Glenn Beck on the Ropes?
DKos's KingOneEye writes that Glenn Beck isn't quite the FOX media star that one would think from all the hype. In fact, his ratings are down and in the UK, Murdoch has to fully subsidize the show because no advertisers are willing to be associated with Beck. So why is Beck still on the air? Here's a couple of suppositions from KingOneEye which sound right to me:
1) Beck represents the views of the people who employ him and their determination to advance those views supersedes their obligation to produce popular or profitable programming. That would fit the profiles of both Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch. Ailes is unambiguously partisan and has crammed the Fox lineup with staunch conservative activists in the role of reporters and hosts. At least four potential candidates for the GOP nomination for president are currently on the Fox News payroll. Murdoch has demonstrated his preference for ideology over profit by deficit financing many of his notoriously biased news operations for many years. And the disclosure of his million dollar donations (via News Corp) to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Republican Governor's Association remove all doubt as to his activist intentions.
2) Beck's bosses are afraid to terminate him due to the rabid idolatry of his fan base. Even though Beck's audience is relatively small and shrinking, they are an unstable lot and they would make a fierce roar of anguish were Fox to cut Beck loose. Whether that would manifest violently with threats to the network or its principles is unknown, but not implausible. They would certainly create a media maelstrom. The cultish worship of Beck approaches Messianic proportions. He even speculates on air that he is the target of death threats and that evil, clandestine forces are gathering to silence (crucify?) him. Just imagine how he would spin his cancellation as persecution, and all of his disciples would believe it.
Beck's fading popularity in the USA is a definite good news story. Now, perhaps the mainstream media can acknowledge that. If Murdoch is afraid to let go of the tiger's tail, that doesn't mean that the rest of the media needs to follow along. After all, their advertising dollars are not dependent on the Beck fans, but rather the broad swathe of the American public who know a con when they see one.