National Fox “News” TV [1] is a major contributor (if not THE major contributor) to the disinformation, divisiveness, hate, and lack of civility that are undermining our society and democracy. It also drives the nationwide hyper-partisanship and the gridlock in Congress. Since its debut in 1996, Fox TV’s primetime viewership has grown to 2.5 million, with evangelical Christians as its most reliable audience. Its penetration and impact have been facilitated by its claim to be news and, moreover, to be fair and balanced. It has grown increasingly radical and extreme over time, including noticeably more so since 2019. Its core themes have been:

  • Stoking racism and the belief that anti-white bias is a serious problem (most recently and notably in its constant, withering, distorted attack on critical race theory),
  • Fanning the flames of “culture wars” against same sex marriage, LGBTQ+ rights, abortion, etc. as a fight against evil with white evangelical Christians as a key target, and
  • Promoting the belief that “liberals” are literally trying to destroy the country.

As national Fox TV consciously strives to generate outrage based on white resentment and supposed threats to Christianity, Trump and his acolytes in the Republican party have provided a reinforcing feedback loop that amplifies and exacerbates the disinformation, divisiveness, hate, and lack of civility. There is no mechanism for slowing this runaway train. [2]

Although social media play a critical role in amplifying disinformation and fostering divisiveness and other negative outcomes, much of the misinformation originates with national Fox TV. The content of other extremist channels like One American News Network (OANN) and Newsmax raise similar concerns but their audiences are minimal when compared to Fox TV’s audience. (See the Defenders of Democracy Against Disinformation website and this page about Fox TV in particular for more information.)

A significant portion of Fox’s revenue comes from the fees it receives from cable TV providers like Verizon and RCN, which transmit Fox programming to more than 100 million consumers every day.

Therefore, if you are paying Verizon or RCN (or any other provider that includes Fox TV) for your TV service, you are providing revenue to Fox, possibly as much as $2 per month. I do not want to provide one cent to Fox, but when I contacted Verizon multiple times to say I didn’t want to pay for the Fox channel, I was told that Fox can only be removed from my cable package if ALL news channels are removed. Verizon includes Fox in its News Bundle and it is inseparable from the other News channels. RCN customers have had a similar experience. This is unacceptable, in part because Fox isn’t news – it’s disinformation and propaganda. Therefore, it shouldn’t be in the News bundle to begin with.

I’m contacting senior executives at Verizon (see contact information and a sample letter below) to ask that Fox be removed from the News Bundle so that I don’t have to pay for Fox’s propaganda. I do want access to credible news on my TV but I don’t want to give money to Fox. Two of the four executives I’m targeting have email contact forms on the Internet. The other two (as far as I can tell) are only available by regular mail. I’ve also included contact information below for the CEO of RCN for those of you who are RCN subscribers. If you have another cable TV provider, please do an Internet search to find contact information for senior executives.

I encourage you to join me in contacting executives at your cable TV provider to ask that Fox be dropped from your service so we don’t have to give it money as part of our cable bills. I’ve drafted a letter to Hans Vestberg, the Verizon Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (see below). Please feel free to modify it as you see fit – particularly, of course, if you have a different cable TV provider but have the same Fox problem. Please send it by regular mail to him and to the Corporate Social Responsibility officer listed below at the address provided. Please email it to the other two executives using the webpage links for them presented below.

If you would like to call Verizon’s corporate headquarters, the number is 212-395-1000.

Senior executives at Verizon
Hans Vestberg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Rose Stuckey Kirk, Corporate Social Responsibility Officer
Jim Gerace, External Communications and Media Relations, email form:
Manon Brouillette, Verizon Consumer Group, email form:

Chief Executive Officer at RCN
John Holanda, Chief Executive Officer
PO Box 11816
Newark, NJ

Sample letter to Verizon CEO

April 24, 2022

Mr. Hans Vestberg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
1095 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY

Dear Mr. Vestberg,

We have been Verizon customers for many years. We are very unhappy that we have to pay money each month through our Verizon bill to Fox TV. We have called and asked multiple times to have Fox removed from our cable TV package but have been told that it’s part of the News Bundle and cannot be removed unless all news channels are removed.

Fox TV is NOT news. Much of its content is inaccurate information and could more properly be described as propaganda. It fuels divisiveness and hate. We do NOT want our money supporting an organization that undermines our democracy and civility in our society.

