THE BLOG

Air America's Ad Blacklisters Throwing Money At Right Wing Talk

09/13/2009 05:12 am 05:12:01 | Updated May 25, 2011

Three years ago, a group of corporate advertisers informed ABC that they didn't want their commercials run during Air America programming. Media Matters reports that those companies will run ads during conservative shows.

In 2009, General Electric, Farmer's Insurance and Office Depot have financially supported Glenn Beck's racism and threats against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the radio; Bayer, Chattem Pharmaceuticals and Wyeth have given Lou Dobbs money to continue his radio-based support for the Birther conspiracy theorists and his portrayal of the current Administration as alternately Socialist, Fascist and Communist; and Home Depot, JC Penney's and Office Depot are helping provide Rush Limbaugh promote his racist, divisive commentary on a daily basis.

That doesn't even include the companies that advertise during Glenn Beck's or Lou Dobbs' television shows, which additionally includes the likes of Bayer, Wal-Mart and Nestlé.

While advertising is supposedly just a way to convince consumers to purchase products, these corporations' histories of political contributions and advocacy--in addition to their stated preferences to have their products associated with Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh rather than Rachel Maddow or Ron Reagan--reflects less a clear-eyed view of consumer preferences than it does support for conservatives and conservative causes.

Take General Electric, a supporter of both Glenn Beck's radio and television programming. In the 2006 election cycle, when they first blacklisted Air America's programming, their PAC's political contributions were two-thirds in favor of Republicans. In 2008, after the takeover of the House by Democrats and while Barack Obama's win was clearly telegraphed, GE continued to favor Republicans with contributions disproportionate to their power in Washington, giving them 48 percent of the PAC's donations. Only now that GE has nowhere else to turn, their donations for the 2010 election cycle are going two-thirds of the time to Democrats. To the victors go the spoils, I guess--as long as they can spend at least an equal amount of money supporting media programming intended to derail the agenda.

Zurich Insurance, the parent company of Farmers (another tried-and-true Beck sponsor), works much the same way. In 2006, 71 percent of their PAC's donations went to Republican candidates; 53 percent went to Republicans in 2008; and, apparently disheartened by the last election, they haven't yet given a dime for 2010. Office Depot--which supports both Beck's and Limbuagh's radio programs--doesn't apparently have a PAC, but their CEO Steve Odland gave the maximum contribution to Mitt Romney last year.

While most corporate PACs, including Wal-Mart, Bayer and Wyeth, have eased off on their contributions to Republican candidates since the Democratic resurgence 2006, Limbaugh supporters Home Depot and JC Penney have not. In 2006, their PACs gave 71 and 85 percent of their contributions, respectively, to Republicans, despite Democratic control of both Houses of Congress and the White House, their PACs have, to date, given 51 and 100 percent of their contributions of Republicans for the 2010 election cycle.

While undoubtedly those companies are still happy to take money from liberal consumers, they don't want to be associated with political programming if it skews liberal--and they're more than happy to take that money from the pockets of liberals and use it to support Glenn Beck,

Originally posted at Air America.com