Our campaign to hold Glenn Beck accountable for his race-baiting and fear-mongering has been a great success, with 62 advertisers making it clear that they don't want their brands linked to Beck's vile rhetoric. Up until now, however, there's been a question of what the real consequences are for Beck and for Fox, especially as Beck's ratings have soared. It's starting to become clear.
Today, we're announcing that Glenn Beck's show has lost over 50% of its advertising dollars since just before our campaign started. From our press release about the news:
The advertising boycott of Glenn Beck has cost the controversial host over half of his estimated advertising revenue since it was launched by ColorOfChange.org a month ago. This according to data analyzed from industry sources.
Estimated advertising revenue [the total amount of advertising money being spent during a block of commercial time for a program] was collected on a week-by-week basis for a period of two months. According to the data collected, the amount of money spent by national advertisers on Beck's program per week was at its highest at approximately $1,060,000, for the week ending August 2, 2009. ColorOfChange.org launched their campaign at the end of that week and since then, 62 advertisers have distanced themselves from Beck. Data collected for the week ending September 6, 2009 shows Beck's estimated ad revenue at $492,000, equal to a loss of $568,000.
"Fox News Channel has consistently claimed they haven't lost revenue as advertisers abandon Glenn Beck, but the numbers prove otherwise," said James Rucker, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org. "Fox News Channel has a limited amount of ad positions. If 62 companies refuse to run ads on two of their 24 hours of programming, they are losing inventory. No matter how high Beck's ratings have been lately, advertisers still see Beck as toxic and don't want him associated with their brands. There is no way that Fox News Channel is making the money they should be making with Glenn Beck."
Our campaign is working. Respectable companies don't want to be associated with Beck or support his show with their dollars. It's resulting in a major loss of funding for his show, and at the same time making it clear that Beck's race-baiting and fear-mongering are far outside the mainstream.
The longer Beck stays isolated, the more of a problem he'll be for Fox, and the less he'll be able to spread his lies and distortions. If we can keep the pressure on, Fox will have to make a choice: 1) drop Beck because it doesn't make business sense to keep him; or 2) communicate to the world that they're so intent on providing a platform for race-baiting and fear-mongering that they don't care if they lose money (a serious problem for a public company like News Corporation, the owner of Fox).
Thanks for everything you've done to make this effort a success -- none of it could have happened without the more than 200,000 of you who have stepped to be a part of this campaign. More than ever, it's time to keep the pressure on. You can help by joining us in thanking the advertisers that have stopped supporting Glenn Beck, and calling on those whose ads are still running on his show to follow suit.
My heart breaks and bosom aches for the shock of inhumanity you are being forced to see in this moment. If I could right now, I would gently pull you into my arms and cradle you as my child. I would blanket you in the comfort of knowing that you are of a people who are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Fearful in that when other’s epistemologies are too minimalistic to understand our existence, they have sought to devalue and diminish it. Yet wonderful we are, for we live knowing it has never been about us, but an obsession with validating irrationally supercilious ideologies.
If I could, I would bend your chin and connect with your eyes and beg you to allow me to make amends for the things I have let my memory erase. I would bathe you in a wash tub of tears as the century of years return unto me—remembering the persisting global attacks on Black women’s bodies.
I would kneel down with you and cry out libations for Saartjie and offer humble apologies for all the time expended before we could finally give her rest. I would mourn all the names that cannot be recalled, lost to the hypocrisy of Western medicine vested in white supremacy, for as slaves stripped of human dignity we were sacrificed upon the alter of modern gynecology.
If I could, right now I would hold on to you for dear life and reassure you that you do not have to choose to do anything other than live. No one could ever strip you of the victories you have and will continue to win, for our glory is not of man. In the short time of your living, you are teaching of the deep sense of courage, honor, and dignity that is our legacy.
