24 August 2009

Boycotting Glenn Beck

Earlier this summer Glenn Beck made a fool of himself on a Fox News talk show by blurting out his suspicion that the President had a deep-seated hatred of white people, only to deny in his next breath that he had said that Obama hates whites. It was all too funny to annoy me, but Beck's claim that the President is a racist has infuriated an organization known as ColorOfChange.org, which has been lobbying advertising to pull out of sponsoring Beck's own program on Fox News. They have apparently convinced a number of sponsors to ask Fox to run their ads during different hours.

I'm sure that some Republicans have already declared this campaign another instance of double standards at work. To an extent they have a point. If it is intolerably offensive to accuse someone of racism, then it must be equally offensive to accuse Republicans and conservatives of racism, as happens often in the media. But it appears to be more offensive for someone to accuse Barack Obama of racism, to the point that Beck's accusers imply that he is the racist for making the charge. Putting it more broadly, the partisan talking heads on TV and radio routinely make gross charges against the leaders of the enemy party. If a pro-Republican or so-called conservative pressure group tried to get sponsors to abandon MSNBC's prime-time programming to protest the hosts' abuse of Republicans, the cry of "censorship" would be heard more strongly than I hear it now during the campaign against Beck.

If sponsors decide on their own that they don't want to be associated with an idiot like Beck, that's their business. A campaign of the kind now underway is less about businesses keeping their consciences clear than it is about driving Beck off television. That bugs me. TV might be better off without his stupidity, but that's a decision for viewers to make. Their decision may reflect poorly on them to the extent that they fall for Beck's buncombe, but before anyone decides that the decisions about who gets to talk about the news on TV should be made by someone else, it should be understood that applying any standard of fairness (especially under Bipolarchy conditions) would eliminate others besides Beck in the name of inoffensive neutrality. Some people may deem that a fair price to pay to be rid of all rabid partisanship in the media, but I wonder how many people really want to be rid of all partisanship, especially when partisanship itself dictates what's offensive and what isn't for many viewers. Singling out one person for exemplary punishment isn't going to solve the larger problem.

7 comments:

hobbyfan said...

Color of Change is no different than any other group of zealots in that they pressure advertisers to back away from hot-button topics (i.e. Glenn Beck's BS). I read about things like this all the time. You've of course heard of the American Family Association and how they wanted people to boycott "NYPD Blue" back in the day. "Blue" went on to win a ton of awards and lasted about a decade without further controversy from zealots acting in the name of religion. Color of Change is looking for a cause to call attention to themselves, and they got it. Too bad they used up almost all of their 15:00 already.

RHKINC said...

Someone should notice the people involved in Colorforchange.org (notably its founder) are members of Obama's administration.

Crhymethinc said...

And your point is? I'm guessing you're a right-winger. Which makes you as much a hypocrite as left-wingers. After all, members of the Bush administration were members of various anti-left groups. I didn't hear you complain about that. The bottom line is that the right-wing has earned it's reputation for prejudice. Obama has not. Quite frankly, this planet, and the human race, would be better off if every person with the "conservative" fear-mongering mentality of Hannity, Limbaugh, Palin, etc, were to simply drop dead. You'd be surprised at how quickly wars would end and poverty would be dealt with.

hobbyfan said...

RHKINC: I am aware that there are people currently or previously associated with Color of Change who are involved with the Obama administration. That alone may explain why they're in an uproar about Glenn Beck's remarks.

Come to think of it, looking at Beck's picture, he looks like a younger version of Limbaugh, but not necessarily smarter.

d.eris said...

There is now movement among Beck's supporters to boycott the groups that have pulled their advertisements from Beck's show. So, place an ad, face a boycott, pull the ad, face a boycott. Tangentially, I wonder how Bill O'Reilly's boycotts of France, Spain, Minnesota and Sean Penn are doing.

Samuel Wilson said...

d.: I guess that's "democracy" in action. Interestingly, it was because they thought that working-class people could be made to vote certain ways through the application of economic pressure that many people in Jefferson's time believed that no one without property could be trusted with voting rights. Little did those people suspect that the propertied might also prove vulnerable to economic pressure in other aspects of political life.

hobbyfan said...

In the long term, boycotts don't work, because the targets are being used as tools by the zealots as well as the radio gasbags and their dittohead fans. The loyal shoppers won't follow, because they probably don't listen to either side anyway.