Five Ways of Seeing Glenn Beck

As the kinetic Fox host battles a boycott, pundits part ways over whether to see him as a victim or provocateur.

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Yielding no ground to Glenn Beck in passion and tenacity, an African American activist group is mounting a campaign to yank Beck's show off the air. The controversial Fox host finds himself down 33 advertisers today after remarks in which he called Obama a racist sparked the group Color of Change to campaign for a boycott of his sponsors. The movement's surprising success has brought Beck and his role as a pundit into question. Here, five ways analysts answer the question, Glenn Beck is...?

  • A Victim of Liberal Censorship, says Tim Graham, who calls Color of Change "explicitly pro-Obama" and quotes the site's About Page to show the group's feelings about the way in which African Americans were treated during hurricane Katrina. "It’s pretty funny that a group with that kind of conspiracy-theory lingo (and charges about "Katrina's hidden race war") would suggest Glenn Beck is too outrageous for the airwaves. "

  • In Danger of Losing his Job, says Daily Finance's Peter Cohan, who asks, "Are you going to be among those who boycott these former Glenn Beck advertisers? Or do you think it's fine for advertisers to bolt when Beck promotes the idea that the U.S. is doomed unless bin Laden explodes a bomb in the U.S.?"
  • A Martyr, says Matthew Vddum at the American Spectator. He suggests that,"The White House may be behind a push to destroy Beck by convincing advertisers to stop buying time on his show," because of a few stories Beck did that slammed Van Jones, the president's green jobs czar.
  • Ratings King, says Cohan's Daily Finance colleague Jeff Bercovici. He says Beck's "antics might make some sponsors uncomfortable, but, as a Fox spokeswoman told The New York Times, those marketers haven't actually canceled their ad buys; they've merely asked that their spots run during other programming -- and only until this brouhaha quiets down, most likely."

  • A Genre Killer? asks Brian Steinberg at AdAge who notes that some of the advertisers pulling their spots from Beck's show, are not exclusive to conservative pundits alone. Now Clorox, he says, "is taking its ad dollars out of all politically oriented talk programs." He adds that a shift away from advertising on opinion talk shows could very well be viable, "should other marketers follow Clorox's lead."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.