American Culture

Lowes: Bill O’Reilly is nuts and we can’t support him; Home Depot: complaining about Bill O’Reilly harms the environment

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A tale of two home improvement giants….

Daily Kos reports that Lowes, the giant home improvement retailer based in North Wilkesboro, NC, has pulled its advertising for The O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly’s Faux News program that among its rhetorical flourishes liberally uses name calling and that, politically supports a theocracy based on racism and sexism. This was done after Lowes’ customers complained to the retailer about O’Reilly’s antics. Here’s the money shot from Lowes statement:

Lowe’s constantly reviews advertising buys to make certain they are consistent with its policy guidelines. The O’Reilly Factor does not meet Lowe’s advertising guidelines, and the company’s advertising will no longer appear during the program.

One has to admire a company that decides that a frothing mouthed demagogue who can’t debate ideas with a 16 year old without resorting to paternalistic hectoring ought not to receive its advertising dollars.

Meanwhile, Americablog reports that Home Depot, the other giant home improvement retailer based in Atlanta, GA, has told its consumers who have complained about O’Reilly’s antics to stop because they’re harming the environment (emphasis mine) when they do:

The Company is receptive to many forms and styles of media as we seek a balanced representation of programming to reach our customer base. Unfortunately campaigns like this one cause us to take time away from our sustainability goals and address a variance of political views.

So, shut up and buy that Behr paint, you whiny liberals, you’re wrecking the environment with this protesting….

Trying to figure out the wherefore of these corporate decisions provides some interesting fodder for intellectual gymnastics.

Lowes, headquartered, as I said, in North Wilkesboro, NC, is represented in Congress by Virginia Foxx, a Republican somewhere to the right of – well, whatever the furthest point right is presently (check her vote on Katrina aid). The area is overwhelmingly conservative in politics and fundamentalist in religion. Home Depot, on the other hand, is headquartered in the most sophisticated city in the South, Atlanta, a city that, while supporting a significant fundamentalist and politically conservative population also supports a perhaps more significant – and a considerably more powerful – progressive cohort. So the explanation doesn’t seem to lie in an examination of demographics.

What seems to be the case is that Home Depot’s board of directors – who recently awarded disastrous CEO Bob Nardelli a $200 million dollar bonus for turning the company – which had been a maverick in its operation under Arthur Blank – are as supportive of O’Reilly’s bad political ideas as they were of Nardelli’s bad business ideas. So while Lowes esteems its customers and thrives, Home Depot snubs its customers and continues to slip.

And so Home Depot supports Bill O’Reilly while Lowes turfs him.

It might be important to revise HD’s motto: O’Reilly can do it, you can shut up….

Update: Home Depot has now canceled its advertising on The O’Reilly Factor.

6 replies »

  1. The interesting thing, Brian, is that Lowes is an extremely good corporate citizen – especially in Foxx’s district, where it’s headquartered. But they make their focuses areas like education and the environment – which are issues that resonate with the primarily rural and impoverished area – and which allow them to be progressive in a way palatable to their audience.

    I guess what I’m saying is that Lowes is acting in an intelligent way to steer people toward progressive views on key issues such as those I’ve mentioned above. And their desertion of O’Reilly is another subtle move in that direction.

  2. It’s instructive that Lowe’s felt compelled to make this move after hearing from the public without their products even being bocotted.

    Persuading companies to pull their advertising might be easier than it seems at first glance.

  3. I covered the Nardelli saga regularly for Housing.Com, and repeatedly pointed to it as a particularly egregious example of the housing bubble’s excesses–this guy ran HD’s stock price into the ground and actively undermined their core business strength, and even as the company sells off divisions and scales back business, he still walks away with more money than most people will ever see in their lives. I’m glad HD saw the error of their ways this time.

    The Lowe’s progressivism is an example of the rift between some conservatives (particularly evangelicals) and the larger fundiecon movement. Many evangelical groups see preserving the environment and providing better educational opportunities as part of their mission, and they clash with heavy hitters like Gary Bauer and Tony Perkins, who want to stick to anti-abortion and homophobia as their main planks.

  4. I’ve always avoided Home Depot because they donate quite a bit to Republicans (according to BuyBlue.org–now defunct).

    I’ve always avoided Bill O’Reilly because he’s a crazy a– (according to my own observation).

    However, Bill O’Reilly did inspire this blog: http://www.badbilloreilly.blogspot.com/, which means he can’t be all bad.

    Or can he?

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