If a resolution to this issue cannot be provided by Verizon, we will consider changing or eliminating our cable TV service, along with our Internet and landline services that are currently bundled with our cable TV service.

Please let us know what you are doing to stop forcing your customers who want good, informational news channels from paying money to Fox TV. If we don’t hear from you, we will assume nothing is being done and will pursue alternatives to our Verizon FIOS service.

Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter.

<Note: I’d recommend signing your letter by including your name(s), address, phone number, and an email address to indicate that you are serious and want an answer.>

[1]      I put News in quotes because Fox TV delivers more disinformation than news. Hereafter, I will refer to it as Fox TV and drop “News” because I don’t want to imply that it provides news. I also use “national” before Fox TV to make clear that my focus is on the national programming and not the programming of local Fox affiliates.

[2]      Drum, K., Sept.-Oct. 2021, “The real source of America’s rising rage,” Mother Jones   (



Note: If you find my posts too long or too dense to read on occasion, please just read the bolded portions. They present the key points I’m making and the most important information I’m sharing.

The on-going saga of corrupt, extreme capitalistic behavior by big corporations is manifesting itself dramatically in the wake of the pandemic in price gouging for the sake of increasing profits. This enriches wealthy shareholders, including corporate executives, while ripping off consumers. Some recent examples are presented below. (See this previous post for some background, ways to fight price gouging, and previous examples ranging from disposable diapers to gasoline.)

Giant meat processor Tyson Foods posted a $1 billion profit last quarter, a 48% increase, while increasing meat prices for consumers by double digits. The price of beef is up 16% over the last year, a significantly bigger increase than the already high 7.5% increase in the price of food in general. The four biggest meat processing corporations (Tyson Foods, Cargill, JBS, and National Beef Packing Co.) control over 70% of the market for beef and have tripled their profit margins during the pandemic. The Justice Department is investigating them for price fixing. [1]

Nike’s profit increased by 125% last year to $5.7 billion, but it’s blaming “inflation” for a 10.5% price hike on its expensive sneakers, which are made in Vietnam by workers earning less than a dollar an hour. Phil Knight, Nike co-founder and previous chairman and CEO, became $26.7 billion richer during the pandemic as the price of Nike’s stock doubled from March 2020 to April 2022, largely due to the growth in profits.

Price gouging of a slightly different sort is evident at Moderna, which received $2.5 billion from U.S. taxpayers to develop its COVID vaccine. Its pricing of its vaccine and its refusal to share production of it with others to serve the global need have led to a $12.2 billion profit in 2021, a huge turnaround from a $737 million loss in 2020. As a result, its stock price has increased from $20 in Feb. 2020 to $165 in April 2022. It has given its CEO a $923 million golden parachute and handed out $360 million in stock options to two top executives.

At Amazon, profits increased by 75% last year to a record $35 billion. A $20 price hike in a Prime membership was blamed on “inflation” while Amazon denied workers a $3 raise and illegally underpaid drivers. Executive Chairman Jeff Bezos became $81 billion richer during the pandemic as Amazon’s stock price increased 50% from March 2020 to April 2022.

Price gouging by the pharmaceutical industry has been routine for years. (See this previous post from Jan. 2022 and this one from Jan. 2019 for background.) Outrage over drug price gouging is growing and, with a specific focus on insulin, the drug diabetics require to stay alive, President Biden is calling for a limit on its price and the U.S. House has taken action to implement one. Price controls are one way to counter price gouging.

On March 31, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill, 232 to 193, to limit what diabetics have to pay for insulin to $35 a month or 25% of one’s insurance companies’ negotiated price, whichever is lower. One hundred ninety-three (193) Republicans (all but 12 of them) voted against reducing the cost of insulin for the 30 million Americans with diabetes who require it to live.

The fate of the bill in the Senate is uncertain. Last November, House Democrats passed a bill that would have addressed drug costs more broadly, including allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices. However, Republicans and a couple Democrats blocked that bill in the Senate. [2]

The price of insulin in the U.S. has soared from $21 in 1999 to $332 in 2019 and now costs ten times more in the U.S. than in any other wealthy country. This could happen only because there is no regulation or negotiation by the U.S. government to keep the price reasonable. There is no reason for the high price other than corporate price gouging as insulin is a 100-year-old drug. [3] However, only three companies – Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, and Eli Lilly – supply insulin in the United States. Estimates of the cost to produce a vial of insulin range from $2.28 to $6.16 depending on the version of insulin and other factors, [4] so the over $300 retail cost represents a huge mark-up and huge profits for the drug makers. (See this previous post for more detail.)

