Farewell Glenn Beck

Filed in National by on June 30, 2011

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?

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    Comments (11)

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    1. socialistic ben says:

      Hannity is next

    2. cassandra m says:

      Not watching Beck, no way, no how.

      But Beck is still working his victimology — claiming that a crowd in NYC at a screening of The 39 Steps yelled at him and his family and deliberately kicked a glass of wine onto his wife’s back. Of course, actual witnesses tell a different tale.

      The thing I want to know, though, is what the local *sane* conservatives are going to be doing tonite. Hope they are taking over a bar someplace and playing drinking games to celebrate.

      This guy can’t get gone soon enough.

    3. Free Market Democrat says:

      Beck’s cancelation is a victory for the Free Marketplace of Ideas. As John Stuart Mills said, “The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. (On Liberty, p. 24)

      Plus, for good measure, from JSM, “I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.”

    4. Watching Beck now. He’s patting himself on the back. Now he’s comparing himself to Jon Stewart, how he has fewer writers (only 2) but has longer monologues (21 min.). Now here’s a Goldline commercial.

    5. A second gold commercial – this one has G. Gordon Liddy!

    6. The theme of the show seems to be the greatness of Beck. Gold commercial count: 3. No crying yet.

    7. anon says:

      Not so fast. Beck is still on WILM!

    8. Gold commercial #4! Also, Beck really, really wants you to visit his website. He’s announced something called Mercury 1. I guess you have to go to his website. In a classy move he’s acknowledging his crew.

      It’s over and no tears were shed.

    9. 5 gold commercials total

    10. anon says:

      and no discussion at all, about the elephant in the room at Wilm…such progressives I can hardly stand it..

    11. cassandra_m says:

      And your problem, I’m thinking, is that progressives weren’t listening to WILM in the first place. Why should they care now?