Color Me Offended

Friday, August 21, 2009


After Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck called President Obama a racist , the online liberal group got 20 or so of Beck's advertisers to remove their ads from his show. But Fox is still getting their ad dollars. Plus, why not just turn off the TV if you don't like a program? Executive Director James Rucker explains what the group accomplished.

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Comments [27]

David C Rowe from United States

Why is it that Back and his staff out-vetted the administration and out-reported the real reporters on Van Jones?

Sep. 09 2009 11:25 AM
Ryan C. from Brooklyn, NY

I am a fan of your show and especially your non-partisan approach to interviews. But This week I was disappointed when you called Bill Maher's comments about the 9/11 terrorists "astonishingly stupid", that was uncalled for. Insensitive? Yes. Stupid? No. There in nothing inaccurate in Maher's comments but they were ill-timed and therefore insensitive. But your comment, even eight years after the fact, highlight an issue that is still prevalent in America. Whether it is about race, the economy, health care or terrorists this country still "can't handle the truth" (Jack Nicholson's Col. Jessup in A Few Good Men). When will this begin?
I hope Bob that you see the error in your ways and make amends to Mr. Maher post haste. If not "the terrorists win" :)

Aug. 30 2009 06:30 AM
Mike H from Naperville Il

Glen Beck is a constant thorn in the side of the administration and the adminstration’s “green job Czar”, Van Jones, is also the head of an organization running this boycott and OTM neglects to mention this?

Are you kidding me?

This was passes for watchdog journalism these days Bob?

Aug. 25 2009 02:16 PM
Jack from Chicago

Color me bored with Bob's never-ending, pathetic vendetta against Fox. The envy is palpable: "Well, I hate to break your heart as much as the news broke mine, but Glenn Beck got the highest ratings of his career - this week."

Color me dumbfounded with Rucker's ignorance "I'm not in the advertising business but, you know, common sense supply and demand tells me that when you have everyone leaving a show, the actual value of the ads on that show will likely go down. Secondly, I think, and this is actually important, if the only advertisers that Beck can attract are obscure, non-household names, it marginalizes the show." Actually if new demanders come in, the price can be maintained or go higher if ratings attract more advertisers. Since when do the quality of the advertisers affect the show's quality and what would that say about advertising-free OTM?? I wager the advertisers will come back in droves as the controversy dies and if his ratings stay respectable.

I think Beck was using racism in the sense of favoring one race over another as opposed to hatred-based racism. Beck's show is criticism-based journalism, and as OTM makes clear with its brand of the same, facts play a very small role.

Aug. 25 2009 02:04 PM
Mark Richard from Columbus, Ohio

I don't know which is worse, though, the 'stupidity' of anyone (seems to be the Left does more of this sort of race-baiting than the Right, but never mind) who throws terms like 'racist' around without much definition . . . or the insufferably smug attitudes of some publicly-subsidized journalists I could name, who get their knickers in a twist at 'right-wing' rhetoric, while failing to grasp that equally stupid and nasty things are said by the Left - making the attempt for rhetorical high ground by either side of the political divide a wash to the average consumer. How about all those people slandered as 'racist' for criticism of Obama by mainstream pundits like Chris Matthews and Joe Klein? Or is Obama entitled to more solicitude? I suppose if I remind OTM that Obama is the public's servant, not its master, I'll get the 'gotcha' treatment about using language redolent of historical racism from our Easily Outraged Liberal lobby.

Beck and the people who profess to be offended by his rhetorica probably deserve each other; the latter seize on easy targets mainly to prove to themselves how superior they are to Bill Maher's stereotypically 'stupid' American; in the meantime, consumers who have heard variations of Beck's nonsense from both Left and Right don't really turn a hair. Or did I miss that 'On the Media' segment ridiculing Professor Gates for his own Beck-style rhetoric, and President Obama for endorsing it, and criticizing much of the initial coverage of l'affaire Gates for making the automatic assumption that everything negative that happens to African-Americans is due to - wait for it - 'white racism'? In this case, a particular individual, Crowley, was being slandered and press accounts were uncritical, but OTM didn't rush to his defense.

