WASHINGTON -- The battle between progressives and Fox News just got hotter. Liberal watchdog Media Matters has hired one of Glenn Beck's key nemeses, a man who has been working behind the scenes (and more publicly on Twitter) for the past year to convince advertisers to drop the right-wing icon.
Angelo Carusone, a 28-year-old Long Island native and competitive debate champion, is a constant presence on Twitter under the moniker @StopBeck. He has leveraged his account to encourage other users to put pressure on companies to stop advertising on Beck's show and update the Twitterverse on his successes. "Today, Helzberg Diamonds became the 302nd advertiser to drop Glenn Beck," he wrote on Dec. 1, a day after he and others repeatedly sent messages to the company. His first victory came in August 2009, when Kraft Foods responded to him and said it did not want to be associated with Beck's brand.
Through the efforts of Carusone and Color of Change (which was acting separately last year), hundreds of companies have told Fox News that they don't want their ads to air during Beck's program. In fact, in the U.K., his show has gone commercial-free for nearly eight months.
"I had been doing the Stop Beck campaign since July 2, 2009," Carusone told The Huffington Post in an interview. "And the approach that I brought to the Stop Beck effort was that we simply have to do something. We've asked Fox News, and in this case Glenn Beck, to be more responsible and they've simply refused. They just ignore repeated requests for responsibility. It's not a matter of me disagreeing with their opinions. And when I did Stop Beck, it wasn't about political disagreements; it was about the willful lies. The lies that are so demonstrably false and they're so aboveboard, in terms of how false they are, that it can only be inferred that they're being propagated willfully in order to willfully lie to advance a personal or political agenda."
Media Matters took notice of Carusone's work and called him when it was looking to expand its efforts against Fox News.
"Angelo had graduated from law school and was looking for work," said Media Matters Vice President Ari Rabin-Havt. "He clearly showed initiative, talent and drive, and there should be a home for that in the progressive movement."
In October, right-wing bogeyman and progressive philanthropist George Soros donated $1 milion to Media Matters (his first-ever donation, as the group liked to point out). "I am supporting Media Matters in an effort to more widely publicize the challenge Fox News poses to civil and informed discourse in our democracy," said a statement by Soros. Rabin-Havt insisted that Carusone's hiring was not a result of the donation............................