Today Fox and Glenn Beck’s production company said that Beck, “will be transitioning off his daily Fox News program.”
I’m very happy to hear this (don’t let Bones see me smiling). Beck and Fox are trying to spin this as some kind of “moving on to greater things” action instead of what it is; a big defeat for them and huge win for us. Beck is going off the air at Fox because of a successful, sustained action to convince advertisers that Beck is bad for their brand.
The folks at Color of Change and Angelo Carusone of @stopbeck (now directing the DropFox program at Media Matters) did all the heavy lifting in this work and I hope that the media covering this story will talk to them about it. However, knowing the media as I do, I doubt it.
The media will talk to a Beck spokesperson, a Fox spokesperson and some “expert” who has no real knowledge of the real financial situation at Fox, who will dismiss it as no big deal since Murdoch is still richer than God and NewsCorp made their projected numbers. Later this year John Stewart will have Beck on the show when he is ready to push his new programs and Barbara Walters will name Beck one of her “Most Fascinating People of the Year” Meanwhile there will be multiple magazine and newspaper profiles of Beck instead of Gabe, Rudy and the other fine folks at Color of Change or Angelo at Media Matters.
David may have defeated Goliath, but Goliath still has all the PR people on his payroll.
Beck leaving Fox shows that some propaganda purveyors are not acceptable to corporations. Blatant propaganda needs to be subsidized even though the corporations would still like to make money on it. (Nobody talks about think tanks as money losing organizations, yet that is what they are).
Beck losing his daily TV show should be a reminder to the left that advertiser alert programs are one successful way to impact right wing TV hosts. Presente did it with Lou Dobbs. I did it with radio hosts Melanie Morgan and Lee Rodgers at KSFO.
NewsCorp, a public company, should acknowledge the left’s advertiser alert program-but they won’t. NewsCorp and Murdoch have tried to dance around the impact of the advertiser alert campaign since it started. The media didn’t want to question him on the impact, so I did. For those of you who haven’t heard the story let me tell you about it.
How I Rubbed Murdoch’s Nose In Beck’s Advertiser Losses
I met with the Color of Change folks after their initial successful campaign to convince advertisers to leave. 81 advertisers left Beck’s TV show. I suggested contacting shareholders to point out to them that Beck isn’t making as much money as his ratings would indicate. I then contacted top NewsCorp and media financial analysts as well as the major NewsCorp institutional investors and pointed out the loses and suggested they question Murdoch about how long he will subsidize Beck. Here is one of my later letters to the largest NewsCorp institutional investor.
Next I contacted the advertising trade press and business press and pointed out that Beck wasn’t making the kind of money he should be even with good ratings and maybe they could ask Murdoch about it (I didn’t publish any of those letters). I hoped that one of them would ask Murdoch about it, but they were more interested in his plans to greenlight an Avatar sequel.
Finally, during a financial conference call last May I asked Murdoch myself.
I know that you don’t break out revenue numbers for Fox News beyond the top line, but with 81 advertisers leaving the Glenn Beck show following the Color of Change action, the show now seems limited to in house ads and gold ads. Do you have a time frame for how long Fox will subsidize the show until it to starts to generate revenue in line with its ratings?
Here was Rupert Murdoch’s response:
“It’s not subsidizing the show at all. And it’s giving a terrific kick off to the whole evening schedule. It has plenty of advertising, and those advertisers you talk about, I don’t think there is anything like that number, but if there were they are on other shows.”
Murdoch’s response was treated as a legitimate response and not as a violation of the Sarbane Oxley Act of 2002 which requires the CEO to know what is happening financially inside his company. This isn’t the only case of Murdoch’s lack of knowledge about the internal workings of Fox within NewsCorp, but nobody is going to tell the SEC. I guess if a RW CEO says it, it must be true, even if it is a demonstrable lie.
I wish that some people on the left could seize the opportunities to impact RW media when they present themselves. Then I want them to press the advantage. If opportunities don’t present themselves, we have to create them. That is what I did.
I spent a lot of time developing concepts and methods that would work against right wing media and I did it without violating their First Amendment rights. I’m always pleased when some of these same techniques are used against race baiters like Glenn Beck.
I want to thank everyone who retweeted @stopbeck’s tweets to advertisers, who wrote letters during the Color of Change campaign or during the Tides Foundation campaign.
I also want to thank all the corporation communications people, the VPs of marketing, PR and HR would understood that you shouldn’t taint your brand by associating with someone like Glenn Beck. You have helped make America a less nasty place. This time you weren’t on the side of lies and ignorance. Feel good about yourselves for a bit. You did the right thing.