With love that is all powerful, patient and kind, I would rescue you from this diabolical global attack. I would show you how wrong many are in believing it takes the presence of ovaries to be a daughter, “normalized” levels of estrogen to be a sister, or the opening of a womb to be a mother.
But Caster, most importantly, I earnestly plead that you allow me to shoulder this cross with you because I can. From across the ocean and spanning global miles, I reach out to you for the daughter you are and for all of our daughters to come.
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Afro-Netizen contacted Prof. Spaulding immediately upon reading an e-mail message (forwarded to us by a long-time supporter) that contained the above open letter -- which was prefaced by the following note . . .
On this day that many of us will say "good morning" several times, I am deeply troubled. I am troubled by the reality of the space and communities in which we live, where I can wake up to tweets and facebook statuses ranting about the apology and protection we should be demanding for a country pop star, who one person (as ignorant in his behavior that he may have been) did not find should have been named the most popular for the year. I am troubled because for the last month our daughter and our sister has been globally brutalized, yet the tweets and statuses demanding her protection and respect of her humanity have been far and few between. Thus, I wake up this morning in an effort to make it a "good" one with a public letter to Caster Semenya. If you agree, this will be the email that you circulate throughout your "friends database" today. If you believe in globally protecting the humanity of black women's bodies, then you can number and add your name to the count. Be and live well,
"Boxing has fallen into disfavor. . . The reason is clear: Jack Johnson . . . has
out-sparred an Irishman. He did it with little brutality, the utmost fairness
and great good nature. He did not "knock" his opponent senseless. . . Neither he
nor his race invented prize fighting or particularly like it. Why then this
thrill of national disgust? Because Johnson is black. Of course some pretend to
object to Johnson's character. But we have yet to hear, in the case of White
America, that marital troubles have disqualified prize fighters or ball players
or even statesmen. It comes down, then, after all to this unforgivable
--W.E.B. DuBois, The Crisis (1914)
By David Whettstone
For the Afro-Netizen Newswire
March 31st was John Arthur Johnson's birthday.
Jack Johnson, the first African American to become Heavyweight Champion of the World, was born in Galveston, Texas in 1878. He held his title from 1908 to 1915. His ascendancy put an indelible mark on the landscape of American history and sport. It came with the great price of persecution, adversity, and violence -- some of it federally sanctioned.
Some skeptics would not initially assume that Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Representative Peter King (R-NY) would be part of the cause to right the wrongs the barrier-breaking boxer endured. However, they have together (as in previous sessions of Congress since 2004) introduced a resolution calling for the posthumous presidential pardon of the racially motivated conviction of Johnson in 1913 under the Mann Act.
They are both motivated to repair national reputation and by their life-long love for boxing. Representative King still works out in the ring.
They join the call of Mr. Johnson's family (grandneice Dorothy Cross, great grandniece Linda Haywood, and others) and filmmaker Ken Burns, director of the PBS documentary, Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson for justice. Burns has in the past petition Congress for such a resolution.
At the April 1, 2009 press conference, Ms. Haywood said, "For years our family was deeply shamed." She continues, "He simply wanted to live his life."
(Photo credit: David Whettstone. Pictured from l to r: Linda Haywood, Ken Burns, Dorothy Cross, Johnson's grand niece, seated)
In its early American history, boxing was established as the exclusive domain of White men. Black men were considered unworthy of competition. They were not permitted to vie for the title. In 1903, Johnson had defeated "Denver" Ed Martin to win the "Colored Heavyweight Championship". He then secured his world crown in 1908 by defeating Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia and capturing an unmatched purse of $30,000 for the 14-round fight. The previous heavyweight champion, Jim Jeffries, had retired rather than fight Johnson.
With Johnson's new reign, and shock to the psyche of most White U.S. men, came the counter-punch of deeply embedded racism. Calls went out from media -- especially from writer Jack London -- and many sectors of society for a "Great White Hope." Jeffries was eventually coaxed to engage Johnson in "The Fight of the Century" in Reno, Nevada on July 4, 1910.
