Liberals often claim they back free speech – except when they don’t like what is being said. Such is the case with the Glenn Beck boycott. A supposedly “nonpartisan” group pushed by liberal front groups and Web sites has been targeting Fox’s “Glenn Beck Show” since July. Their goal has been to get advertisers to withdraw. Organizers claim to have passed the 100 mark in companies that won’t push their wares on Beck.
StopBeck.com is a Web site completely devoted to urging “sponsors to stop supporting Glenn Beck’s brand of hate with advertising dollars.” They claim numerous prominent companies have stopped advertising with Beck as a result of their efforts. Those include: Wal-Mart, Honda, Best Western, Geico, Applebees. On Feb. 8, the site claimed “StarKist (tuna) became the 102nd sponsor to drop Glenn Beck.” No one from Star Kist responded to e-mail form the Business & Media Institute.
If all those advertisers have actually dropped, it’s an impressive list. But the anti-Beck site hedges its numbers. At least nine of those advertisers, including Honda, advertised on Beck’s show in the United Kingdom. Those aren’t ads that necessarily ran on American shows whatsoever. In fact, a quick analysis of the dropped advertisers shows that the campaign is sputtering out in the United States. Just seven advertisers have agreed to pull their ads in 2010 and nearly half of those have been in Britain.
The remaining four include: Best Western, Virgin Atlantic and GlaxoSmithKline, all with international ties. Only StarKist (tuna) would appear to be a product of the American boycott.
But that doesn’t minimize the organization behind the boycott. It is a concerted effort including some of the left’s top Web sites, like Huffingtonpost, Thinkprogress.org and the DailyKos. Each time an advertiser drops, the news is celebrated on different liberal sites. At HuffingtonPost, the issue reappeared on a regular basis when they wrote about Beck.
In October, Color of Change founder James Rucker wrote: “Great news today in our campaign against Glenn Beck. We're announcing that nineteen more of Beck's advertisers have stopped supporting his show.” Rucker, who started the organization with controversial Obama appointee Van Jones, was just one of many HuffingtonPost authors to highlight the advertiser issue.
The left-wing groups also went after Beck for his gold advertisers. According to ThinkProgress, it “pointed out that Fox News’ Glenn Beck used his television to scaremonger about the dollar and promote investment in gold while failing to disclose the financial support he receives from gold companies.” Beck humorously responded to such criticism by admitting he actually took money from advertisers.
Back in August, Plymouth, Wisc.-based Sargento Food, Inc., along with several other companies, pulled its advertising from the Beck program. Sargento spokesman Barbara Gannon told the Business & Media Institute at the time “we do not want to be associated with hateful speech used by either liberal or conservative television hosts.”
The advertiser attack has been mentioned all across the left-wing media – even in Britain. Since the new year, both MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show” and CNN HLN’s “Joy Behar Show” have mentioned the boycott.
Sometimes, it appeared in little known publications like the Student Sun portion of Pennsylvania’s Hanover Evening Sun. The Feb. 5, 2010 article claimed since the initial boycott, “dozens more advertisers jumped off Beck's slowly-rotting bandwagon to go to other time slots on the network.”
The left hasn’t just attacked Beck’s advertisers. One site, claiming it was a “parody/satire,” asked an outlandish and offensive question about whether Beck had harmed a young woman in 1990. The site didn’t even claim he had done wrong, “although we haven't yet seen proof that he didn't.”