The NY Times reports about a dozen companies have withdrawn their commercials from Fox News’ Glenn Beck program, after Beck said late last month that President Obama was a racist with a “deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”
The companies that have moved their ads elsewhere in recent days included ConAgra, Geico, Procter & Gamble and Progressive Insurance. In a statement that echoed the comments of other companies, ConAgra said on Thursday that “we are firmly committed to diversity, and we would like to prevent the potential perception that advertising during this program was an endorsement of the viewpoints shared.”
The campaign against Beck is rooted in an advocacy group’s objection to his 7/28 remarks. Given the number of advertisers that have pledged to remove their spots, it appears to have been unusually successful.
Its success also indicates that as commentary on cable news reaches a rhetorical boiling point, advertisers may become more skittish about being near it.
Last month, Donny Deutsch, the ad exec and occasional host on CNBC and MSNBC listed some of the “Glenn Beck” advertisers and told MSNBC viewers that people who objected to Beck’s remark should write to the chief executives of the companies. In an interview, he said corporate decisions about where to allot ad dollars were the “ultimate check and balance.”
The sponsors’ shifts came after a campaign by ColorOfChange.org, a black political coalition, to contact sponsors of Beck’s program. The remark by Beck, a conservative radio host and comedian who joined Fox News in January, came not on his 5 p.m. talk show but on “Fox and Friends”.
Two days later, ColorOfChange asked its 600,000 members to sign a petition addressed to Mr. Beck’s advertisers. It says more than 100,000 have signed.
Fox told the NY Times the campaign had no financial effect.
“The advertisers referenced have all moved their spots from Beck to other day parts on the network, so there has been no revenue lost,” said a spokeswoman.