My head is starting to spin. Luckily for me, Conor Clarke can make some sense of it all:
What’s the logical conclusion here? Do we boycott and counter–boycott, until we’ve whittled ourselves down to country of red and blue companies as well as red and blue states? There’s nothing to stop us. Fox is well within its rights to retain the hosting services of Glenn Beck, and Wal-Mart is within its rights to take its advertising dollars elsewhere, and the readership of RedState.org is within its rights to take its paychecks elsewhere, too. And I suppose I can take my eyeballs to some other corner of the Internet. Three cheers for liberalism!
And yet I cannot help but think there is a crucial difference between GEICO’s decision to drop Glenn Beck and RedState’s decision to drop GEICO. The difference is this: Wal-Mart has a good reason to boycott Beck, because Beck actually did something idiotic and indefensible. It simply is not true that Obama is a racist. And what’s this business about “the white culture,” anyway? Tell us a bit more about that, Glenn.
RedState does not have a similarly reasonable claim — or a substantive argument at all — unless they are seriously interested in defending what Beck said on the merits. (Are they? Is anyone? Let’s have that argument, pretty please.) The argument for boycotting the boycotters should be more than “free speech is awesome,” since the right to free speech doesn’t guarantee you the right to massive corporate underwriting.
What I know is this: Beck cannot stand on his original statement. This is not a conspiracy of leftists, this is a result of people who are fed up with the inflammatory rhetoric (‘flamoric’?) and partisan hackery from someone who is simply trying to be shocking for shock’s (and rating’s) sake. Advertisers are going to continue to bail until Glenn Beck a) apologizes or b) loses his show (my guess is that it will be the former rather than the latter).
Either way, it’s going to likely be an entertaining ride. Now where did I put my popcorn?
[cross-posted at ThePajamaPundit.com]