TIDES FOUNDATION REACHES OUT TO BECK ADVERTISERS…. Over the summer, a man named Byron Williams loaded up his mother’s truck with firearms, put on body armor, and headed to San Francisco with the intention of starting a violent rampage. He had an arsenal that featured armor-piercing rounds fired from a .308-caliber rifle.

After being pulled over for driving erratically, Williams, a rabid Glenn Beck fan, opened fire on Oakland police officers. They, however, weren’t his intended target — his goal was to “start a revolution” with bloodshed at the Tides Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports “sustainability, better education, solutions to the AIDS epidemic and human rights,” but which Beck considers a cog in some larger conspiracy to destroy capitalism.

As it turns out, the prospect of a madman plotting a murderous rampage has left the Tides Foundation feeling unsettled.

In an extraordinary move to nip the inflammatory commentary coming from Glenn Beck, the founder and CEO of the Tides Foundation (a frequent Beck target) has written advertisers asking them to remove their sponsorship of the Fox News program or risk having “blood on their hands.”

Drummond Pike, who along with his organization was recently targeted by an assassin inspired by Beck’s program, penned a letter on Friday to the Chairmen of the Boards of JP Morgan Chase, GEICO, Zurich Financial, Chrysler, Direct Holdings Americas, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Lilly Corporate Center, BP, and The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.

In it, he detailed the alarm he felt over having a “person carrying numerous guns and body armor” attempt to start a “revolution” by murdering “my colleagues and me.”

Pike’s correspondence added, “I respectfully request that you bring this matter of your company’s sponsorship of hate speech leading to violence to the attention of your fellow directors as soon as possible. I believe no responsible company should advertise on Fox News due to its recent and on-going deplorable conduct.”

Time will tell whether this has any effect, but the Tides Foundation going directly to these companies, pressing them on the advertising on the Republican network, is clearly a bold move.

It also ties into Fox News’ ongoing problem in this area: as of last month, “296 advertisers have asked that their commercials not be shown on Beck’s show (up from 26 in August 2009). Fox also has a difficult time selling ads on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ and ‘Fox and Friends’ when Beck appears on those shows as a guest.”

This from a host who’s lost more than a fourth of his audience since the highs of 2009.

It’s something to keep in mind as those sponsors receive the Tides Foundation’s request, and consider their next ad buy.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.