Monday, November 13, 2017

Ethanol and oil lobbies hope to influence Trump with commercials on 'Fox & Friends'

Advertising 101 says you have to go where your audience is. For energy and environmental cause lobbyists hoping to appeal to President Trump, that means taking out ads during Fox & Friends in hopes of catching his eye. The president is an avid watcher of the three-hour morning show, and often tweets ideas he heard on the show with a Fox & Friends hashtag.

"Knowing this, lobbyists for various energy and environmental causes have purchased ads on Fox in the hopes of fixing ideas in the president’s head as he deliberates taking certain executive actions," Dino Grandoni writes for The Washington Post. "The ads, often just 30 seconds long, are crafted for a time-constrained but still TV-obsessed commander-in-chief known for signaling to his national security team that he favors concise points whittled down to a single page."

The Advanced Biofuels Business Council helped fund an ad on Fox because, as Executive Director Brooke Coleman told Grandoni, "We decided that that was the straightest line to the president from a television perspective."

The debate between oil- and corn-producing states over how much ethanol and other biofuels should be mixed into the nation's fuel supply has been playing out on Fox for weeks now. After the Environmental Protection Agency proposed reducing biofuel requirements, powerful Corn Belt lawmakers like Chuck Grassley of Iowa forced the administration to abandon the idea.

"But after the Trump administration made that decision, oil refiners struck back with a 30-second spot on Fox last week in the hope of, like Grassley, catching the president’s ear and swaying him to their side," Grandoni reports. In response to the pro-oil Fueling American Jobs Coalition ad, a group of biofuel producers calling itself Fuels America fired back with an ad saying that the President "kept his promise, protecting manufacturing jobs" and cautioned viewers not to let oil refiners kill American farm jobs.

Not to be outdone, solar energy advocates are airing ads too. "A group of domestic solar manufacturers put together an ad that has aired over the past month across cable news — including  'Fox & Friends' and MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' — advocating against a key tariff over which Trump holds sway," Grandoni reports. And for good measure, in another ad the solar industry hired conservative pundit Sean Hannity to provide the voice-over.

Not all political ads are aimed at currying favor with the President. Activist Tom Steyer ran ads on Fox exhorting Trump's impeachment, but Fox threw out the ads because they were unpopular with the channel's conservative audience.

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