Steve Jobs ordered Apple ads off Fox News

Decision revealed in forthcoming book about 2012 presidential campaign


Add another one to the man's list of prudent business decisions.

As relates to his previously documented loathing of Fox News, it's now known that the late Steve Jobs backed up his harsh words by wisely withholding Apple's advertising dollars, according to an upcoming book about the 2012 presidential campaign.

The book's author, Jonathan Alter, a Bloomberg political columnist and contributor to MSNBC, tells of Jobs "personally ordering that Apple ads be removed from Fox News," according to a blog post in the New York Times over the weekend. Alter's book, "The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies," is scheduled to hit stores June 4.

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That the Apple co-founder held Fox News in low regard has been publicly known since the publication of Walter Isaacson's authorized biography in October 2011. Here's the key passage recounting a conversation Jobs had with Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp., which owns Fox News:


"You're blowing it with Fox News," Jobs told him over dinner. "The axis today is not liberal and conservative, the axis is constructive-destructive, and you've cast your lot with the destructive people. Fox has become an incredibly destructive force in our society. You can be better, and this is going to be your legacy if you're not careful." Jobs said he thought Murdoch did not really like how far Fox had gone. "Rupert's a builder, not a tearer-downer," he said. "I've had some meetings with (Murdoch's son) James, and I think he agrees with me. I can just tell."

While there's little reason to believe Jobs was right about the Murdochs' reticence, his decision to protect the invaluable Apple brand from being tarnished by association with Fox News was one that others would do well to emulate today. A quick look at shows the likes of Sprint, Nuance, Mercedes-Benz, Nstar and New Relic failing to take the same care with their corporate names.

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And another Fox advertiser, curiously enough, is the Public Broadcasting System ... but at least PBS may have something of a valid reason to do business with an organization that is dedicated to seeing public television destroyed: PBS is advertising its upcoming miniseries called "Constitution USA" hosted by Peter Sagal. Now if only those who run and watch Fox News would actually watch.

(Update: An anonymous commenter on Reddit offers: "I'm a media buyer and I know that MANY blue chip companies have Fox News on their do-not-use list including a couple of Apple's biggest competitors.") 

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