No, Fox News Should Not Fire Glenn Beck

I don't watch Glenn Beck. I'm at work during his 5PM Fox News show, I don't own a TiVo and I don't really watch political television anyway. So most of what I know about the guy comes from YouTube clips, which means I've noted his particularly alarmist segments, his talent for voices and his use of the word socialism so often it's like he's trying to trademark it. But now, Henry Blodget writes for Huffington Post that News Corp should fire Glenn Beck. That's absurd.


Yes, more than ten companies have asked Fox News not to air their ads during Beck's show. But they haven't canceled their contracts. They've just left the slots open to fill with different ad revenue. And what ad revenue!

Fox News in on pace for their best year ever, and one reason is that Glenn Beck is absolutely crushing in his slot with an audience of 2.4 million, third in cable news. That's Keith Olbermann's and Rachel Maddow's MSNBC primetime audiences together, plus some. Who wants to fire that viewership?

Blodget also makes a moral case for Glenn's firing on the basis that he called President Obama a racist. He writes:

Beck's "hatred for white people" remark is every bit as inappropriate and offensive as [Don] Imus's "nappy-headed hos." Imus got sacked for that remark -- as he should have. So should Beck.

This is a silly and false comparison. A racist comment on MSNBC about black female college basketball players is not only stupid and ignorant targeting of non-public amateur students, it's also an invitation to have your viewers hurl their eggs at the screen. Expressing contempt for a liberal president on Fox News isn't out of the Fox News mainstream, not by a long shot, even if the specific accusation was ludicrous. By all means, we're free to point at Glenn Beck and laugh (or cry) at his through-the-looking-glass views on politics and culture, but liberals calling for his sacking are wasting precious breath.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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