[1]      Puzzanghera, J., 2/19/22, “Why are beef prices so high? Some ranchers and White House say it’s more than just inflation,” The Boston Globe

[2]      Sprunt, B., 3/31/22, “House passes bill to cap insulin prices,” NPR (

[3]      Richardson, H. C., 4/1/22, “Letters from an American blog,” (

[4]      Silverman, E., 6/22/19,  “Insulin rationing high in US, survey finds,” The Boston Globe


Note: If you find my posts too long or too dense to read on occasion, please just read the bolded portions. They present the key points I’m making and the most important information I’m sharing.

Americans are pessimistic about the economy, the Biden administration, and Democrats in Congress despite the good news about jobs, unemployment, and wages. Although inflation, pandemic fatigue, partisanship, and the negativity of the mainstream media have a role to play, Americans’ economic insecurity probably plays a significant role. [1]

Over the last 40 years, economic insecurity has been increasing for middle and lower-income households. Many of these households see government policies undermining their economic security and are not optimistic that government is doing or will do much that will improve their economic well-being.

Middle and lower-income households in the U.S. have seen very little income (or wealth) growth in the last 40 years, while the rich have experienced big increases in income and wealth. This growth in economic inequality has been much more dramatic in the U.S. than in other wealthy democracies.

Furthermore, these households are now exposed to much more financial risk than they were 40 years ago. Jobs are much less stable due to off-shoring and the growth of contract, gig, and part-time work. When a job is lost, new jobs with similar pay and benefits are often hard to find. And unemployment benefits are generally not available to workers who are not full-time employees.

Retirement benefits are much less secure. They have been shifted from company sponsored plans with income and often health insurance guarantees to individual savings plans where the individual assumes the risks and responsibilities of saving and investing for their retirement.

Unions used to help by ensuring jobs had good pay and benefits, as well as some stability. Unionization had an impact not only on union jobs but on the economy as a whole because non-union employers had to compete with union employers to hire workers. However, unionization in the private sector has plunged from 35% in the 1950s to 6% today. This greatly reduces the power of workers in the job market and has led to an erosion of economic well-being and stability for workers.

The risk of bankruptcy due to a health crisis is very real as private insurance has introduced limits on coverage and increased co-pays, although access to reasonably good health insurance has been improved to some extent by the Affordable Care Act (aka Obama Care). The security of the equity in one’s home was shattered by the housing market collapse and the Great Recession of 2008. Debt from higher education has skyrocketed at the same time as the good jobs needed to pay back student loans have become harder to find and keep for many.

The effect of the pandemic on jobs and earnings was dramatic. Everyone is now aware of the risks of a pandemic and this undermines middle and lower-income workers sense of security. Many of the emergency pandemic economic measures made a real difference for these workers, but now it’s clear they were only temporary relief. Furthermore, the stress of the pandemic, along with that of political divisiveness, climate change (and the related crises from forest fires to more frequent and powerful storms), as well as international conflicts, are additional unsettling influences on people’s state of mind.

Finally, Americans are not optimistic that government and its leaders will effectively address their economic insecurity and stress. The failure of the Build Back Better bill – which would have supported families by extending the Child Tax Credit, helped them pay for child care, strengthened the health insurance system, reduced the price of drugs, reduced the cost of higher education, etc. – does not give middle and lower-income households any faith that help is on the way. By the way, all of the factors increasing economic insecurity have, of course, hit Black and Latino households harder the white households.

The termination of pandemic economic assistance policies, despite their popularity, indicates to middle and lower-income households and workers – the bulk of the American public – that the U.S. political system is broken and does not, and cannot be expected to, work for them and reduce their economic insecurity.

Given all of this, it’s not surprising that the public is pessimistic about the economy and the government, even if there are jobs to be had and pay is increasing.

[1]      Hacker, J. S., & Kapczynski, A., 3/22/22, “The great disconnect,” The American Prospect (


Note: If you find my posts too long or too dense to read on occasion, please just read the bolded portions. They present the key points I’m making and the most important information I’m sharing.

The good news: First, the U.S. economy is creating lots of jobs: 1.7 million in the first three months of 2022. Wages are up 5.6% over the last year while unemployment continues to fall and is near its all-time low at 3.6%. The number of Americans getting unemployment benefits is at a 50-year low. [1] (These figures are particularly impressive given that many workers are re-entering the workforce after dropping out during the pandemic.)

