One of the nation’s largest cable providers has refused to broadcast an ad from an anti-Republican PAC that blames COVID-19 deaths on Fox News — and calls on providers to drop the top-rated cable news network from their line-up.
Comcast has again declined to air a paid advertisement from The Lincoln Project, the scandal-plagued megadonor PAC founded by jilted GOP strategists.
“Is Rupert Murdoch trying to kill Americans?” the latest rejected spot begins. “The Americans dying from COVID are almost all not vaccinated.”
The ad accuses Fox News of “pushing anti-vax hysteria” — before playing a clip of Laura Ingraham opposing the Biden administration’s proposal to send government employees door-to-door asking Americans if they have been vaccinated.
“Fox News is helping kill Americans. Call your local television provider and tell them to drop Fox News,” the narrator says.
“It’s not about politics,” the ad concludes. “It’s about life and death.”
The Lincoln Project’s timing could scarcely have been worse, as Fox News Channel rolled out a PSA asking Americans to get vaccinated. Prime time staple Sean Hannity and “Fox and Friends” co-host Steve Doocy also encouraged viewers of the top-rated cable news network to do the research and take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Comcast turned down the ad and its revenue, telling The Lincoln Project that the spot violates the company’s advertising guidelines. “An advertisement may be rejected if it is merely an attack of a personal nature, a direct attack on an individual business, or comment on a private dispute,” said the guidelines, which the Project quoted in a dyspeptic press release. The Project noted that “Comcast has repeatedly rejected Lincoln Project ads,” such as an extreme 60-second ad criticizing Toyota for making donations to the Republican Party.
“Comcast is one of the main sources of Fox News’ revenue and our ad called on Americans to ask their cable carriers to drop the propaganda network,” The Lincoln Project said in a statement after the rejection. “Comcast has made one thing clear: Their bottom line comes before anything else; it comes before democracy; and in this case, it comes before the health and safety of the American people.”
That sounds ironic, as The Lincoln Project has been accused of the same charges. Right-populist journalist Ryan Girdusky revealed at The American Conservative that Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver had long used his position to allegedly pressure young, male aides for sexual favors.
The Lincoln Project promptly threw Weaver under the bus, saying, “John Weaver led a secret life that was built on a foundation of deception at every level. He is a predator, a liar, and an abuser.” The project said it had been a victim of Weaver’s predatory actions, as well. “Like so many, we have been betrayed and deceived by John Weaver.”
Although allegations about Weaver’s sexual harassment go back at least 21 years, his Lincoln Project was able to recruit some of the most prestigious consultants in the Republican Party — who profited handsomely from their association with the “Never Trump” PAC. As The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti noted, $50 million of the $90 million in donations The Lincoln Project has raised since its formation went to firms run by the group’s leaders. The grift seemed so transparent that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said The Lincoln Project seemed to exist deep in “scam territory.” Were Lincoln Project members putting their own bottom line before the “safety of the American people”?
Comcast, which owns MSNBC, has benefited The Lincoln Project in other ways; its leaders have been mainstays on the left-wing network, which frequently airs their ads for free as part of its news and commentary programs. Last month, Brian Williams broadcast a Lincoln Project ad titled “Who is Antifa?” that equated violent anarchist rioters with World War II veterans on D-Day.
With former President Donald Trump temporarily out of the public focus, the Left’s focus has largely shifted to Fox News, especially the network’s coverage of the novel coronavirus global pandemic. CNN’s Dana Bash has asked whether Fox News is killing people, and Brian Stelter dedicates most of his show, “Reliable Sources,” to bashing his more successful competitor.
Denying Americans the choice to watch Fox News would banish the most effective center-right network on television.
Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson took Comcast’s most recent rejection in stride and did what he does best: ask for donations. “Looks like we’re gonna have to make a big digital buy instead,” Wilson tweeted. “Who’s in?”
In addition to donating to the Insurrection Caucus…@Comcast is refusing to air our Fox ad.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) July 22, 2021
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.