Before a crowd of 12,000 mostly White men, Jeffries met defeat in 15 rounds of brutal physical punishment. Johnson won a hefty record-breaking sum of $101,000. Race riots ensued, and numerous African Americans met with harm and death. And Congress acted.
It banned the interstate distribution of fight films which would not be lifted until 1940. "The Fight of the Century" became part of the National Film Registry in 2005.
Johnson's romantic engagement of White women and subsequent controversial marriages met with the consternation and alarm of many.
Earlier in June 1910, President Taft had signed into law the White Slave Traffic Act, also known as the Mann Act. The legislation was a result of the wave of social concern and hysteria. It prohibited the
interstate transportation of women "for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose." The U.S. Department of Justice soon sought to apply the law to Johnson though no viable case was developed until 1912. By 1913 a conviction was gained.
Also in 1912, Georgia Congressman Seaborn A. Roddenberry introduced a constitutional amendment that would ban marriage
between whites and "any and all persons of African descent or having any trace
of African blood." The bill failed.
After being sentenced, Johnson fled the country, but voluntarily returned in 1920 to serve a year in the United States Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas.
Forces of the established order were clearly against him. However, he continued to have an active life: he received a patent for an invention while incarcerated; established a nightclub in Chicago and sold another in Harlem which evolved into The Cotton Club; raced cars; and continued fighting into the 1930s. He met with a tragic auto accident near Raleigh, North Carolina in 1946.
Representative Peter King believes a pardon of Jack Johnson is long overdue and is part of fully restoring his reputation. "Despite the accusations, he became a heavyweight legend who inspired and paved the way for future African American athletes." He rightly understands the champion as a trailblazer.
"The resolution to pardon Jack Johnson would not right this
injustice, but would recognize it, and shed light on the achievements
of an athlete who was forced into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice,
" said Sen. McCain. "Taking such actions would allow future
generations to grasp fully what Jack Johnson accomplished against great
odds and appreciate his contributions to society unencumbered by the
taint of his criminal conviction."
The senator believes that President Obama has the greatest
respect and admiration for Jack Johnson and plans to talk to him. He was fully confident that the President would sign the resolution into law.
When he released his documentary, Ken Burns said:
"Johnson in many ways is an embodiment of the African-American
struggle to be truly free in this country — economically, socially and
politically. He absolutely refused to play by the rules set by the
white establishment, or even those of the black community. In that
sense, he fought for freedom not just as a black man, but as an
Often Johnson has been quoted as stating he simply wanted to be respected as a man.
The embrace of Mr. Johnson in the heart and minds of many African Americans -- whether athlete or not -- is already well established. Undoubtedly, he foreshadowed Muhammad Ali. Both he and Joe Frazier have talked and agreed that Johnson was one of the greatest of all time. For folks like them, oppression and injustice have not marred Johnson's reputation. His representation and legacy are nothing short of iconic -- a mystical conveyance of unrelenting determination, unremitting power, and triumphant agency.
"He made us very proud," said Linda Haywood. "Out of all the people on the face of the earth, God gave him to us, our family."
David M. Whettstone is a Washington, DC-based public policy advocate and
writer, who works on national and local issues (including civil rights and
criminal justice) and with religious and community-based organizations.
There they stood. Cliff Huxtable in his multi-colored, fully-textured sweater arm wrapped around son Theo beaming with pride. The grim, tight-jawed David Palmer looking onward wincing a smile. While Virgil Tibbs, in characteristic narrow black suit and tie, old and frail now, let a little stream of tears work their way down his face.
It was Inauguration Day for Barack Obama. You didn’t see them? Well, no surprise. Granted, they didn’t endorse him. Or contribute funds. Nor head for cabinet appointments. And none of them appeared for interviews on MSNBC (though I’m sure Chris Matthews would have loved to have asked Cliff or Virgil – both Philadelphians - how they felt about the race and the race about race and so on).
