Glenn Beck claims that 298 advertisers boycotting his show (Update: 299 now) is irrelevant and insignificant. If that’s true, then why does Glenn Beck bother launching screeds like this one from his show today:

Okay, couple thoughts…

Note that Glenn Beck refuses to mention the StopBeck effort. Our feelings aren’t hurt, but his intentional refusal to mention us is revealing.  Glenn Beck is interested in falsely blaming his advertiser losses on some grand Obama conspiracy. But, we’re an actual grassroots effort. Telling the truth about the advertiser losses would expose Glenn Beck as a liar.  Also, just imagine how embarrassing it would be to explain that this guy and not the President of the United States is behind many of the lost sponsors.

It’s important to recognize that it is the advertisers that are boycotting Glenn Beck’s show. Many of these advertisers actually advertise on other Fox News shows. When Glenn Beck launches these diatribes, he brazenly dismisses concerns of the bulk of Fox News’ sponsors (something Murdoch is no stranger to either). Additionally, these rants inevitably encourage Beck devotees to attack companies that dropped Glenn Beck. Ginning up rage against Fox News’ sponsors seems counterproductive. Yet, that is precisely what Glenn is doing.

It is true that Glenn Beck remains on the air. But, it is false to claim that the effort isn’t working.  The goal is to get advertisers to drop Glenn Beck. This is happening. Case closed. It’s not our fault that NewsCorp, Fox News’ parent company, is forcing its shareholders to absorb the financial losses associated with keeping Glenn Beck on the air. And, make no mistake about it, there are real consequences:

  • First, the UK broadcast of his show has run without commercials for nearly 8 months. Dismiss it all you want because it’s the UK, but a loss is a loss – and a loss multiplied by 8 months worth of shows is a big loss.
  • Second, there have been plenty of reports that the advertiser losses do result in financial losses. Granted not as big a loss as an advertiser leaving the network as a whole, but a loss nonetheless.

Finances aside, the message from the market is clear: Glenn Beck’s reckless vitriol and willful deceit make him undesirable. Imagine for a moment if Fox News was preparing to launch a new show – and they knew in advance that 298 companies wouldn’t advertise on the show. Do you think they would go through with it anyway?

This begs the question then: Why is Glenn Beck still on the air, especially in light of his claim not to have a contract with Fox News?

I think the answer to this question is multifaceted.

In part, it’s because Fox News’ brass agree with Glenn Beck. In the past, they’ve defended him and continue to defend even his most outrageous claims (i.e. Murdoch agreed that Glenn Beck was “right” when he called President Obama a “racist” with a “deep seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”).

In part, it’s because Fox News is so committed to propagating a political ideology that they’re willing to absorb the financial loss associated with keeping Glenn Beck because they believe his presence advances their political agenda. Not to mention, Glenn’s more outrageous claims serve as a politically useful distraction.

And in part, it’s because Fox News is in a real bind. By keeping Glenn Beck they suffer even more damage to their already tarnished reputation. And, their non-Beck advertisers continue to get heat from Glenn Beck’s fans. But, if they let Glenn Beck go, his devotees will lash out at Fox News. Because Fox News mishandled this situation from the get-go, they’re currently in an uncomfortable situation with no good options.

Your efforts are working…

Glenn Beck’s tizzy suggests that the advertiser losses and the resulting complications are not nearly as insignificant as he and Fox News want you to believe.  Thanks to Media Matters, Color of Change, SEUI and other organizations for their work in holding Glenn Beck accountable.

And, special thanks to the participants in this effort. Your tweets and messages matter.

Onward we go…