It’s been a long time coming. The indisputably most bizarre festival of conspiratorial dementia ever to be broadcast is nearing its end. That’s right – The Glenn Beck Acute Paranoia Revue will “transition off of” Fox News later this year.
The press release:
FOX NEWS AND MERCURY RADIO ARTS ANNOUNCE NEW AGREEMENT(New York, NY) Fox News and Mercury Radio Arts, Glenn Beck’s production company, are proud to announce that they will work together to develop and produce a variety of television projects for air on the Fox News Channel as well as content for other platforms including Fox News’ digital properties. Glenn intends to transition off of his daily program, the third highest rated in all of cable news, later this year.
Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News said, “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. Glenn Beck said: “I truly believe that America owes a lot to Roger Ailes and Fox News. I cannot repay Roger for the lessons I’ve learned and will continue to learn from him and I look forward to starting this new phase of our partnership.”
Joel Cheatwood, SVP/Development at Fox News, will be joining Mercury Radio Arts effective April 24, 2011. Part of his role as EVP will be to manage the partnership and serve as a liaison with the Fox News Channel. Roger Ailes said: “Joel is a good friend and one of the most talented and creative executives in the business. Over the past four years I have consistently valued his input and advice and that will not stop as we work with him in his new role.” “Glenn Beck” is consistently the third highest rated program on cable news.
For the 27 months that “Glenn Beck” has aired on Fox News, the program has averaged more than 2.2 million total viewers and 563,000 viewers 25-54 years old, numbers normally associated with shows airing in primetime, not at 5pm. “Glenn Beck” has dominated all of its cable news competitors since launch.
Glenn Beck and Fox News are portraying this as an amicable separation with sloppy wet kisses abounding, but a television network doesn’t hack off a healthy limb for no reason. Nor does an egomaniacal wannabe Messiah abandon a broadcast perch with national reach voluntarily. We may never know the details of this severance, but we can be certain that it was not as lovey-dovey as the parties are pretending.
We know that Beck’s audience has been eroding rapidly. The past quarter showed more than a third of his viewers skipped out. What’s more, when he has been on vacation his numbers barely budged, proving that he was not a particularly indispensable component of his own show. He has the distinction of having driven away more than 300 advertisers who refuse to have their products and services associated with his hostile, hateful rhetoric.
From Fox’s perspective, they could air traffic at a Roach Motel and make more money if just half of the prodigal advertisers return. (Plus, the Roach Motel Hour would provide more intelligent content and attract a smarter audience). Fox may also have an incentive to distance themselves from the more extreme meanderings of Beck’s perverse imagination as the 2012 election cycle ramps up. More and more conservative politicians, pundits, and planners have become fearful that Beck’s derangement is scaring voters away.
Not to worry. Beck was prepared for this. He previously advised his congregation that…
“They can take my job and they can take my wealth but that’s okay…even if the powers to be, right now, succeed in making me poor, drum me out, and I’m just a worthless loser…which I’m just about that much above that now…I will only be stronger for it. I will use American ingenuity and my ingenuity to pull myself up, and I will find another way to get my message out on a platform that will be a thousand times more powerful!”
I always wondered why, if he had a platform that was a thousand times more powerful, why wasn’t he already using it? He never mentioned what it was. I suppose we’ll find out now. Last year, in response to a series of health issues, Beck also assured his disciples that…
“Things are changing and there is no bad news here. Because what I am feeling in myself, and what is happening to my physical body, to some extent, and what is happening to me mentally, is not a depression, is not a death. It is a transformation. It is a transcendence. It is a reaching out of the slime and pulling yourself out. So it is not bad news. It is just a transition period.”
Personally, I think that what is happening is the wrath of God. After all, it is written plainly in Deuteronomy 28:27-29 that if you fail to heed God’s law…
27: The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.
28: The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart.
29: And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.
So how is that working out? We hardly need to speak of Egypt and how badly Beck botched that. The emerods (or hemorrhoids) he has already had, and it nearly killed him. The potential blindness he announced tearfully last year. The madness is self evident.
And now the third curse attacking his prosperity is upon him as he is cast into the television ether by the Pharisees of Fox. And he shouldn’t rest too comfortably on his radio career either, as in that realm he has lost seven stations in just the first three months of this year – including major markets like New York and Philadelphia.
Soon the talk will turn to who will succeed Beck. Ironically, I came into possession of a leaked Fox News memo on April 1st that sheds some light on this question. And as for Beck’s future, he hysterically floated the idea of his own cable network. Lookout Oprah. I think he would be far better off exploiting his natural gifts as a combined televangelist/infomercial barker. Imagine the possibilities of merging Beck’s smarmy Jimmy Swaggert impersonation with the marketing zing of a ShamWow prayer cloth pitch.
Fox News should know that jettisoning Beck does not absolve them of responsibility for all the brazen disinformation they have been peddling. He was just an hour long island in a sea of red-faced lies. They still have Bill O’Reily, Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly, Steve Doocy, and a battalion of conniving contributors delivering their propaganda. Fox News will be no closer to legitimate journalism after Beck’s departure. But they will be a little less shrill.