Device lets you out-Fox your TV
It's not that Sam Kimery objects to the views expressed on Fox News Channel. The creator of the "Fox Blocker" contends the network is not...
The Associated Press
It's not that Sam Kimery objects to the views expressed on Fox News Channel. The creator of the "Fox Blocker" contends the network is not news at all.
Kimery says he has sold about 100 of the little silver bits of metal that screw into the back of most televisions, allowing people to filter Fox News from their sets. The Tulsa, Okla., resident also has received thousands of e-mails, both angry and complimentary, as well as a few death threats since the device debuted in August.
"Apparently the making of terroristic threats against those who don't share your views is a high art form among a certain core audience," said Kimery, 45.
Formerly a registered Republican, even a precinct captain, Kimery became an independent in the 1990s when he said the state party stopped taking input from everyday members.
"I might as well be reading tabloids out of the grocery store," he said. "Anything to get a rise out of the viewer and to reinforce certain retrograde notions."
A Fox spokeswoman at the station's New York headquarters said the channel's ratings speak for themselves. For the first three months of this year, Fox has averaged 1.62 million viewers in prime-time, compared with CNN's 805,000, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Kimery's motives go deeper than preventing people from watching the channel, which he acknowledges can be done without the Blocker. But he likens his device to burning a draft card, a tangible example of disagreement.
And he's taking this message to the network's advertisers. After buying the $8.95 device online, would-be blockers are shown a letter that they can send to advertisers via the Fox Blocker site.
"The point is not to block the channel or block free speech but to raise awareness," said Kimery, who works in the high-tech industry.
Kimery doesn't use the device; he occasionally feels the need to tune into Fox News for something "especially heinous."
Business could pick up since the blocker was alluded to in a recent episode of the ABC drama "Boston Legal." The show's original script mentioned Fox News, but ABC removed the references.
The boisterous conversations on Fox News may be why the station is so popular, said Matthew Felling, media director for the Center for Media and Public Affairs, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media watchdog group. And despite a perception that Fox leans to the right, Felling said, that doesn't mean people who lean left should tune out.
"It's tough to engage in an argument when you're not participating in it," Felling said. "It's just one more layer in the wall that the right and the left are building in between each other."