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Glenn Beck: Should Fox Toss Him Out of the Coop?

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Glenn Beck is walking toward a cliff -- or running, or skipping. The question is, will Fox News go flying over the edge with him, or give him a push?

For years, Beck has pitched various conspiracy theories with a rather predictable thrust: The left is out to take over and/or destroy the United States. (The relationship between assuming control of the country and scheming its decimation has always been a bit fuzzy.) And his targets have been sinister lefty outfits that are not household names: the Tides Foundation, ACORN, and others. As long as Beck stuck to this classic tale -- secret commies undermining this great land of ours -- he wasn't much of a problem to most conservatives and his patrons at Fox. Sure, some conservative commentators (such as David Frum) derided Beck. But Beck was more like the crazy uncle in the attic who could be ignored. And Fox News could bank the revenue Beck generated without worry. Good ratings forgive much.

But only so much.

The Egypt uprising has raised the stakes for Beck -- and Fox. In the past two weeks, Beck has viewed events in Egypt through his own rather warped filter. He claims that the rebellion is not about the people, not about democracy. Instead, he says, it's a move by radical Islamists to take over Egypt, as part of a larger plan to install a caliphate that stretches from the Middle East through Europe and toward the United States. And he contends that "uber-leftists" and Islamic extremists are "plotting together" toward this end. Last week on his radio show, he declared, "Groups from the hard-core socialist and communist left and extreme Islam will work together because they are both a common enemy of Israel and the Jew. . . . Islam wants a caliphate. Communists want a communist new world order. They'll work together, and they'll destabilize. Because they both want chaos."

Austin Powers, anyone? But it gets better. This grand cabal also includes . . . the Establishment. Beck points out that Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush refrained from bombing "ancient Babylon" during their respective wars against Iraq. "Why?" he asks. "Because the Bible tells us that that is the seat right there of power of a global evil empire," meaning that Islamic caliphate. Bush father and son each wanted to preserve the heart of a radical Islam caliphate? That seems to be what Beck is saying.

Beck depicts the Egyptian revolution as nothing more than a dark development in a covert three-dimensional global chess game that only he can suss out. The implication is that good Americans ought to fear and oppose the protests led by Egyptians calling for Hosni Mubarak's departure and democratic reforms. And conservatives who endorse the demonstrators' call for change and reforms are nothing but useful idiots doing the work of the clandestine Islamic-communist cabal.

This latest Beck craziness, now that it is not focused on lefties, has become too much for some conservatives. Bill Kristol, the top-dog neocon, gripes:

[H]ysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He's marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.


Beck fired back with a semi-quasi-coherent retort:

People like Bill Kristol, I don't think they actually stand for anything anymore. All they stand for is power. . . . And really, times have changed, Bill. Times have changed. It's time to see the world as it really is and to see how these big government solutions and getting into bed with dictators is really something the left does and not something that the right should do.


Get into bed with dictators? That's certainly something Kristol and the right did during the Cold War, when they supported autocratic regimes around the world, as long as these governments were anti-communist. But in this instance, Kristol is advocating opposing an autocrat in Egypt. What's Beck talking about?

Beck's problem, though, is not that Kristol has finally realized Beck is preaching nonsense. It's that now Beck has to expand his conspiracy to include Kristol, a prominent Fox News contributor, as either an active participant in the mighty plot or an unseeing buffoon exploited by the evil masters. And not just Kristol, but everybody else at Fox News who doesn't report and decry the Bush-assisted Islamic-communist plot against the United States. For Beck to be true to his cause, he will have to assail other conservatives who don't join him, for, my friends, this is about survival.

Beck cannot sustain his conspiracy mongering without roping into the conspiracy those on the right who either dare to challenge him or who are too dumb to see what's what. And that includes the rest of Fox News. After all, how could Bill O'Reilly, during his pre-Super Bowl interview with President Obama, not ask the president about his role in the left-Islam plot to create a caliphate? O'Reilly must be in on it -- or a naif. And the rest of the Fox network, too! If Beck is serious, his conspiracy theory must engulf the network that pays him.

