Today is Glenn Beck’s last day on Fox News. As expected, Media Matters has a lot of content dedicated to Beck’s goodbye. (Don’t worry, Beck will still have his radio show, his books, his website The Blaze, his clothing line and whatever he can convince
the dupes his fans to buy.) Simon Maloy has a nice review of the evolution of Beck’s show. Did you realize that Beck’s first show in January 2009 started like this?
In an early promo for his Fox News program, Beck claimed to disavow those on the “right” who talk about progressives and Democrats “trying to turn us into communist Russia.”
It quickly changed into this:
Beck, in the meanwhile, kept updating his shtick and sinking deeper into conspiracy theorism. He started using the now-famous chalkboards and began talking about the “Tree of Revolution.” Beck’s rhetoric also became increasingly violent; he said the Obama administration was “putting a gun to America’s head” and wielded a baseball bat as he warned that “you too could be the next victim of the killing spree.” More often than not, the talk of violence and conspiracy mongering were accompanied by attacks on the Tides Foundation, which Beck often placed at the center of his chalkboard diagrams.
After spending most of 2009 warning, sometimes literally, that the end of America was nigh, Beck kicked off 2010 by promoting himself as the person who would “restore honor” to the country. But even as he imagined for himself a grander and grander role among the pantheon of American heroes, his Fox News colleagues were starting to view him as a problem. In a March 2010 Washington Post column, Howard Kurtz reported that “Beck has become a constant topic of conversation among Fox journalists, some of whom say they believe he uses distorted or inflammatory rhetoric that undermines their credibility.” Kurtz’s article prompted Fox News chairman Roger Ailes to warn employees off intramural sniping: “Glenn Beck, does his show and that’s his opinion. It’s not the opinion of FOX News and he has a right to say it.”
I think you could argue the chicken/egg question here. Did Beck follow his fans into Obama Derangement or vice versa?
As Van Jones pointed out, Beck’s cancellation is actually a triumph of capitalism. A very effective activist named Angelo Carusone led an advertiser influence campaign. He got great results, which he details here. Advertising on Beck’s show cost just 1/6 that of other primetime Fox News shows.
More than 300 advertisers excluded their ads from Glenn Beck’s Fox News program since late July 2009 when he called President Obama a “racist” who has a “deep-seated hatred for white people.” In February 2010, the UK broadcast of Glenn Beck’s show began running without any commercials due to advertiser losses abroad.
Subsequent to news of Beck’s departure, The New York Times reported that Fox News saw “the refusal of hundreds Fox advertisers” to place ads on Beck as an issue. This issue was recently highlighted when a Fox News spokeswoman, commenting on Fox’s decision to preempt Beck’s show for a sex scandal special, reportedly quipped that “at least we will be able to sell the special.”
A financial analysis of Glenn Beck’s advertiser losses illustrates two points:
The number of paid advertisements running on Glenn Beck’s show dramatically declined since advertisers began boycotting his show.
According to industry data, key advertisements running on Beck’s show cost an estimated one-third to one-sixth of what they cost on other comparable Fox News programs.
For example, you can see the ad rates for Beck compared to Hannity and O’Reilly in this graph:
Mr. Carusone’s effort Stop Beck was extremely successful. So successful that Media Matters hired Mr. Carusone and has expanded the effort to target Fox News. MMFA is definitely getting under Fox News’s skin, O’Reilly, Hannity and others spend a lot of time attacking them.
I think I might watch tonight, if I can stomach it. Will anyone else tune in?