A new Associated Press article has the count of advertisers who’ve removed their spots from Fox News’ “Glenn Beck” at 33. But the pull-out — or, more accurately, the rearranging — could have a more widespread effect. It seems the incident has reminded many sponsors that advertising on political commentary programming comes with some risk, the risk of being associated with the occasional controversial viewpoint.
The AP’s David Bauder writes:
The shows present a dilemma for advertisers, who usually like a “safe” environment for their messages. The Olbermanns, Hannitys, O’Reillys, Maddows and Becks of the TV world are more likely to say something that will anger a viewer, who might take it out on sponsors.
They also host the most-watched programs on their networks.
Politico’s Michael Calderone points out that by looking at some advertisers’ statements, such as the one given by Clorox, we can start to see a trend that goes beyond merely the commercial breaks on Beck’s program:
But it’s worth noting that Clorox, for example, isn’t just backing away from Beck’s show, but in a statement, said the company doesn’t want to be “associated with inflammatory speech used by either liberal or conservative talk show hosts.” So they’re pulling ads from all political talk shows.
In an article entitled “Political Talk Shows Talk Themselves Out of Ads,” AdAge wonders if indeed the allure of viewers is starting to be outweighed by concerns about the viewpoints being expressed on these popular programs and if that could affect content:
“I’ll bet [networks] are going to have to dial it down for all of them. [MSNBC's 'Countdown With Keith] Olbermann’ will have to drum it down, and Fox is going to have to drum it down,” said Ira Berger, director-network broadcasting at independent agency Richards Group. The question the cable-news networks will face should more marketers pull out, he said, is whether they are “about the cause or about the money. We’ll find out. Stay tuned.”
Beck will be back this week, but will everyone’s advertisers?