Is Glenn Beck too negative even for Fox News?
Report suggests Fox News is preparing for life without its controversial host
How Glenn Beck must envy Charlie Sheen. While millions across America hang on the Hollywood bad boy's every word since he took up Twitter last week, Beck is shedding viewers at an astonishing rate.
According to the New York Times, the Fox News host has lost over a third of his audience for his 5pm The Glenn Beck Program, an extraordinary slide for a man who six months ago attracted 100,000 people to his 'Restoring Honor' rally at the National Mall in Washington. The situation is so alarming that the paper claims Fox is "looking at the end of his contract in December and contemplating life without Mr. Beck".
Beck, described by the NYT as a "conservative Jeremiah", became the darling of right-wing conspiracy theorists in 2009 when he began using his Fox News show to warn of danger in every nook and cranny of American life.
Muslims, socialists, the rising cost of gas, George Soros... nothing was off-limits for Beck as he stoked the fears of right-wingers still struggling to get to grips with the election of Barack Obama as president.
But now it seems Beck's outrageous opinions (he's claimed that Obama harbours a "deep-seated hatred for white people") may be alienating viewers, as well as advertisers. Apparently 300 of the latter have abandoned Beck's show, prompting the NYT to ask if the unthinkable might be about to happen: a parting of the ways between Fox and Beck.
Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corporation owns Fox News, is reportedly increasingly exasperated by the station's output, a claim articulated by the founding chairman of Sky TV Andrew Neil in January when he told the BBC: "I think Rupert Murdoch has lost control of [Fox News]. I know from sources he's not happy with a lot that appears on it... he is uncomfortable with Glenn Beck and various other positions they take and some of the things they say."
Those comments were made prior to recent events in the Middle East, where the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have only fuelled Beck's belief that the end of the world is nigh.
Where once there was an element of black humour to his rantings, now viewers are confronted only with prophecies of doom from a man who really does seem to believe that the turmoil in the Arab world will lead to Apocalypse.
Joel Cheatwood, the executive in charge of Beck's show, dismisses talk that the host's popularity may be on an irreversible downward trajectory, though he does concede that his man needs to offer the possibility of salvation to his viewers, whatever his own private misgivings about the state of the world.
"It is really important that no matter how dire he thinks things are or what horrible direction things may be going from his perspective that the show maintains a sense of hope," Cheatwood told the NYT. ·
Comments are now closed on this article