Meanwhile, Fox faces a challenge: How long can it continue to air the ravings of a fellow denounced by sane conservatives? I once was a commentator at Fox News and worked with Roger Ailes. The guy likes to make money; he likes to cause trouble. But he also likes to be regarded seriously. (Ditto for Rupert Murdoch.) Beck is making it increasingly tough for Fox to claim it is a reality-based outfit (even by its standards). As Beck veers more into Bircher-land, can Fox stand behind him?

Time magazine's Joe Klein reports:

I've heard, from more than a couple of conservative sources, that prominent Republicans have approached Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes about the potential embarrassment that the paranoid-messianic rodeo clown may bring upon their brand. The speculation is that Beck is on thin ice.


Beck ought to be. Especially since his ratings are dropping.

As Beck becomes increasingly unhinged and lost in conspiracy-land, he may well become a litmus test for the right -- and a measure of whether the leaders of Fox News care about any claim to respectability. Should Fox throw him out of the coop, Beck will still have a cult-like following that he can service via his syndicated radio show, website, and books -- and still make tens of millions of dollars a year. He won't crawl off to an undisclosed location. But he will no longer have the imprimatur of the right's main media outfit. And what better confirmation that the conspiracy is vast, oh so vast.

You can follow David Corn's postings and media appearances via Twitter.
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MG

I wonder why people turn to people like Beck to begin with? Could it be that *gasp* the media (all media for the most part) refuses to do it's job and report critical information that is pertinent to Americans making educated decisions when they vote? You know it's true when celebrities and "reality" TV stars take up time in a "news broadcast". Unfortunately for all you Pro-Beck-ers out there, he's just the clown with the frowning face compared to all the other clowns with the smiling face. You want to believe him cause he's different from the other clowns, but when you get right down to it, he's a clown, a distraction, a side-show to keep you hungry for tyrannical government of the right-wing variety.

Yet, many of you will roar about his first Amendment right to keep you distracted. He doesn't have a right to stay employed by a media entity. That's not what the first Amendment says. If fox drops him he'll have to use his own resources instead of fox's to make media material, that will be the only change. Then again I find it funny Pro-Beckers want to scream first Amendment for Beck but decry some Mosques in America or that Muslims exist in America. The same first Amendment that protects Beck from GOVERNMENT action to disable his ability to make make media is the same first Amendment that protects Muslims and their religious buildings from GOVERNMENT action to disable their ability to practice their faith peacefully.

All in all both left and right are full of tyrants. All want large government that forces people to do things under threat of violence that they would not normally do.

March 17 2011 at 9:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vigoddess

Glen Beck and Charlie Sheen should be room mates at a rehab facility.
They both need help. Charlie, the last time we saw him, was totally incoherent
and nuts, and that comes from playing too much where his wing ding short
circuited to his brain from too many feel good pills and liquor.
Beck appeals to a large audience of people who still believe there's
a boogie man under the bed, and his paranoia is trendy today.
Someone has to tell Beck that the Soviet Union is no longer into
communism. They found it doesn't work, so if anyone is fanning the
flame of communism it's Beck. That came down with the wall, because
the Soviet's war machine broke the bank, and they fell into the same
economy pond that we are in.
Fox believes in shock and sensationalism and that does appeal
to people so Murtagh runs the media at the same level, because the
rag papers in England all have scandals on their front pages, and
Mr. Murtagh makes panelists and authorities on nut cases like
Palin as well for the same input.
Palin and Beck should start an exclusive club with their
following and call it Becky and Plain.

March 09 2011 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Syllogizer

Fox dumping Beck? That would be just so wonderful! This article raises my hopes, I hope Fox dumps him this week!

Beck's dishonest screeds have been a bane on American democracy for far too long now. The sooner he is given the boot, the better.

February 21 2011 at 6:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lynettewalk

wow, the people on here who demonize Beck obviously do not watch his show - how can anyone refute actual videos of Soros, etc., and more recently the head of the Brotherhood - these are not Beck's opinions - IT IS VIDEO PEOPLE - get it??!!! Glen very rarely addresses an issue without video after video supporting his assertions - come on people - at least watch the show especially if you are going to comment - otherwise you just look like fools.