Oh, and I forgot to mention, they are fictional characters from TV and film. And while no one might put them in the same category of modern influencers as Oprah, or Spike, or Colin, I think they deserve that attribute. They paved the way for the acceptance of a Black man for President as much as anyone.
Just think, if some folks hadn’t seen the hypothetical Black President with “David Palmer” (Dennis Haysbert) in “24”, would they have been ready to vote for one? When people saw how easily the little kid “Peter” loved, laughed and wanted to stay overnight at “Rudy Huxtable’s” house on the “Cosby Show,” were suburban swing voters not hoping the same might be true for their children when they saw Sasha and Malia Obama?
We can’t be sure. But why does this matter? Well, all too often, and sometimes in the same breath, we disregard and fully embrace the impact of popular culture on our political choices and social acceptances. We want to believe we’re deeper than that. And when we do embrace that reality, it is often in third person as if we’re all armchair modern anthropologists detached from it…as we watch a couple of hours of TV or film or internet download a day ourselves.
The NAACP figured that out a long time ago. Peep this from their website:
This recognition by one of the oldest existing organizations committed to justice in this country, is what led to the creation of the NAACP Image Awards. Hitting its 40th presentation on February 12th, it is, true to form in Los Angeles in awards season, a glitzy affair with stars and productions, and tributes and red carpets. But the idea was for it to bolster what the NAACP was trying to do in the streets and courts for decades.
The idea was to recognize that part of fighting for justice was fighting for its perception.
And so, the cycle went like this: fighting for a different portrayal of black people in film and television (and the employment of black people in doing so) way back then, led to the generation of more images, which led to more audiences, which led to more better role models (“Virgil”) that sparked the careers of Sydney Poitier and friends like Bill Cosby (“Cliff”) who ran and owned their own productions that made people think “Black President? Why Not?” and put one on TV (“David Palmer”), and now we have one for real.
Now, I’m taking some license and skipping over many other factors that contribute to where we are today, not to mention many negative images sometimes self-inflicted by Black folks but the point remains: popular culture did have an impact on our politics.
If not, we wouldn’t be bearing witness to an endless array of constituencies who recognize the impact. Just in the awards world alone, we have the ALMA awards done by the National Council of La Raza, the Environmental Media Association awards and (not a moment too soon for those who’d like to overturn Prop 8 in CA) the GLAAD awards. The more the better as long as perceptions and stereotypes that hold justice back are still around.
So, when little Barack was growing up, so too, was the recognition of images that would allow that age-old refrain “You could be President” to ring true. We now know it must be true. We saw it on television.
Wyatt Closs is a writer from North Carolina recently based in Los Angeles via Washington and New York. He works on social justice, coalition building, and popular media organizing matters for SEIU.
Midway through the movie, Cadillac Records, director Darnell Martin’s film on the groundbreaking record label Chess Records, Martin depicts rock pioneer Chuck Berry unleashing his signature “Sweet Little Sixteen” guitar riffs against scenes of surfing revelry. Berry’s song was notoriously pilfered by the Beach Boys in their song “Surfin’ USA,” a homage to white California youth subculture. Chewed up and spat out by an imperialist marketing machine, Berry’s music becomes yet another Jim Crow soundtrack for Americana pleasure.
The first African American female to direct a studio film, Martin’s take on the Chess saga breathes new life into the all too familiar history of gifted black musicians ripped off by a white record promoter. Chronicling the rise of Chess artists Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Berry, Little Walter and Etta James, Martin highlights their struggle to gain just compensation and recognition in a culture whose appetite for “black music” would ripen into a multi-million dollar industry during the 1950s. The avarice of record company owner Leonard Chess, who amassed a fortune from the music of these artists, paying them off with Cadillac cars and shady contracts, is a vivid reminder of the plantation ethos that drives American pop music.
