Fielding questions at a News Corp. shareholder meeting this morning, chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch flatly denied that hundreds of advertisers refuse to advertise on Glenn Beck's Fox News program due to a boycott organized after Beck called President Obama a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred for white people." Asked about reports that nearly 300 advertisers are boycotting Glenn Beck, Murdoch responded: "That's not true ... Maybe four or five who have been moved over to Mr. O'Reilly's program." Murdoch added: "No one has taken any money off the channel."
The questioner was referring to the September 29 New York Times Sunday Magazine profile of Beck, which reported that "as of Sept. 21, 296 advertisers have asked that their commercials not be shown on Beck's show." The website StopBeck.com lists at least 137 sponsors that refuse to advertise on Glenn Beck. Beck's advertisers now consist mainly of gold-selling firms, conservative magazines, and, naturally, News Corp. properties.
QUESTIONER: Apparently 300 advertisers are refusing to advertise on Mr. Beck's program--
MURDOCH: That's not true.
QUESTIONER: Well, 297 then, apparently.
MURDOCH: No. No, no. Maybe four or five who have been moved over to Mr. O'Reilly's program. No one has taken any money off the channel.
QUESTIONER: There's been reports today that Mr. Ailes is a bit concerned about Mr. Beck, um--
MURDOCH: Is what?
QUESTIONER: Mr. Ailes is a bit concerned about Glenn Beck and him promoting his personal interests too much on the show, damaging Fox News, been saying it's too partisan. This can play out in potential--
MURDOCH: I don't know whether you watch Fox News, but Mr. Beck is the least of our stars who take liberties in promoting their interests.