It Is Time for USAA to Cease Advertising on Fox News

Summary: Fox News presents an intentionally distorted view of the world, supports a president who disparages military service and amplifies his lies which have led to the death of thousands of American veterans. This is in direct opposition to everything USAA stands for and the organization should immediately cease supporting Fox News through its advertising spending.

I have been a loyal member of USAA for 30 years. It is an excellent organization which provides well-designed financial products at fair prices delivered with terrific service.

According to USAA, “The mission of the association is to facilitate the financial security of its members, associates, and their families…” Its core values are, “service, loyalty, honesty and integrity”. These are noble ideals and ones many patriotic Americans incorporate into their daily lives.

Like many who wish to be well-informed, I try to gather my news from multiple sources and read opinions from both right and left-leaning outlets. I regularly scan the headlines on I have become increasingly appalled by the slanted coverage on Fox — the fear mongering, the hyperbole, and the unnecessary exaggeration of political divisions. On Fox, elected officials do not disagree with their opponents via reasonable discourse. Rather, one politician always “slams”, or “blasts” those with whom they have an issue. Fox News labors to increase its ratings by depicting our nation as a country under siege by shadowy evil domestic foes, where the most lurid crimes are commonplace and any opponents of the GOP are misguided at best, and treasonous at worst. Trump makes frequent appearances on Fox and the network has increasingly become a propaganda arm for the president’s administration.

USAA is quite aware of this slant. In 2017, USAA briefly canceled advertising on Fox’s Sean Hannity show due to outrageous falsehoods, but soon reinstated its spending there and stated, “Our goal in advertising has always been to reach members of the military community who would benefit from USAA’s well-known commitment to service.”

Previously, I reached out to the CEO of USAA in writing and asked that the organization stop advertising on Fox News as its coverage breaches USAA’s core values of honesty and integrity. The reply I received stated that the organization advertises through a variety of channels to reach its members and potential members.

USAA, this is not good enough.

Of course, we have recently been confronted with proof that Donald Trump has gone much further in his actions that are antithetical to USAA’s mission. Fox News still supports the president to in all things, and yet USAA still supports Fox News with its advertising dollars.

In the last month it has come to light that Trump has disparaged military service on several occasions and he views those who serve as ‘suckers’ and ‘losers’. This accusation, originally reported by The Atlantic, has been corroborated by…Fox News.

It also come to light that Trump agreed to be interviewed and recorded by Bob Woodward over several months of this year in which the president stressed the deadliness of COVID-19, as well as the ease of its transmission via inhalation. Even as he gave those private interviews, Trump feared a weaker economy would hurt his reelection chances so he repeatedly took to the bully pulpit to downplay the risk of the virus and castigate those who chose to wear masks to ameliorate the pandemic. Not only has Fox News reported that the president did nothing wrong, it illogically has taken Woodward to task for not releasing this news sooner and denigrated any and all who have tried to draw attention to the true threat the virus poses to our citizens.

Fox News has also consistently parroted Trump’s accusation that COVID-19 is a ‘Democratic Hoax’ and ‘no worse than the flu’. Pew Research has shown that 80% of those who get their news from Fox believe that the media has exaggerated the risks of the pandemic.

Fox News has also repeated and amplified Trumps’ calls to not wear masks, ignore social distancing mandates and reopen indoor businesses such as bars, gyms and tattoo parlors. Early studies indicate that Fox News watchers were more likely to contract or die from COVID-19.

The result of Trump’s failed response to the pandemic is that the US has one of the highest COVID-19 death rates per capita in the world. A rate 200–500% that of Canada, Switzerland, Japan, Israel, Germany and Denmark. thousands of these fatalities are US veterans.

Yet USAA continues to advertise on Fox News.

Last week I reached out to the office of the CEO at USAA via email and received a polite return phone call. I asked if the organization would cease advertising on Fox News due to its content. I received the non-answer that the organization utilizes a large number of outlets to reach its members and its advertising is reviewed on a regular basis. I asked if there was anything Fox News could possibly do that would lead to USAA pulling its advertising. Would open support for the KKK be enough? Support for ISIS? Anything? I only received a repetition of the first non-answer.

I close by stating that USAA is a great organization with exemplary values. But the choices it makes matter for its reputation. Every time Laura Ingraham urges people not to wear masks and the screen then transitions to a USAA advertisement; the death of veterans is being subsidized by…other veterans. Every time USAA sponsors a Bret Baier monologue where he declares reports of Trump calling members of the military to be “suckers” and “losers” to be ‘fake news’ even though many of these statements have been made in public, it undermines the dignity of selfless service.

If USAA truly stands for service, loyalty, honesty and integrity then it cannot continue to support Fox News.

Note 1 — sources to back up claims in this essay can be found at the following urls:

Note 2 — I want to make perfectly clear that I did not serve in the US military. I was able to become a USAA member through my father’s service in the US Navy.



Recovering Hedge Fund Manager.

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