During his two and a half years on the network, Fox News figures were constantly forced to distance themselves from Glenn Beck. Here are the top five examples.
5. NYT: Fox Executives Questioned Beck's Gold Promotion. In December 2009, The New York Times reported:
Joel Cheatwood, the senior vice president of development for Fox News, said the network's legal department had recently sent a letter to Mr. Beck's representatives “seeking clarification” about his work for Goldline.
“They sent back word that he is not a paid spokesman,” Mr. Cheatwood said, adding that it would be “problematic without question” if Mr. Beck did have a position as a paid spokesman for a product.
Fox News released a statement outlining its official policy about such issues: “Fox News prohibits any on-air talent from endorsing products or serving as a product spokesperson.”
Fox News stressed that it was not aware that Mr. Beck was listed on the Internet as a paid spokesman. But he definitely was, until very recently. On cached editions of the Goldline Web site over the last week to 10 days, a photograph of Mr. Beck was accompanied by an asterisk which led to a line at the bottom of the site that read: “paid spokesman.”
Matthew Hiltzik, a spokesman for Mr. Beck, said the host should never have been listed as a “paid spokesman” because he did not receive separate fees beyond the sponsorship for that or any other work he did for the company.
Before he moved onto Fox News, however, Mr. Beck appeared in a video on the Goldline Web site extolling the virtues of gold. And Mr. Beck routinely reads Goldline ads on the radio, a practice Fox said was acceptable under its guidelines. [The New York Times, 12/13/09]
4. Beck's Fox Colleague Van Susteren: Beck “Should Move His Event.” In August 2010, Fox's Greta Van Susteren criticized Beck's plans to host a rally in Washington, D.C. on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Van Susteren wrote on her Fox News blog:
On August 28th my colleague Glenn Beck is going to lead an event on the mall in Washington, DC. It is the anniversary of Martin Luther King's “I have a dream” speech. The event is causing much controversy ...some support and some don't support and some are even furious and upset. Yes he has a First Amendment right to do it...but what about the wisdom of it? Remember...the Muslims in NYC have a First Amendment right to build a mosque but most Americans don't want it...and you have to ask the wisdom of the Muslims to push the issue. Just because you have the right to do something does not mean you should. My view? No mosque at ground zero and Glenn should move his event.
It does not help heal the country on so many fronts if we poke a stick in eyes. [FoxNews.com, GretaWire, 8/17/10, via Media Matters]
3. Kristol: Beck Is “Marginalizing Himself” Through His “Hysteria.” Fox News contributor Bill Kristol was publicly critical of Beck's reaction to protests in Egypt:
Now, people are more than entitled to their own opinions of how best to accomplish that democratic end. And it's a sign of health that a political and intellectual movement does not respond to a complicated set of developments with one voice.
But hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He's marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s. [The Weekly Standard, 2/14/11]
2. Some “Fox Journalists” Tell Kurtz They Are Worried Beck “Undermines Their Credibility.” From media critic Howard Kurtz's Washington Post column:
In just over a year, Glenn Beck's blinding burst of stardom has often seemed to overshadow the rest of Fox News.
And that may not be a good thing for the top-rated cable news channel, as many of its staffers are acutely aware.
With his celebrity fueled by a Time cover story, best-selling books, cheerleading role at protest rallies and steady stream of divisive remarks, Beck is drawing big ratings. But 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.
Fox staffers note that veteran producer Gresham Striegel left the network after clashing with Beck and say the host has surrounded himself with loyalists from Mercury, some of whom remain on that company's payroll. (Striegel did not respond to a request for comment.) When Fox covers breaking news during Beck's hour, some journalists say, they are flooded with angry e-mail from viewers about the preemption.
Friction between opinionated cable personalities and journalists has also flared occasionally at MSNBC. But Beck has caused such anguish at Fox that some of its journalists celebrated the failure of last week's interview with embattled ex-congressman Eric Massa, which Beck pronounced a waste of time.
One thing is beyond debate: Beck provides a strong lead-in for the network's evening lineup. “The significance of Beck to Fox's bottom line cannot be underestimated,” says Tyndall, the industry analyst. “Getting an audience that size at 5 p.m. is absolutely unheard of.”
But that growth has come at a price, at least for those at Fox who believe that Beck is beginning to define their brand. Glenn Beck is a media phenomenon married to a phenomenally successful network, but away from the cameras, theirs is a troubled relationship. [The Washington Post, 3/15/10]
1. Fox News Explains Decision To Preempt Beck's Show For Taped Special: “At Least We Will Be Able To Sell The Special.” Deadline.com reported that Beck's June 10 show would be replaced by a taped special about political sex scandals hosted by Van Susteren. In explaining the decision, a Fox News spokeswoman said “At least we will still be able to sell the special,” a reference to the hundreds of advertisers that have refused to sponsor his show.