Exclusive — ‘Controversial Programming’: Progressive Insurance Pulls Ads from Laura Ingraham Show


Progressive insurance, a major publicly traded company, has decided to pull ads off Laura Ingraham’s radio programs, Breitbart News can confirm. In addition to the news of the decision to pull the ads, Progressive–through an ad placement firm–at least partially defined what qualifies as a reason to pull Progressive ads off the air of a certain program: “Controversial programming.” Even so, despite coining that term for this, Progressive refused to further define what it means by “controversial programming.”

A media ad-buying-and-placement firm for Progressive insurance notified radio affiliates on Friday morning to stop airing ads on or near Ingraham’s programming.

“DO NOT AIR ANY PROGRESSIVE SPOTS IN OR ADJACENT TO ANY CONTROVERSIAL PROGRAMMING, SPECIFICALLY LAURA INGRAHAM PROGRAMMING, IN THE WEEK OF 4/2,” Ad Large Media wrote on behalf of Progressive to radio affiliates nationwide on Friday morning in an email subsequently obtained by Breitbart News.

Progressives jumping on the bandwagon of other companies that are at least temporarily boycotting Ingraham’s shows is a major development. Perhaps even more significant, though, is that through ad placement firm Ad Large Media, Progressive has at least begun to define what constitutes a company’s withdrawal of its ads from a program in this new age of corporate warfare.

What has happened particularly with Laura Ingraham this week is she made comments about Parkland student David Hogg, prompting a left-wing campaign against her advertisers. In response, some advertisers pulled ads from her show. Then, she apologized to Hogg, Hogg did not accept her apology, and the attacks on her advertisers have continued.

This is the latest in a long line of similar corporate warfare attacks from the left against conservative media. Sean Hannity, also a nationally syndicated radio host and Fox News host, has faced similar attacks over the years. Radio host Rush Limbaugh has as well, as has Breitbart News and other right-of-center media outlets.

The term “controversial programming” does not have a clear definition; a spokesman for Progressive refused to define it when Breitbart News asked on Friday.

“No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, bullying a high school student is inappropriate, and we’re pulling our ads for the time being,” Progressive spokesman Brian Grace said in an email to Breitbart News. Of course, Ingraham’s statement was made on her personal Twitter account, not her Fox news program.

Grace was responding to a press inquiry Breitbart News sent to Ad Large Media about the email Ad Large Media sent on Progressive’s behalf to radio stations coining the term “controversial programming” and informing them of the decision to pull the ads for now.

Grace, on behalf of Progressive, also refused to define what the company means by “adjacent to” when it ordered, through the ad agency radio affiliates, not to run Progressive ads “in or adjacent to” what it considers to be “controversial programming”—again, a term the publicly traded insurance company will not further define.

Grace also did not answer when Breitbart News asked who specifically made this decision on behalf of the company—whether it was a board decision, or which executives, including if the CEO Tricia Griffith, was involved. Grace also did not answer whether Progressive will detail the decision—and the process—for shareholders at the next shareholders meeting and refused to answer if the company will be transparent with shareholders about any communication that any company officers had with anyone outside the company about this decision in the lead-up to Progressive’s politically charged move.

The full list of questions Breitbart News sent to Progressive is:

1) What is the definition that Progressive employs for “controversial programming?” Is it just Laura Ingraham? Is it something else? Please be specific in defining that term.

2) When Progressive says not to run ads “in or adjacent to,” what does “adjacent to” mean? Other programs on the same network? Programs connected to Ingraham in some way? Can you specify what you mean?

3) What prompted this decision to cut Progressive ads on these programs? Has anyone from Progressive been in contact with any people outside the company about this matter? If so, who and what did they say?

4) Who specifically made this decision for Progressive? Was it a CEO decision? A board decision? Some other kind of decision? Will Progressive provide shareholders with a breakdown of the decision-making process, including who was involved, what roles these people played, and why they made the decisions they did?

This is a developing story.


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