Fox’s Eagles promo will likely draw fine, turned into Trump website
The Birds promo, which heralded the Eagles' playoff momentum ahead of Sunday's Giants game, aged poorly.
An Eagles promo that aired during Fox NFL Sunday will likely draw a fine from the FCC, and a fake URL used in the ad has been turned into a promotional website for former President Donald Trump.
The promo was a fake emergency ad set to the warning tone of the Emergency Alert System, informing viewers that the Eagles were back in contention in the NFC East. Obviously, the spot didn’t age well, as the Eagles went on to lose Sunday to the Giants and now trail Washington in the NFC playoff hunt.
Using that tone for anything other than a emergency is problematic for broadcasters. Last year, ESPN was fined by the FCC over a rebroadcast of the 2011 documentary 30 for 30: Roll Tide/War Eagle, which used the tone. In 2019, ABC was fined $395,000 after simulated wireless alert tones were used in a skit on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
In 2015, the FCC fined ESPN, Viacom, and NBC a total of $1.65 million for broadcasting the movie trailer of the Gerard Butler vehicle Olympus Has Fallen, which featured the distinctive tone.
“As many of the complaints about [Emergency Alert System] abuse have said, misuse of the tone creates a ‘Cry Wolf’ scenario, which risks desensitizing the public to the significance of the tones in a real emergency,” the FCC said as part of its 2015 ruling against ESPN and Viacom.
Neither the FCC nor Fox Sports immediately responded to requests for comment.
That tone wasn’t the only mistake the network made: Fox didn’t bother to buy a dummy URL featured in the ad. It has since been bought and turned into a pro-Trump website featuring “Let’s Go Brandon” memes and videos attacking President Joe Biden.
The chant — a stand-in for a more vulgar criticism of Biden — also has a sports connection: At a NASCAR race in early October, NBC NASCAR reporter Kelli Stavast was interviewing race winner Brandon Brown when the crowd broke into a “[Expletive] Joe Biden!” chant. Stavast mistakenly thought they were cheering for Brown.
“As you can hear the chants from the crowd, ‘Let’s go Brandon,’ Stavast said.
“I think unfortunately it speaks to the state of where we are as a country,” NASCAR president Steve Phelps told reporters earlier this month. “We do not want to associate ourselves with politics, the left or the right. We obviously have and we’ve always had, as a sport, tremendous respect for the office of the president — no matter who is sitting.”
“Do we like the fact that it kind of started with NASCAR and then is gaining ground elsewhere? No, we’re not happy about that,” Phelps added. “But we will continue to make sure that we have respect for the office of the president.”
Fortunately for Fox, the fake phone number they included in the ad — 1-FLY-EAGL-FLY — is not an active number, since there’s no 359 area code in the United States.