Like many on this site and others, I've decided to take action against Glenn Beck in response to his stunningly inflammatory rhetoric. Yesterday, I sent emails to several of the show's (remaining) advertisers. Several have responded, though none so encouragingly as Binder & Binder, the Social Security advocacy firm. After the jump, my original message and the reply.
By this time I am sure you are aware of the repugnant accusations made by Glenn Beck, calling the president a "racist". I ask that you sincerely reconsider advertising on the Glenn Beck program. Regardless of political persuasion, the ludicrous and inflammatory remarks made by Mr. Beck only act to debase our national political discourse and inflame racial tensions. By advertising on the Glenn Beck program you are, indirectly though it may be, supporting this kind of rhetoric. There are some causes higher than the pursuit of more clients (a certainly justified cause); ensuring that hate is not allowed a national media platform is one such cause.
Please, pull your support from the Glenn Beck program and separate yourself from racial fear-mongering.
This morning, I recieved a reply from Binder & Binder:
[cinematical], my name is Dick Summer. I’m the guy responsible for Binder and Binder’s commercials. I fully agree with you concerning Glen Beck’s comments, and I have asked Fox News to remove our commercials from his program.
Glen Beck’s comments have been so far off the wall, that it’s hard to think that anyone with any common sense would take them seriously. In fact, I wonder if he’s been drinking again.
Here’s our problem. Our commercial buy on Fox News is contracted under a system called ROS – that’s run of schedule. What that means is we buy a certain number of commercials, and the network schedules them where they see fit. The big buck guys can afford to buy specific shows. We can’t.
So, Fox may or may not honor my request to remove our spots from any particular program. If they don’t, I can of course, not renew at the end of our broadcast contract…but not before. As with any contract, one party can’t simply decide not to fulfill its obligations to the other.
More important, Beck was a blip until all the attention his whacko statements have brought him resulted in boosting his ratings a full 10%. That’s huge. In the last couple of weeks, since this “controversy” he has gone from being an “also ran” to coronation as the new “cable news king.”
So here’s the bottom line: Fox has lost nothing, because the big buck sponsors who have enough money to buy time by the program as opposed to ROS have simply shifted their buys to other shows. So Fox loses no money now, and stands to gain tens of millions of new dollars because of the ratings increase… and Beck the blip becomes Big Time Beck, the nut case king.
Beyond explaining the situation to you, there’s not much else I can say, except…believe it or not I’m glad you decided to write. As a former broadcaster I know that most people wouldn’t bother, and that’s an important reason why there is so much junk on the air.
Dick Summer, Communications Director, Binder and Binder.
Beyond the fact that most of Beck's blue chip advertisers have jumped ship, there's the encouraging sign that advertisers do indeed recognize just how "off the wall" Beck has gone (even going so far as to suggest that Beck's rants are the product of relapsed drunkenness). Moral conscious, it appears, can indeed outweigh economic motivations.
However, Mr. Summer makes a good point in noting that Beck's overall ratings have gone up. This should motivate us to redouble our efforts - to make those ratings worthless to Fox News by showing any advertiser the true face of the Glenn Beck.