Maybe the bigger point is that the politics of race, racism, race-talk, and race-consciousness lowers IQs of a lot of otherwise intelligent people.

Aug. 25 2009 12:48 PM
Afi Scruggs from Cleveland, Ohio

"Plus, why not just turn off the TV if you don't like a program?"

It's not about the program; it's about protesting Beck's opinion and standing up for a belief. That use of the boycott is not limited to any one political group or organization.

For example, the Southern Baptist Church organized a boycott against Disney when the company instituted spousal benefits for employees in same-sex relationships.

When I was a child in Nashville in the 1960s, the African American community organized boycotts that were instrumental in bringing down segregated movies, stores, etc.

The strategy works best, however, when the boycotters have a clear, attainable outcome: e.g.e, force a company to rescind or implement certain policies; get a broadcaster off the air or to apologize for comments.

My problem with the Color of Change and its boycott is this: I don't know what the goal is.

Aug. 24 2009 11:23 PM
Llewellyn Miller from Claremont, CA

Bob Garfield made two remarkable comments during the show:
He suggested that effort by the against Glenn Beck had first amendment implications. The first amendment restrains Congress, not private citizens.
After this quote of a deputy cultural minister, " our constitution respects freedom of thought and freedom of expression, but that should come with respect for society as a whole and for moral behavior", Garfield stated that the two aspects (of respect) were antithetical and mutually exclusive. Really? Are we in absolutist territory where respect for other rights like privacy and fair trials are so clearly subordinate?

Aug. 24 2009 07:03 PM
William from California

I think this piece says more about the current state of our media. The story is not about what beck says,but where he says it and why?.

We all have seen rants like this throughout televisions short history most of them on talk shows. This is pure propaganda aimed to disrupt society, it always has been.

This propaganda comes from other people mostly in the form of Private Corporations who do not want to intelligently discuss the merits,facts, finances, or science behind the argument,debate etc.

The language/words that come out of beck's mouth are just the tools employed to get the desired response.

I truly believe you can pull any willing jackass off the street and program him to say anything you want them to say for money. They just seem to cover the wires coming out of beck's ass a little better.

Funded by Advertisers who make money off of consumers.

Aug. 24 2009 06:07 PM
Ana Landis Velazquez from New York, NY

Not a fan of Glenn Beck, but Rucker's sophomoric interview sounded like it was taped in the back room of a coffee shop in Berkeley where he just finished a space brownie...
I'd rather know where people stand and I think the free speech issue rules here. The pulling back of some advertisers helps "Color of Change" feel some legitimacy, but ultimately the end result (Beck's highest ratings EVER) show that his audience loves this kind of controversial comment.

Aug. 24 2009 05:11 PM
Joanne Scutero

Perhaps all television and radio shows which are basically forums for opinion (on the right and the left) should contain a reminder at the beginning of each airing that any facts presented in connection with the opinions presented (no matter how persuasive and indisputable they may seem), are likely to be only those which support that person's opinion, and that an opposing viewpoint is likely introduce them to a different set of facts on the same issue (and may also possibly discredit or discount some or all of the facts presented on the show that's about to be presented). We don't trust cigarette smokers to remember that smoking is bad for their health (which is why we put a warning on every single package of cigarettes). Why then, do we not feel it's necessary to remind people that facts can also be abused and misused?

Aug. 24 2009 12:46 PM
tony from Virginia

I it is say? That we look at what a person is saying and what they have said in past.
Then look in to there life? Is what do, the same as what say ? Then we judge, yes we all do.
President Obama like all past president is and should be question. About what say and do.
A question is out,to do this for the us.

Aug. 23 2009 09:10 PM
Mel Callans from Los Angeles, CA

Keep up the good work Color of Change and James Rucker! Doesn't anybody remember O'Reilly boycotting Pepsi for using a rapper in their advertisement because he felt he was a bad example for "THE CHILDREN" that may become gangsters after drinking Pepsi.

