Dan Rather's Alleged 'Liberal Bias' Triggers Sponsor Boycott

July 7, 2008 - 7:03 PM

(CNSNews.com) Angered by the alleged liberal bias of CBS News anchorman Dan Rather, the Citizens Coalition for Responsible Media (CCRM) is promoting a boycott of the show's sponsors. However, one media analyst said he doubted the boycott would have much effect.

CCRM Activism Director Doug MacDonald is already warning Procter & Gamble that it should expect a large volume of letters, telephone calls and e-mails from citizens expressing "their dismay over the company's sponsorship of the Rather show.

"CCRM intends to focus its attention one sponsor at a time and anticipates an additional sponsor every two to four weeks," MacDonald said in a statement. "We believe that we will get extraordinary support for our cause because there are a greater number of American citizens who believe that Mr. Rather does not present the news in a fair and balanced fashion," MacDonald added.

However, nationally syndicated radio host Michael Medved questioned whether an economic boycott was the best way to respond to Rather's alleged liberal leanings.

"I recognize the bias in CBS Evening News and I deplore it but I do not think this is a clever strategy. The best way would be to offer alternatives," Medved said.

Sponsor boycotts are difficult to organize in the first place, according to Medved. But in this case, he said, CCRM has an even more difficult task.

"People might look at the impact of the sponsor boycott by gays and lesbians on Dr. Laura's (Schlessinger) show. That was partially because it was a new show and new shows are inherently vulnerable, but for CBS Evening News, it's going to be a challenge."

Medved said another high-profile economic boycott, in which conservatives targeted Walt Disney World, had "disastrous" results. The Disney boycott was initiated in 1996 by religious conservatives, including Catholics, Baptists, Jews and Muslims, who accused the entertainment conglomerate of promoting homosexuality.

"The Disney boycott has accomplished nothing except to undermine the credibility of conservatives. I wish them well in their (CBS) boycott. I am skeptical in its effectiveness," Medved said.

Richard Noyes, Director of Media Analysis for the Media Research Center, the parent organization of CNSNews.com, said Rather's media bias has already cost CBS Evening News millions of viewers since he became anchor 20 years ago.

"Now if this boycott is actually successful and begins to hurt the sponsors of CBS Evening News financially, maybe people will have a chance to look forward to more balanced coverage in the future," Noyes said.

CCRM began targeting Rather in February, in what the group called its "Operation Valentine." Supporters sent about 50,000 messages to CBS expressing their concerns over Rather's reporting, according to CCRM.

"We have no qualms with Mr. Rather's right to express his views. We do have a problem with anyone in the news business, especially nationally-broadcast television, who purports to be impartial, but who in fact, consistently presents only one side of an issue, especially when it's on the liberal side," MacDonald stated.

CBS' Vice-President for Communications, Sandy Genelius, said the New York based corporation is not aware of the CCRM boycott attempt. She also said CBS is satisfied with the way Rather covers the Evening News program and has not received any complaints from viewers.