In an extraordinary move to nip the inflammatory commentary coming from Glenn Beck, the founder and CEO of the Tides Foundation (a frequent Beck target) has written advertisers asking them to remove their sponsorship of the Fox News program or risk having “blood on their hands.”
Drummond Pike, who along with his organization was recently targeted by an assassin inspired by Beck’s program, penned a letter on Friday to the Chairmen of the Boards of JP Morgan Chase, GEICO, Zurich Financial, Chrysler, Direct Holdings Americas, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Lilly Corporate Center, BP, and The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.
In it, he detailed the alarm he felt over having a “person carrying numerous guns and body armor” attempt to start a “revolution” by murdering “my colleagues and me.”
To say we were “shocked” does not adequately describe our reaction. 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.
Pike doesn’t end there. Rather than chalking up the incident, frightening as it clearly was, to the deranged psychoses of its practitioner, 45-year old Byron Williams, he places the blame on Beck. And in coming to the conclusion that nothing short of financial insolvency will stop the Fox News host, he asks the network’s benefactors to take a stand or risk future violence.
I respectfully request that you bring this matter of your company’s sponsorship of hate speech leading to violence to the attention of your fellow directors as soon as possible. I believe no responsible company should advertise on Fox News due to its recent and on-going deplorable conduct.
While we may agree to disagree about the role our citizens and our government should play in promoting social justice and the common good, there should be no disagreement about what constitutes integrity and professionalism and responsibility in discourse - even when allowing for and encouraging contending diverse opinions intelligently argued. This is not a partisan issue. It’s an American issue. No one, left, right or center, wants to see another Oklahoma City.
The next “assassin” may succeed, and if so, there will be blood on many hands. The choice is yours. Please join my call to do the right thing in this regard and put Fox News at arm’s length from your company by halting your advertising with them.
The Tides Foundation — a non-partisan entity whose stated goal is the promotion of social justice — has, up to this point, been remarkably silent with regards to the steady stream of hyperbolic criticism coming from Beck’s program. The incident involving Williams (described as a “progressive hunter” — a term coined by Beck) has undoubtedly forced the organization to recalibrate its public relations mindset. Pike wrote an op-ed about the William’s incident shortly after it happened in late July. But targeting the program advertisers is a much bolder gesture. As Pike notes, both Media Matters and Color of Change have launched similar campaigns in the past, in the process draining Beck of more than 100 sponsors.