It is about time somebody stood up to the fascist, right-wing, hate-mongers and I hope that Glenn Beck is relegated to screaming out his "rodeo clown"'s opinion from a soap box in Times Square. That would be the most appropriate venue for his hate speech.

Remember what the conservatives told us "America - LOVE OR LEAVE IT!!

Aug. 23 2009 08:47 PM
Lisa Hein from Ames, Iowa

I want to know that Glen Beck's is a racist. The only way to know that is to let him speak. However, if we as a people and as individuals do not call him on it, then we are letting his statements go unanswered - so we may as well be accomplices.

Aug. 23 2009 08:32 PM
Jodi Smith from Oregon

Interesting comments all, but as regards to Maher's comment about the 9/11 perpetrators. I remember thinking at the the time that Maher was wrong. It was supremely cowardly of them to commit suicide at the same time as they murdered so many, so they did not have to face human justice. I am not for lobbing missles at innocent civilians in the hopes of getting one combatant, but it is much easier to kill and then kill yourself than to face the world after killing.
There are multiple examples: The Columbine shooters, the many men who have shot up offices and schools and then kill themselves. Cowards all, can't face their victims' families. I suppose this argument is dependent on your definition of cowardliness.

Aug. 23 2009 11:08 AM
Chris from Yonkers

Why is questioning the semantics of 'cowardice' astonishingly stupid - in your words? I think it is just clarifying the meaning. It is hardly cowardly by any cultural measure to give your life for your cause. It may be crazy or ignorant, cruel or awful - but not astonishingly stupid by a long shot.

Shooting people with missiles from a distance - well, I could absolutely see how he would characterize that as cowardly. I don't agree but I get it.

Aug. 23 2009 10:27 AM
Robert from NYC

I hope your Lou Dobbs remark was irony!

Aug. 23 2009 10:24 AM
Robert from NYC

Where's the logic in saying that he doesn't think Obama doesn't like white people but that he IS a racist. Well if he's a racist I would think therefore he doesn't like white people or those towards whom he is racist. Duh!

Aug. 23 2009 10:23 AM
Celine Grenier from Capitola

I agree with JAFO. Maher was factually correct, but politically incorrect to many, which isn't the same as "stupid". I guess it's hard to be objective about some things, and hard to see yourself as others see you. (Add the use of drone missiles to what will be seen by targets as cowardly.)

Aug. 22 2009 08:33 PM
David C Rowe from United States

And then there is racism itself. Just about everyone I know has an aunt or uncle they cringe to be around, who say terribly racist things, but they love 'em anyway. Rascism bad? Yes. Common, yes. Now let's take Keith Olbermann. He calls people, every night, "the worst people in the world." Now, I know of NO ONE who says, "My Uncle John is the worst person in the world." But Bush and many others have been "the worst person in the world" - I mean that's worse than being a mere racist - and that's not beyond the pale? Isn't that hate speech and demagoguery? Doesn't that poison the public discourse? He's a hater. Why not attack Olbermann's platform?

Oh. I guess it depends on whether the President Mr. Rucker voted for is the one being attacked.

Aug. 22 2009 08:04 PM
David C Rowe from United States

This story was fascinating on a number of levels.

First, when Beck says that he believes Obama is a racist (clearly he wants his conservative audience to connect the dots of Rev. Wright's racist remarks, to Obama jumping to Professor Gate's defense over a police instructor in racial sensitivity who once saved a black athlete's life, to redistribution of wealth, etc) he is up to no good. But you have to look at who Beck is. This is a guy who has worn a clown suit on the show! Look at the image on the bus in the story photo, above. So he has lots of viewers, but if we're not going to blame Maher for not inciting violence, then I think Bob is right - it's free speech baby, like it or not.

I think I'd have more respect for what colorofchange was up to if they had a campaign against Janeane Garafalo who with no dots to connect, and no clowning or smile, said of a whole group of people that their protests were "about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up." Is this not beyond the pale to Mr. Rucker? There are folks on the left using the race card frequently, as Jonah Goldberg points out. ( Where are those campaigns against them?