Don't be another soldier for liberal media without researching on the net or wherever what these people are all about - I didn't believe it either until I personally watched videos - especially the committed "Communist" Vann Jones that
O'Bama appointed to his cabinet who then had to resign when the country found out. We found out from Fox News!!!!!!!!!! Or have you seen the video of Reverend Wright screaming to his congregation "God Dam America" and this is the church O'Bama attended for many years and the minister that married him. To this day, O'Bama claims he hardly knew Wright and had no idea of this reverend's hatred of America. All of these facts come from Fox News - you may not want to hear these facts but they are nonetheless - facts! Make your political decisions based on facts, not sound bites that you hear from Hollywood or one of the admittedly liberal networks who are not ever going to give both sides of an issue - my gosh, did you people never take debate in school.
youtube

February 18 2011 at 12:40 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to lynettewalk's comment
Margie

Thank you.

February 18 2011 at 9:36 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
rcwilson005

Beck produces clips that are edited out of context. Perhaps if you did your own research instead of trusting the tid bits the maniac feeds you, you'd realize that you're generally digesting manufactured information. I watch and read from both ends of the spectrum, but more importantly, I come to my own conclusions through raw text and footage, prior to its regurgitation by either side. It would be prudent for you to do so as well. Maybe then you won't go attacking the other side for a folly to which you yourself have obviously fallen victim.

February 21 2011 at 10:29 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
cmitzinc

Hey, Fox can't get rid of Beck! Jon Stewart won't have anybody to make fun of. Plus the sales in chalk boards and chalk will go down, the chalk industry will take a significant hit.

February 15 2011 at 7:49 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
jossrll

Anymore, all the shows on MSNBC remind me of gossip fests. Especially Hardball which probably should be renamed 'Spitball', given the excessive saliva Chris Matthews seems to have which is about the only thing he is offering these days. I am liking watching Beck and would have never discovered him if it were not for the constant put downs from the people at MSNBC. For that, I do thank them. Mattthe n.

February 15 2011 at 7:47 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
kmamedpr

David Corn certainly can not believe, for one second, that FoxNews would give one second of consideration to any of his opinions/suggestions. It never ceases to amuse me when MSNBC gathers the likes of (wannabe) Joe Scarborough, (hasbeen) Chris Matthews, (neverbeen) David Corn, their two pseudo reporters, and (hedonist) Mika who then spend 1-2 segments filled with disparaging remarks regarding FoxNews and Glenn Beck. So reminiscent of the non-achievers, constant complainers featured in a popular sitcom with protagonists named Jerry and Elaine.

February 15 2011 at 10:51 AM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to kmamedpr's comment
Margie

Speaking of "morning Joe" and Matthews.... I watched them for a bit this afternoon and I was embarrassed at the slobbering Matthews was doing over Joe. It was a kissy act bar none. Matthews spends alot of time obsessing over Palin and Beck and doesn't tell us anything new. I used to like the guy years and years ago but anymore he has nothing to offer except hate and salacious gossip.

February 15 2011 at 7:40 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
vigoddess

Ahhhhhhh. The hero and star here of MSNBC is Richad Engel. He's their journalist.
He should get a Pulitzer because he puts his life in danger covering Iraq,
Afghanistan, Egypt and now Lybia, and he speaks the language, rather than
essays on the politics in the Middle East, which most of the panelists they
have come from viewpoint, and not actual happenings.
Love that guy.

March 09 2011 at 5:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jbaez1950

No. He is the only one that is marking the dots. Maybe some of you new writers that just came on board should follow him. For many will be awaken and many won't. So, put your own personal opinions aside and don't follow the minions like MSNBC, which will fall in the year to come, and report what you were taught to do. The truth.

February 15 2011 at 10:43 AM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
Mr. C

Greetings America:

Hey Mr. Corn, how do you know? I believe Glenn Beck much more than I believe your version of Glenn's truth! You are also after ratings, my friend. However, you are not brave enough to put you career on the line and share information that might not otherwise be shared. The most remarkable thing about Mr. Beck is that he always ask his followers to verify what he has said. You never do!!!! So much for the conspiracy theory. I believe Glenn and so do you!!! I understand that you have a job to do, no matter how poorly it has been done. God Bless America!!!!!!!!

Lamar C. Chapman III
Solo Fides (Only by Faith)
Crown of Life Recipient - October 24, 2004
Sacredotal Ordination - July 11, 1991

February 15 2011 at 10:13 AM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
camarillofats

Beck is a comedian. Nothing more, nothing less. But not a very good one.

February 14 2011 at 11:06 PM Report abuse -15 rate up rate down Reply

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