Pundit Glen Beck parts company with Fox News


SAGGING RATINGS, a string of damaging remarks and an exodus of advertisers have combined to end Glenn Beck’s controversial tenure on US cable network Fox News.

The news follows weeks of speculation about Beck’s future, as a campaign to put pressure on advertisers to boycott his daily 5pm slot gathered pace, while Beck himself was embroiled in battles erupting from his often rococo conspiracy theories involving the likes of George Soros and Barack Obama.

An elliptical statement by Beck’s production company and Fox News said: “Glenn intends to transition off of his daily programme, the third highest rated in all of cable news, later this year.”

But the statement also put a face-saving spin on the decision to end Beck’s show, quoting Fox News’s chief executive Roger Ailes: “Glenn Beck is a powerful communicator, a creative entrepreneur and a true success by anybody’s standards. I look forward to continuing to work with him.”

The Glenn Beck show has been broadcast each weekday on Fox News since December 2009, when Beck moved to the network after an ill-fated show on CNN’s Headline News channel. The announcement was greeted with joy among Beck’s phalanx of critics on the left.

David Brock of Media Matters for America, one of Beck’s most vociferous critics, said: “After losing more than 300 advertisers and seeing more than a million viewers abandon his show, the only surprise is that it took Fox News months to reach this decision.” The StopBeck campaign, designed to lobby corporations against advertising on Beck’s show, welcomed the news with a Twitter posting: “VICTORY!”

The show’s peak of popularity coincided with the rise of the Tea Party with his blend of paranoia and conspiracy attracting a wide following – and an equally wide circle of criticism, thanks to often bizarre statements.

Beck’s string of eyebrow-raising claims on air includes his 2009 description of Obama as “a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture . . . This guy is, I believe, a racist.”

More recently, Beck held a two- day “investigation” into George Soros, who funds a variety of liberal causes in the US. Beck’s denunciation included a reference to Soros’s wartime childhood in Hungary, with Beck claiming: “Here’s a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps.”

Beck’s remarks were decried as “monstrous” by Jewish groups.

– (Guardian service)