Jonathan Chait

Beck Vs. Fox News

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The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reports today that a lot of people at Fox News don't like Glenn Beck:

there is a deep split within Fox between those -- led by Chairman Roger Ailes -- who are supportive, and many journalists who are worried about the prospect that Beck is becoming the face of the network.

By calling President Obama a racist and branding progressivism a "cancer," Beck has achieved a lightning-rod status that is unusual even for the network owned by Rupert Murdoch. And that, in turn, has complicated the channel's efforts to neutralize White House criticism that Fox is not really a news organization. Beck has become a constant topic of conversation among Fox journalists, some of whom say they believe he uses distorted or inflammatory rhetoric that undermines their credibility....

Some staffers say they have watched rehearsals, on internal monitors, in which Beck has teared up or paused at the same moments as he later did during the show.

Beck does bring a huge audience, but he creates a lot of problems, or potential problems, as well. Advertisers shun him, he fails to toe the party line as slavishly as network favorites like Sean Hannity, and Beck surrounds himself with loyalists from his previous work. Kurtz doesn't quite put it this way, but I think the unstated worry is that Beck is too erratic and uncontrollable, and could one day blow up at Fox and the GOP and bring his audience with him. The whole piece is worth a read.

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