Is Glenn Beck too right wing even for Fox News?

Leading US brands pull advertising after presenter calls Barack Obama racist

It may in the end have little impact on the bottom line of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, but a fast-gathering boycott by some of America's best-known conglomerates of Glenn Beck, a conservative commentator on his Fox News channel in the US, is beginning to take on embarrassing proportions.

The baby-faced Beck joined Fox News in January and has quickly established himself as one of the network's stars by feeding the political prejudices of its mostly conservative audience. Indeed, his daily assaults against President Barack Obama and, in recent weeks his healthcare plans, have helped Fox achieve record ratings.

But Beck, who moonlights on the comedy circuit, stepped on too many sensibilities a few weeks ago, however, when he suggested that Mr Obama has a, "deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture". He went on: "I'm not saying that he doesn't like white people. I'm saying that he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist."

Spearheading the advertisers' boycott of his daily programme is an African-American online political group called Color of Change. Some 145,000 of its members signed a petition asking Beck's advertisers to stop supporting him and the response has been impressive.

On Monday alone, eight new top-brand companies said they were joining the already long roster of firms no longer willing to have their spots aired during Beck's show. They included Wal-Mart, the discount retailing chain, as well as two other big national retail giants, CVS and Best Buy.

"While advertising on Fox is part of our communication plan, we had not requested time on Glenn Beck's show specifically," a spokesman for the chemist CVS confirmed to the Huffington Post website. "We have instructed our advertising agency to inform Fox to ensure Glenn Beck's programme is not part of our advertising plan."



Glenn Beck: 'Our health care is better than Europe's


Other companies that had already agreed to spurn the show included Procter & Gamble, Radio Shack and Geico. None of these advertisers have said they will boycott the Fox channel entirely and thus are likely simply to shift their dollars to other programmes on the network's schedule. But their actions are beginning to resonate on the national stage, if only because it is proving to be remarkably successful.

It also comes at a time when the tone of public debate may have become more acerbic than ever before as opposing sides squabble over healthcare. Beck and some of his rivals, including Lou Dobbs on CNN, seem to be competing over whose insults about the President, liberals and Democrats are the most outrageous and rude. Dobbs distinguished himself this summer by supporting claims that Mr Obama is not, in fact, an American. "It's rare for a campaign directed at a TV show's advertisers to be this successful," said Color of Change founder James Rucker. "But we won't stop here. We're going to continue reaching out to Beck's remaining advertisers."



Glenn Beck: 'The radicals on the left want you to shut up'


Fans of Beck – and they are legion – are fighting back. They offer solace to their brethren and the broadcaster himself with a newly minted website. Called DefendGlenn.com, it boasts a "Turncoat List" of boycotting companies and urges visitors to contact them. "Tell them how big your family is and what you buy, and how much you used to spend on their products each month... and how you bought their competitor's product today," it advises.



Glenn Beck: 'Where the tough questions about health care reform?'


Fox News itself has had little to say of the boycott. It did however issue a statement soon after Beck made the allegations of racism, not on his regular show but on a morning programme called Fox and Friends, saying Beck had "expressed a personal opinion, which represented his own views, not those of the Fox News Channel".

Beck made the remarks after the President suggested that a white policeman who had arrested the black Harvard law professor Henry Louis Gates had acted "stupidly".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn