NEW YORK (AP) - Glenn Beck’s talk show is being dropped by the Fox News Channel after sinking in the ratings and suffering financially due to an advertiser boycott.
Beck was a quick burn on Fox News Channel. Almost immediately after joining the network in January 2009, he doubled the ratings at his afternoon time slot. Fans found his conservative populism entertaining, while Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert described Beck’s “crank up the crazy and rip off the knob” moments.
He was popular with Tea Party activists and drew thousands of people to the National Mall in Washington last August for a “restoring honor” rally.
Yet some of his statements were getting him in trouble, and critics appealed to advertisers to boycott his show last summer after Beck said President Barack Obama had “a deep-seated hatred for white people.”
“Half of the headlines say he’s been cancelled,” Ailes said. “The other half say he quit. We’re pretty happy with both of them.”
“We felt Glenn brought additional information, a unique perspective, a certain amount of passion and insight to the channel and he did,” Ailes said. “But that story of what’s going on and why America is in trouble today, I think he told that story as well as could be told. Whether you can just keep telling that story or not … we’re not so sure.”
Ailes dismissed the financial impact of the boycott but expressed some frustration with it.
“Advertisers who get weak-kneed because some idiot on a blog site writes to them and says we need to stifle speech, I get a little frustrated by that,” he said.
One of Beck’s most prominent critics _ David Brock, founder of the liberal watchdog Media Matters for America _ said that “the only surprise is that it took Fox News months to reach this decision.”
“Fox News Channel clearly understands that Beck’s increasingly erratic behavior is a liability to their ratings and their bottom line, and we are glad to see them take this action,” said James Rucker, executive director of ColorofChange.org, which organized the advertiser boycott.
Beck was a lightning rod for other critics, as well. The Jewish Funds for Justice organized a petition drive last fall to get Beck fired for what it called his misuse of Nazis and the Holocaust phrases against political opponents.