After one of the most amazing runs in modern broadcast history, Fox News host Glenn Beck may be facing a backlash among establishment Republicans and growing concern at his own network that he’s no longer a franchise player, according to The New York Times. The paper says Beck’s ratings are way down, but admits he still draws huge numbers for a 5 PM off prime show.
The liberal Times claims that Fox officials apparently are concerned that his positions on various issues have become increasingly paranoid and alarmist. Also, GOP intellectuals like William Kristol and David Frum have written that Beck’s musings could end up doing serious damage to the GOP as it heads into a presidential election year.
“Fox News officials are willing to say — anonymously, of course; they don’t want to be identified as criticizing the talent — that they are looking at the end of his contract in December and contemplating life without Mr. Beck,” David Carr wrote in Monday’s Times.
On the record, though, Fox News defends Beck as one of the most important commentators today.
Joel Cheatwood, the senior vice president of development for Fox News, downplays that viewers are growing tired of watching Beck given his ratings, but admits keeping the show upbeat is a major priority.
"We have talked about that, at his instigation," Cheatwood told the Times. "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."
"What you see on television with Glenn is the real guy," he added, "and that is a double-edged sword. If he is upset about something, you see it."
Beck has disturbed some on the right by suggesting that the democratic revolutions sweeping the Middle East are actually fronts for Islamic radicals who want to establish a worldwide caliphate. He’s also concerned some with rants about billionaire financier George Soros and an alleged global conspiracy that some Jews believe veers dangerously close to anti-Semitism. Beck recently apologized to Reform Jewish leaders after likening their liberal positions to Islamic fundamentalists.
“He used to be a lot funnier,” David Von Drehle, who wrote the Time magazine article on Beck, told the Times. “He was the befuddled everyman and something entirely new, but the longer people have listened to his ranting and raving, the wearier they become. Now you are just getting down to diehards. I mean, how many people were in the Waco compound at the end? A couple of hundred?”
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