Aug. 22 2009 08:04 PM

I am really beginning to dislike Kurt Anderson’s smug b.s. His description of Bill Maher’s broadcast comment in which Maher said that the 911 terrorists weren’t cowardly but lobbing cruise missiles into reported terrorist camps in Afghanistan and Lebanon is as incredibly stupid is trash. Maher’s comment was completely accurate. His comment certainly is offensive to the grieving mentality but accurate. What those guys did may be insane but not cowardly. The same is true for Japanese kamikaze pilots in World War II. Lobbing bombs from far away, not confronting your enemy face-to-face is cowardly. I would love to hear Kurt Anderson confront Bill Maher directly. Bill Maher would have him as lunch.

Aug. 22 2009 07:10 PM
Curacao de Aco from Washington,D.C.

Who is James Rucker kidding? One man's "disinformation" is another man's truth. Mr. Rucker seems to think that censorship is a good idea. There is a reason for Beck's popularity and it isn't becuae the nation is filled with idiots.

Aug. 22 2009 07:05 PM
Matt W. from Arlington, Virginia

Color of Change is overtly pursuing a strategy that is fundamental pursuit of a chilling effect on free speech. James Rucker is a partisan democrat hiding behind a media watchdog costume. Great costume party OTM.

Aug. 22 2009 10:13 AM
Kevin McKague from Davison, MI

Scott M. said "(the left) will manufacture or discard rights whenever the results of such actions are deemed positive for society."

I wonder how Scott M. felt about the throngs of people burning Dixie Chicks CDs after Natalie Maines expressed her First Amendment rights a few years ago.

Nobody is "discarding rights" here. Glenn Beck still has the right to say any idiotic thing he wants to say, and Fox News has the right to continue employing him. As consumers however, we have the right to vote with our dollars, and tell a company that we can not in good conscience help indirectly fund the Glenn Beck show, which is what we do when we buy a product of one of the show's sponsors. It is no different than refusing to buy a sneaker because you object to the fact that the sneaker manufacturer uses political prisoners and children to make them.

If, as it is hoped, so many sponsors back out of funding the Glenn Beck program that Fox News decides to fire Beck, that would be within Fox's right as a business to do so. This would not constitute "censorship" any more than if the owner of a website discussion board decided to erase comments it felt were inflammatory, slanderous, or just plain stupid.

BTW....WNYC does have that right as the owner of this board, and some of us wouldn't mind seeing them exercising that right once in a while.

Aug. 22 2009 09:56 AM
Kevin McKague from Davison, MI

Are you kidding, Scott M.? A majority of NPR's funding comes straight from it's listeners. I would imagine that if somebody made any one of the asinine comments made by Glenn Beck, the phones during the next pledge drive would be silent.

Also, calling anybody in this country a fascist for political reasons is an affront to the millions of people who died at the hands of, or fighting real fascists throughout history.
Your comment shows a profound lack of historical understanding, and devalues anything else you say in the eyes of most rational readers.

Aug. 22 2009 08:04 AM
Scott M. from Chapel Hill, NC

Beck's comments were asinine.
Rucker can and should exercise his rights to lobby advertisers to not support Beck's show. However, his incredibly sophomoric and cavalier approach to what speech passes first amendment muster apparently hinges on whether or not the speech is said on the street corner or on television. I hate to think about what would happen to First Amendment speech - including NPR's - if Rucker's views were adopted.
I think Rucker's segment combined with the previous segment on health care reform manifests the ideological problem of the far left. It will manufacture or discard rights whenever the results of such actions are deemed positive for society. Such arbitrary rights creation and destruction should be recognized for what it is.....fascism.

Aug. 22 2009 06:37 AM
Matt W. from Arlington, Virginia

Picking sides in a local police matter on the basis of race, without all of the facts, is an inherently racial way of looking at the world. If someone defaults to a racial perspective of viewing the world and their fellow citizens, that is an inherently racist view. I think Professor Gates's scholarship on this point is squarely in Mr. Beck's favor. Funny how that works out.

Aug. 22 2009 01:26 AM

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