More advertisers are pulling their spots from Glenn Beck's Fox News program in the wake of the host's accusations that President Obama is "a racist" with a "deep-seated hatred for white people."
ConAgra (maker of Healthy Choice products), Roche, Sanofi-Aventis, and RadioShack have all signaled their intention to move advertising from Beck's 5 p.m. show. The companies join Lawyers.com, Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance, SC Johnson and Geico.
A network spokeswoman explained that the defecting advertisers "have redistributed to other programming on the network, so there has been no revenue lost."
Non-profit African American political organization Color of Change spearheaded an e-mail campaign targeting the show's advertisers.
"Advertisers realize that it's probably a bad idea to have their brand associated with the rhetoric of Glenn Beck," says James Rucker, executive director of Color of Change.
"People have products to sell. We understand that. But to say the things Beck has said, which are clearly baseless and to have those things get put out there and validated as part of a news program, that has consequences."
Right-wing groups including RedState.com have mounted a counter-attack, asking followers to send their own e-mails to the advertisers.
State Farm Insurance is also "evaluating" its ad buys. Phil Supple, a representative from the insurance giant posted a comment on Media Matters clarifying the company's position.
"We have a policy of not advertising on political or opinion programming. We have corrected this issue and have taken steps to make sure it does not happen again. Understanding our millions of customers and thousands of associates hold a full spectrum of views on political issues, State Farm has a long-standing practice of not advertising in political discussion programming regardless of a program's political point of view. Because of the recent situation, State Farm is now evaluating its commercial placement practices to ensure its political issues advertising guidelines are maintained."
Beck made the comments July 28 during a discussion about the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on the network's morning show Fox & Friends. His words, though challenged by Fox & Friends anchor Brian Kilmeade spurred an immediate backlash. This prompted Bill Shine, FNC's senior VP of programming to issue a statement distancing the network from Beck's comments, saying that Beck "expressed a personal opinion which represented his own views, not those of the Fox News Channel."
Glenn Beck is FNC's third-highest rated program, averaging over 2 million viewers.
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