relationship maps were developed pro bono by DemLabs for social justice groups:

Kumu provides a versatile too for community organizers

Matching corporate values with actions

Companies often have one set of values in their marketing slogans, but often seem to conduct business very differently. They should be called out to either live up to their principles or change their slogans. Imagine a firm with a slogan like “We’ll do anything for a buck”!

Can you can match these statements with it organization while supporting FOX News at the same time? Click on the relationship map for details on each organization.

Corporations often use one set of marketing slogans, but practice a different set of values.

Fighting disinformation resources

Media Matters – Not-for-profit, 501 (c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Sample report on Corporate Advertisers on FOX.
Sleeping Giants – Campaign dedicated to brand safety and responsibility in our complex new media environment.
Grab Your Wallet – A catalyst for positive social change, a benevolent, rapid response army of people organized to flex their economic power in ways that promote equity, belonging, and respect. 
MoveOn – Campaign to Boycott Fox News Advertisers.
UnFox My Cable Box – Encourages cable or satellite TV subscriber to not fund a political propaganda operation with #UnFoxMyCableBox campaign.

Learn more about Organizing For Justice and relationship mapping at the MidWest Academy. And take this free introductory online course on organizing strategy featuring Heather Booth, a veteran organizer ad political strategist.

Takeaway: Use power mapping to identify influencers who can change corporate behavior and use social pressure to encourage them to curb corporate greed. Support groups advocating against propaganda that divides Americans and stokes violence.


Answers to quiz: A3, B2, C4, D6, E9, F7, G1, H5, I8

Image credits: Monte Wolverton on Political Cartoons and The Noun Project
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Our focus is on long term, sustainable and affordable solutions. An approach that is longer than an election cycle, and isn’t purely dependant on volunteers, can enable more qualified candidates to run for office and for more issue groups to bring about positive social change.

Democracy Labs is a project of the Tides Advocacy Fund.

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