Drummond Pike, the founder and CEO of the Tides Foundation, wrote a letter to Fox News advertisers requesting that they withhold their ads from the network:
“I am writing to ask your company to take a simple step that may well save lives in the future. And it is not unimportant that taking this action will remove your company and its products from any connection to what could very likely be an unpleasant tragedy, should things remain as they are today. On behalf of my organization, and many others like it, I ask that you cease advertising on the Fox News Channel.”
This is a significant escalation from previous calls to withhold advertising from just Glenn Beck’s show. It is a much bolder strategy and long overdue. The wildly successful campaign by Color of Change and StopBeck has caused almost 300 companies to pull their ads from Beck. In the UK Beck has been running for eight months with ZERO ads, as all advertisers have abandoned the program.
However, none of this seems to have had much impact on Fox News and their decision to associate themselves with Beck. Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch have been unmoved by this demonstration of disgust for Beck’s hate mongering. It is, therefore, time to take it to the next level and demand that advertisers withhold their ads from all of Fox News and other News Corp enterprises. This letter by Pike is a good start that should inspire further action.
Pike is not a bystander in this debate. He was motivated to take this step as result of the constant hammering the Tides Foundation has endured from Beck. As a result of Beck’s dishonest and violent rhetoric, Pike and his staff nearly became victims of the inevitable result of such hostility. A Beck fan named Byron Williams was apprehended by police while he was on his way to kill people at Tides and the ACLU:
“Imagine, for a moment, that you were us and, had it not been for a sharp eyed highway patrolman, a heavily armed man in full body armor would have made it to your office with the intent to kill you and your colleagues. His motive? Apparently, it was because the charitable, nonpartisan programs we run are deemed part of a conspiracy to undermine America and the capitalist system, which is hogwash.”
Beck has not merely expressed a disagreement with Tides. He has attempted to associate it with a worldwide conspiracy against capitalism and freedom that includes ACORN, SEIU, health care reform, Eco-activists, Bill Ayres, George Soros, and of course, President Obama and his cadre of czars:
“Since his arrival at Fox in early 2009, Beck has repeatedly vilified Tides, suggesting we are intent on ‘creat[ing] a mass organization to seize power.’ He accuses the foundation of indoctrination and says we are ‘involved in some of the nastiest of the nasty.’ Beck tells viewers that Tides has ‘funneled’ money to ‘some of the most extreme groups on the left’ and that our mission is to ‘warp your children’s brains and make sure they know how evil capitalism is.’ In total, prior to the attempted rampage, Beck had attacked the Tides Foundation 29 times.”
There has been an enduring and sustained assault on people whom Beck regards as enemies of humanity. He calls them evil and associates them with Hitler and Stalin and Satan. He has called progressives a “cancer” that needs to be “cut out;” that they are vampires and that his viewers should “drive a stake through the heart of the bloodsuckers.” He warns that his perceived enemies are deliberately going to fly the “plane” of state into the trees, and that they are “taking you to a place to be slaughtered.” He recently told his viewers that “violence is coming” and that there will be “nothing but ugly and destruction.”
And after all of this, Beck’s psychosis permits him to make disingenuous pleas for non-violence. In August of 2009, I wrote an article that noted how disconcerting it was that Beck has to so frequently admonish his congregation to refrain from violence. And if he is in a position to call on them to stand down, can he also order them to advance? But the main point I addressed is that Beck cannot be allowed to maintain that he is opposed to violence when he is inciting his disciples on a daily basis. It’s as if he were saying…
“HEY! There is a mob of rabid, pillaging, Satanists on their way to rape your daughters and kill the rest of you. It’s time to stand up and fight back against these hordes who threaten everything we hold dear. They have spit on your flag and blasphemed your God and now they are here for your honor and your lives. And, oh yeah, when they get here you should be ‘forceful, but peaceful’ with them. After all, I don’t believe in violence.”
Of course he doesn’t. He would never respond with force to an angry mob threatening him or his family. I wonder how then he would explain why he carries a gun with him when he goes to the movies. What does he intend to do with it? Would he use it on mugger even though he asserts that he would not use it on demonic hordes seeking to force America and the world into slavery?
These are deliberately mixed messages. Beck doesn’t want his words to result in him being blamed for instigating a violent revolution, although that’s precisely what his actions suggest he is doing. You simply can’t scare people into believing that they are being mortally threatened without expecting them to defend themselves. And this is something that Tides’ Pike recognizes when he concludes his letter by saying…
“The next ‘assassin’ may succeed, and if so, there will be blood on many hands. The choice is yours.”
It is now incumbent on all of us to require that the advertisers subsidizing Beck make that choice. The companies that pay for Beck’s divisive and destructive sermonizing, and the network that carries it, do not deserve our patronage. This is an argument I’ve been making for years (see Starve the Beast) and I am glad that the Tides Foundation is signing on, although I am saddened by the events that precipitated it.
[Update:] Media Matters has started a petition aimed at News Corp shareholders. Take a moment to sign it and then tell your friends. News Corp took a beating today at their shareholder meeting over the multimillion dollar donations to the GOP and the Chamber of Commerce.