Glenn Beck called President Obama “a racist.” Viewers objected, including an advocacy group called Color of Change. Color of Change took its objections directly to advertisers, calling on them to withdraw their ads from the “Glenn Beck Program” on Fox News. Reportedly, 33 companies capitulated, including Clorox, UPS and CVS. (Clorox not only pulled ads from Beck’s show, but announced it is pulling out of all opinion programming.) This is the second time this summer that riled-up viewers have used social media and the internet to make Corporate America quake (the first was the apparent Fox-MSNBC truce, allegedly brokered after shareholders and other viewer constituents lit up the digital switchboards at News Corp. and GE).
Now this could break one of two ways. It could just blow over with all parties being–perhaps–just a bit more careful about “crossing the line” with their commentary. (That’s what Shine and Griffin along with O’Reilly and Olbermann are hoping.) Or it could portend things to come for Cable News, which I suspect is the likelier scenario. And by that I mean that social media and the blogosphere move with speed and power never seen before by traditional media mavens. At the same time, Corporate America is watching and listening to that cacophony more efficiently and attentively than ever before. This thing has the real possibility of snowballing into a movement with both digital armies (conservative and liberal) attacking their opposite Cable News number. That would be, at least, inconvenient–and at most, it could be downright painful to the bottom line.
It might just blow over with the passage of time, but if it doesn’t, CNN could be sitting pretty with their high-road, middle-ground approach to hosting and commentary (with the exception of Lou Dobbs.) I’d be interested to hear your opinion–so fire away!
Erik Sorenson is chief executive officer of Vault.com, Inc. He oversees the strategic direction of the global, New York-based media company, including ShopTalk & TVSPY. If you would like to comment on Remote Control, or want to reach Erik, email remotecontrol@tvspy.