It’s no revelation to say that white appropriation of African American derived music and idioms has been a cornerstone of mainstream American cultural identity, yet Martin’s film throws the question of consumption, commerce and the capitalist subtext of white pleasure into vivid relief. In the film young white women flock to black guitar players at segregated concerts, parading their relative racial and sexual freedom, oblivious to the consequences for black men.
For white Americana, the rise of 1950s rock and R&B transformed racial otherness into a more mainstream adventure, a resort vacation into unexplored vistas of self-discovery that even white consumers with a few cents for a 45 record could take. White postwar prosperity and suburbanization made blackness all the more appealing because of its transgressive potential. As long as actual black people remained “out there,” in segregated urban ghettos and rural communities, black cultural production would continue to be a seductive bromide.
The 1956 Interstate Highway Act paved the way to white suburbia and ignited a car culture that was baptized in the sounds of rock and R&B. As suburban white flight exacerbated residential segregation, black music became the commodity of choice for a new generation of young white consumers. Yet in the film, scene after scene of crushing poverty, racist police abuse and public humiliation endured by Waters and company underscores the parasitic relationship between white consumption and spatial apartheid.
For scores of white record buyers and musicians, classics such as Wolf and Willie Dixon’s “Backdoor Man” and Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” would become standards, while segregated black spectators would grow up watching Hollywood scenes of white romance and redemption against the backdrop of black music.
Like Motown, Stax Records and other black-dominated labels, the work of the Chess artists established a new language for white self-invention while foregrounding the disparity between white and black postwar opportunities. The parallels between this history and the commodification of hip hop are compelling. As hip hop has spanned the globe netting mega-millions for white corporations it has become another metaphor for imperialist exploitation of Black America. Though Berry ultimately won song writing credit on Surfin’ USA after a threatened lawsuit, the film leaves us with the image of the hip swiveling Elvis Presley; his legacy and global empire forged on the backs of African American geniuses unknown and unrecognized in American music history.
Sikivu Hutchinson is Editor of BlackFemLens.org, a journal of progressive commentary and literature. Afro-Netizen strongly encourages you to visit and bookmark this important and informative site! Ms. Hutchinson can be reached at sikivu at blackfemlens dot org.
FULL TRANSCRIPT OF THIS VERY ARTICULATE, MOIST COLORED NATURAL ATHLETE: (Courtesy of the RNC)
Aloha and good evening.
I am proud to be a gold medal winner representing the United States of America.
But my proudest accomplishment is being a dad to Jacob and Katherine.
For me, family values are the most important thing.
My priorities are: God first, family second, and track third. I can tell you that without my faith -- in God, the support of my family and friends, and my strong work ethic -- I would not be standing before you today with a Gold medal hanging around my neck.
Politicians and athletes have a lot in common.
Both are competitors -- challenging one another.
And neither wins on his or her own.
Some of the best support I've received has come from one of my fiercest competitors, Roman Sebrele.
Roman is from the Czech Republic and is the current decathlon world record holder and 2004 Olympic gold medalist.
We were in Beijing on the second day of competition. I was exhausted. I walked over to Roman, who was not in a position to medal.
We began to chat about the next event, which was the dreaded 1500m run.
Roman said to me in his broken English, "I don't run." And I said, "You have to run.
You are the world record holder and a gold medalist - you have to run and finish.
I was with you in Athens and I want you to be with me when I win tonight."
And he said "ok fine I run, but not fast."
Roman helped pace me through the race.
After I crossed the finish line, it was Roman who walked over and held my arm up to celebrate this victory.
I'm the one competing in those 10 events, but I'm never alone.
My coaches, mentors, and most importantly, God and my family are a big part of my success, on and off the field.
Now, the big difference between the decathlon and politics is that when my race ends, I go back home and start training for the next Olympics.
But when the election ends, that's when the real work begins.
And whether your platform is -- a classroom, a conference room, a track or the White House, we all must stay true to our principles.
Whether you're a decathlete or a politician, we must stand together and believe in each other, and this great nation.