Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Boycott Against Glenn Beck Will Backfire

Glenn Beck, the conservative commentator and star of one of the most successful shows on Fox News, is under attack. And as Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly proved, under attack is the best place for a conservative commentator to be. It allows the blusterer to play victim – and it gives a savvy spin doctor a chance to rile up his base.

First, let’s get you up to speed. Last month, Glenn Beck told the hosts of Fox & Friends that President Barack Obama has a “deep-seated hatred for white people.” That statement apparently wasn’t explicit enough, so Beck made sure everyone understood his point: “This guy is, I believe, a racist,” he said.

Plenty of folks on the left have accused Beck of treason for his comments. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume his internal filtering mechanism was temporarily disabled. What is the appropriate response to that kind of rhetoric? For his part, Bill Shine, Fox’s senior vice president of programming, told TVNewser that Beck had expressed a “personal opinion which represented his own views, not those of the Fox News Channel.”

But that wasn’t enough for some of Beck’s advertisers, who began this week to pull spots from “The Glenn Beck Program.” Among the companies that removed advertising were Progressive, Geico, Radio Shack and Roche. Meanwhile, a political group called ColorOfChange.org is circulating a petition, asking consumers to boycott Beck’s show.

“Beck is on a campaign to convince the American public that President Obama’s agenda is about serving the needs of Black communities at White people’s expense. It’s repulsive, divisive and shouldn’t be on the air. Join us in calling on Beck’s advertisers to stop sponsoring his show,” the petition reads.

What Beck's detractors forget is that controversy increases ratings.

And, ultimately, that's why these attacks against Beck will backfire. Few people knew who Don Imus was until he made his "nappy haired ho's" comment. Relatively few, anyway. Now, everybody knows who Don Imus is. Even though Imus lost his job, he's more popular than ever. Howard Stern (who I consider to be a complete degenerate) has built an industry shocking people. The more outrageous he became, the bigger his program.

To be sure, most Fox News hosts aren't really that controversial. Yes, the left considers O'Reilly, Hannity and others to be radical extremists. But they've built their audience, not on controversy, but more on presenting news stories and commentary from a viewpoint more consistent with the majority of Americans.

Beck takes a different approach. Rush Limbaugh occasionally says that he illustrates the absurd by being absurd (or something to that effect). This is what Beck does. He's a little off-beat and quirky. His views are perhaps a little off-kilter, even for the majority of the Fox audience. But he is entertaining, cute, and makes a lot of sense. Add to those attributes "controversial" and you have a can't lose combination.


Mango's Madness August 25, 2009 at 10:52 PM  

This empty suit that sits in the Black House is being controlled by higher powers. He can not stand anyone to confront his BS doctrines!
He hates anybody who is white and prospering! I applaud Glen Beck, and I am Apache.

Soloman August 26, 2009 at 1:08 AM  

Excellent insight. I agree, and his ratings upon his return Monday prove your points are accurate.

However, I disagree that "his internal filtering mechanism was temporarily disabled."

The next day on the radio he took those thoughts and explained them thoroughly, adding statements such as "I am not willing to bow before the King." and "The media is asking me to explain why I think the president is a racist. {dramatic pause} Okay!"

He then went on to provide much information to make his point.

Beck either truly believes what he said, or he thoroughly planned to "illustrate the absurd by being absurd."

Either way.. you put together an excellent commentary on the subject. Kudos.

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