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A New Low

Reported by Melanie - September 16, 2004 -

Fox News appeared to introduce an idea to their viewers today (September 16, 2004) in a discussion about 60 Minutes (and the never-clearly mentioned George Bush National Guard documents):

Introducing Jerry Della Femina on Your World, Neil Cavuto said: "The tempest continues. Is Dan worried now that he's going to get dumped? Not by CBS, not by viewers, but by advertisers? Already some radio talk show hosts are calling on consumers to boycott the products pushed during the episode that kicked off this document flap. So is it likely?" Who better to ask than Jerry Della Femina? Jerry, what do you make of that, do you "extract your revenge with the advertisers?"

Della Femina, a New York ad executive said "I don't think so. Advertisers have it tough enough. I mean, they didn't know what was going to go on that show and they don't care." Della Femina said it would be good if Rather apologized but Andrew Heywood (president of CBS) is a good news guy, he'll probably say "we blew it."

Cavuto asked whether Heywood would "back away from Dan Rather and leave their star anchor hanging?" Della Femina said no, "when in doubt, fire a producer."

Cavuto asked whether "all these talk show hosts" calling for a boycott of either "CBS Evening News and/or 60 Minutes" are going too far? Della Femina said yes, all advertisers face this kind of thing.

(At this point, a list of advertisers of the September 8, 2004 60 Minutes program appeared on the screen.)

Cavuto said we know "in recent weeks the show, which was already in the basement, that is CBS Evening News, has lost more traction," and advertisers might be less inclined to advertise Rather. Della Femina said they'll look at ratings and possibly move. Cavuto: So if the ratings decline, "that would be the straw that broke the advertisers back?" Della Femina: "It always is," advertisers only care about ratings but Rather's might go up as people tune in "to see if he's gonna blow another one."

Della Femina mentioned that people are now saying Republicans might be behind the whole thing; Cavuto quickly moved on.

Cavuto asked if Della Femina thought everyone was "economically over reacting," maybe CBS "screwed up," but to extract financial revenge is wrong? Della Femina said "absolutely wrong," but that it'd be nice if at the beginning of an election year Dan would just announce his determination to see John Kerry elected but that meanwhile he'd try his best to be as fair as he could be.

Cavuto wondered if Della Femina thought CBS did anything wrong and Della Femina replied that he thought they were grasping at straws and should say they were wrong, instead of digging in their heels and making it worse.

COMMENT: The premise of this segment was that it was a report on radio talk show hosts who're calling for a boycott of CBS and 60 Minutes. However, it also introduced that idea to Fox's viewers.