The Glenn Beck interview remarks regarding President Barack Obama and racism were backed briefly by News Corp. honcho Rupert Murdoch himself in a recent Down Under interview, leading to an open letter to Murdoch by Beck’s chief boycott organizer.
The remarks came in an interview on Sky News Australia, in an interview that sparked more media interest in Murdoch’s thoughts on blocking his company’s content from Google access. The interview was held Friday 11/6/09.
A transcription of his remarks on Huffington Post reads, “On the racist thing, that caused a [unintelligible]. But [Obama] did make a very racist comment about blacks and whites and so on, which he said in his campaign he would be completely above. And that was something which perhaps shouldn’t have been said about the President, but if you actually assess what he was talking about, [Beck] was right.”
ColorOfChange.org Executive Director James Rucker has fired off an open letter to Murdoch asking him to explain exactly what he meant by the statement, but suggesting that it would appear he is in complete accord with Beck on the matter.
ColorOfChange has led the boycott of Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck program and claims that to date over 80 advertisers have agreed to avoid it.
FNC says that most of them have simply requested that their ads be moved to other dayparts and says the boycott hasn’t cost them any business.
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann flagged Murdoch’s comments and watchdog Media Matters for America did as well, but otherwise the story has not made much of an impression on mainstream news outlets as near as we can tell.
RBR-TVBR observation: Yesterday we jokingly remarked that we will no longer be interested in FNC v. WH stories unless they go right to the top – Murdoch v. Obama. It appears that unbeknownst to us at the time, half of our request had already been granted.
However, Murdoch’s comment was brief and was inserted halfway into a 37-minute interview. Even FNC’s current chief antagonist seems to feel there is at least a tiny amount of interpretive wiggle room, should Murdoch choose to expand on his remarks.
The White House has used its blog to address media issues from time to time. So far, nobody there seems to be rising to the bait on this one.