Ron Arnold's Left Tracking Library

Glenn Beck

On July 28th, 2009, Fox talk-show host Glenn Beck appeared on the Fox & Friends morning show about Obama’s reaction to the arrest of Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr, a media flap known as “Professor-Gate.

Beck saw the President’s past association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright as a prompt for Obama’s comment that Cambridge arresting police officer, Sgt. James Crowley, acted stupidly. And Beck was outraged that Obama was going to fix things up between the professor and the cop with a beer-fest at the White House. "That is unbelievable," said Beck. "As a teaching lesson? Who needs to learn what here?"


The actual group conversation covered a number of things about the Gates controversy. Beck exclaimed that "This President has exposed himself over and over again a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture. I don't know what it is, but if you can't sit in a pew with a guy like Jeremiah Wright for twenty years and not hear some of that stuff, and not have it wash over you, what kind of President of the United States immediately jumps on the police? Just like, what kind of president would say, "Oh, well, yeah, he was black - of course he was breaking into the house." You'd never do that. You'd never do that. Obama wanted to address this. Now, they're going to have a beer? What does this mean? I don't think you learn anything new from Barack Obama, whether he planned to say that about the cop or it was off the cuff. This guy has a social justice agenda. He's going to set all of the wrongs of the past right."

Then Fox's Brian Kilmeadeon pointed out that many people in Obama's administration are white, so "you can't say he doesn't like white people," and Beck replied, "I'm not saying he doesn't like white people, I'm saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist."

Beck explained, "Look at the things he has been surrounded by: Look at his new "Green Jobs Czar" [Van Jones]. The guy is, ah, black liberation theology, black nationalist, who is also an avowed communist. Obama comes in, and he puts that guy in. Well, wait a minute. How many people with this kind of philosophy do you need to have in your life before you start to say, "Show me your friends, and I'll show you your future."

It caused a huge media flap, and struck many of the left's most strategic thinkers as a perfect opportunity to raise money, get members, and gain a lot of publicity. The group that jumped on the issue first was Color of Change (technically, and for a reason: it was co-founded by Van Jones, the "Green Jobs Czar" that Beck had used as an example.


Van Jones created the sophisticated anti-corporate, anti-conservative attack group in response to the Bush Administration's handling of the Hurricane Katrina situation. Color Of Change also defended the "Jena Six" in a noose-hanging-from-a-tree incident that led to arrests of protesters. Obama picked Jones as "green jobs czar" for his work in the San Francisco Bay Area with "green jobs" for black youth.
Jones was later forced to resign when conservative talk show hosts, including Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, exposed his
public comments disparaging congressional Republicans, his signing of the petition, and Marxist associations during the 1990s. His board memberships in the Apollo Alliance, the Rainforest Action Network, and Free Press were also questioned. Upon leaving government, John Podesta gave him shelter as leader of the Green Opportunity Initiative of the Center for American Progress. The foundation-created Presidential Climate Action Project at the University of Colorado appointed Jones an advisor, a position he retains.

Co-founder James Rucker is a Stanford graduate, high-tech Silicon Valley entrepreneur who worked 2003-2005 for MoveOn Political Action and MoveOn Civic Action as fundraiser, technology expert, and campaign strategist. He brought those skills to and is the real force behind its success. Rucker is the only officer of the group. Rucker is a clever and ruthless attack manager with a huge network of allies.


Rucker took no chances of muffing this opportunity and hired Hollywood’s high profile publicist Ken Sunshine to hustle a huge boycott of Beck's advertisers, demanding they stop sponsoring Beck. Sunshine did an outstanding job of attack management.

Ken Sunshine


Sunshine designed a great campaign letter based on the decades-old PR fundraising tactic: your appeal letter must lead your supporter from FEAR of your opponent, to HATE of your opponent, to offer a practical REVENGE against your opponent that will make them feel morally superior if they send  money to join with others in thwarting the opponent.

July 30th, 2009

Dear member,

More and more, right-wing talk show hosts are bringing race-based fear mongering into the mainstream, but FOX's Glenn Beck just took it to another level. On Tuesday, Beck said:

This president has exposed himself as a guy over and over and over again who has a deep-seated hatred for white people... this guy is, I believe, a racist.

It's part of a larger argument Beck has been making: that President Obama is using the White House to serve the needs of Black communities at White people's expense. This kind of talk stirs up fear, hate, and it can lead to violence.

Together we can stop Glenn Beck. Starting today we're calling Beck's advertisers, asking them if they want to be associated with this kind of racist hate and fear-mongering. When they see tens of thousands of people signing on behind that question, we believe they'll move their advertising dollars elsewhere, damaging the viability of his show and possibly putting him out of business.

