Hitting Beck where it hurts (redux)

HITTING BECK WHERE IT HURTS (REDUX)…. Glenn Beck recently attacked President Obama as “a racist” who harbors a “deep-seated hatred for white people.” ColorOfChange, soon after, began lobbying Beck’s advertisers.

The initiative has been surprisingly effective, and is starting to generate more attention.

About a dozen companies have withdrawn their commercials from “Glenn Beck,” the Fox News Channel program…. The companies that have moved their ads elsewhere in recent days included ConAgra, Geico, Procter & Gamble and the insurance company Progressive. In a statement that echoed the comments of other companies, ConAgra said on Thursday that “we are firmly committed to diversity, and we would like to prevent the potential perception that advertising during this program was an endorsement of the viewpoints shared.”

The campaign against Mr. Beck is rooted in an advocacy group’s objection to the commentator’s remarks on July 28. Given the number of advertisers that have pledged to remove their spots, it appears to have been unusually successful.

Its success also indicates that as commentary on cable news reaches a rhetorical boiling point, advertisers may become more skittish about being near it.

At this point, the advertising moves haven’t had any meaningful effect on News Corp. revenue. The companies that pulled their sponsorship of Beck, a self-described “rodeo clown,” have shifted their ad buys to other Fox News programming. The network is still cashing the checks.

Does that make the ColorOfChange initiative merely symbolic? That’s probably overstating things. Getting 12 corporate advertisers to move away from a lunatic host is no small feat, and it sends a signal to Fox News that even the Republican network will notice.

For that matter, the advertising shifts let the political world know that major businesses are sensitive about supporting race-baiting broadcasts, and are prepared to make changes when confronted with public pressure.