This economic recovery in the U.S. is extraordinary; it has happened eight years faster than the recovery after the Great Recession of 2008 and is stronger than in other countries. Much of the credit belongs to the American Rescue Plan, passed in March 2021, which injected $1.9 trillion into the economy, spurring its recovery. It was passed by Democrats in Congress without a single Republican vote and enthusiastically signed into law by President Biden, who had been championing its passage.

Second, consumer spending is rising. This indicates that individuals and families are doing better economically and have money to spend. It’s also good for the overall economy, which is fueled by consumer spending. Business at restaurants, hotels, and airlines is increasing.

Third, workers at Amazon’s huge warehouse in New York City voted strongly to unionize (2,654 to 2,131). They overcame strong opposition from Amazon to form the first union of Amazon employees. This is one of the biggest wins for union organizing in decades, in part because Amazon is the country’s second largest employer and has 1.6 million employees globally. It also comes in the face of decades of declining unionization where the percentage of workers in unions has dropped from roughly 33% (one in three) in the 1940s to 20.1% (one in five) in 1983 to 10.3% (one in ten) in 2021. There has also been a series of unionization victories at Starbucks. [2]

The bad news: First, inflation is high at 7.9%; its highest in 40 years, but similar to what it is in other countries. Increasing evidence is pointing to corporate price gouging as a significant contributor to “inflation.” Corporate profits rose 25% in 2021, the biggest increase since 1976, while hitting record highs and totaling $2.8 trillion. [3] Corporations are able to increase prices and profits because of a lack of competition, which gives them monopolistic power. This is profiteering, i.e., making an unreasonable profit on sales of essential goods, especially during emergencies. (See previous posts here, here, and here for more about price gouging, which is profiteering by a different name.) As a first step to stop price gouging, there is a Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax bill in Congress. [4] (See this previous post for more information.)

Second, soaring profits on Wall St. sent the average bonus senior employees received to a record $257,500! This is 20% higher than last year and the overall bonus pool is estimated to be $45 billion. [5] The U.S. system of extreme capitalism allows our elite financiers to make huge sums of money while many workers struggle to make ends meet. Thus, economic inequality continues to grow.

Third, the gender pay gap in the U.S. remains stubbornly high, declining only 1.1% in the last 37 years from 23.2% in 1994 to 22.1% in 2021. From 1979 to 1994, it had declined from 37.7% to 23.2%, in part because men’s wages were stagnant. The wage gap has persisted over the last 37 years despite the fact that the percentage of women with a four-year college degree has grown to 43.8% (from 23.8%) and now exceeds that of men (37.4% now and 25.1% in 1994). [6]

Fourth, David Weil, an expert on how employers cheat workers out of their pay, was rejected for confirmation to a key post in the Labor Department. The Senate voted not to confirm him with “No” votes from all Republicans and three Democrats: Manchin (WV), Sinema (AZ), and Kelly (AZ). The only explanation for this vote effectively condoning wage theft by employers is that these Senators value campaign funds from corporate donors more than they care about fairness for American workers. Employer wage theft is increasingly happening because employers misclassify workers as contractors instead of employees, thus bypassing labor standards such as minimum wage and overtime pay laws. [7] It also means that workers don’t get benefits such as paid sick and vacation time, health insurance, and retirement benefits. Employers also steal pay from employees by failing to pay extra for overtime, not giving workers their tips, and not including all hours on the job as paid time.

[1]      Ott, M., 3/25/22, “US jobless claims per week lowest since 1969,” The Boston Globe from the Associated Press

[2]      Weise, K., & Scheiber, N., 4/2/22, “Amazon workers on Staten Island vote to unionize in landmark win for labor,” The Boston Globe from The New York Times

[3]      Johnson, J., 3/31/22, “ ‘Their inflation strategy is working’: Corporate profits soared to record high in 2021,” Common Dreams (

[4]      Corbett, J., 3/17/22, “New campaign aims to ‘Stop the Oil Profiteering’ of fossil fuel giants,” Common Dreams (

[5]      Associated Press, 3/24/22, “Average Wall Street bonus last year reached record $257,500,” The Boston Globe

[6]      Gould, E., 3/10/22, “Equal pay day,” Economic Policy Institute (

[7]      Kuttner, R., 4/1/22, “The shame of corporate Democrats,” The American Prospect (