Of course, the bottom line was, "send money to Color Of Change."


Sunshine's boycott resulted in at least 57 advertisers requesting their ads be removed from Beck's programming, to avoid associating their brands with content that could be considered offensive by potential customers. Color of Change and Rucker's allied groups claimed that more than 100 companies stopped advertising on Beck's show or stipulated that their advertising not be aired there. Sunshine carefully hid the fact that many Fox advertisers had no idea which shows their ads appeared on, because they simply bought blocks of time, and some had no problem with sponsoring Beck, offensive or not. Beck's show kept its high ratings, so broadcast industry observers believe his earnings were unharmed. The boycott certainly made a big publicity splash for Color of Change.













In September 2009,, a website launched in response to the boycott campaign, posted a video on YouTube of a February 2009 event at which Jones called Congressional Republicans "assholes". Jones didn't last long after. He resigned his Obama Czar job September 5, 2009.


Color Of Change had a lot of friends who wanted to shoot down Glenn Beck. Without them, nothing much would have happened - and as far as Glenn Beck's ratings went, nothing did. Here are some allies of Color Of Change:


Josh Silver
Free Press


Wade Henderson
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights $1,073,950

Winnie Stachelberg

Center for American Progress $26,638,475

Herb Sandler
Pro Publica


Stephanie Jones

National Urban League Policy Institute $47,145,386

Brent Wilkes

League of United Latin American Citizens (Income Secret)

Larry Cohen
Communications Workers of America $176,856,960


Alex Nogales
National Hispanic Media Coalition $559,071


Bernie Lunzer

The Newspaper Guild

No Photo
Kimberly Marcus
Rainbow PUSH Coalition's Public Policy Institute
(Income secret)

Malkia Cyril

Center for Media Justice  

Andrew Schwartzman

Media Access Project

John Kosinski

Writers Guild of America West $23,196,986


Sandy Close

New America Media

 (Project of Pacific News Service)

Amalia Deloney

Media Action Grassroots Network (Project of Center for Media Justice)

Angelo Falcon
National Institute for Latino Policy $2,325

Michael Calabrese
New America Foundation

Melanie Campbell
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation $2,089,992

Gigi Sohn
Public Knowledge $687,720

Rinku Sen
Applied Research Center $2,555,600

John Clark
National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians

Graciela Sanchez
Esperanza Peace and Justice Center


Mimi Pickering
Appalshop $1,526,372


Steven Renderos
Main Street Project $557,880


Hal Ponder
American Federation of Musicians $12,210,236


Tracy Rosenberg
Media Alliance $139,150


Terry O'Neill
National Organization for Women



Roger Hickey
Campaign for America's Future


Andrea Quijada

New Mexico Media Literacy Project
(Southwestern Alternate Media Projects, Inc.)

Jonathan Lawson
Reclaim the Media
(Center for Social Justice - Seattle)


DeAnne Cuellar
Texas Media Empowerment Project
Esperanza Peace and Justice Center) $596,597

Chris Rabb
(Bread & Roses Community Fund)

Loris Ann Taylor

Center for Native American Public Radio
National Federation of Community Broadcasters)

Lisa Fager Bediako

Industry Ears

(Form 990 not available)

O. Ricardo Pimentel
National Association of Hispanic Journalists

Todd Wolfson
Media Mobilizing Project


Erica Williams

Campus Progress
Center for American Progress)

Gary Flowers
Black Leadership Forum


Eva Paterson
Equal Justice Society


Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr.

Hip Hop Caucus
Peace Action Education Fund  $871,694

Cheryl Contee
Jack and Jill Politics

Dr. E. Faye Williams
National Congress of Black Women

Emily Sheketoff
American Library Association

Ari Rabin-Havt

Media Matters Action Network
(Form 990 not available)

Kathryn Galan
National Association of Latino Independent Producers

Roberto Lovato

(writer, blogger)

Joshua Breitbart

People's Production House
(fiscal sponsor: Fund for the City of New York)

No Photo
Karen Bond

National Black Coalition for Media Justice
(no record of incorporation or exempt status)

Tracy Van Slyke
Media Consortium
(fiscal sponsor: National Training & Information Center)

Shireen Mitchell

Digital Sisters, Inc
(fiscal sponsor:
National Council of Women's Organizations)

Tessie Guillermo
: $1,286,208


Ariel Dougherty
Media Equity Collaborative (fiscal sponsor:
International Media Project)

Helen Soule

Alliance for Community Media


Helen De Michiel
National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture
(a non-exempt professional network)

Carol Pierson

National Federation of Community Broadcasters