FIRE BECK? YOU'RE JOKING, RIGHT?
At the Huffington Post, Ben Cohen says he thinks Rupert Murdoch will fire Glenn Beck. It'd be nice if Cohen were right, but he's not.
Rupert Murdoch is a smart man. In the U.K, Murdoch aligns his newspapers with the popular political party and helps them enact their policies by giving them favorable coverage. For the past 12 years, he supported the Labour Party. Now they are out of favor, Murdoch switched seamlessly to the Conservatives. Desperate to gain a grip on the Chinese media market, Murdoch saddled up to the Communist Party and even married a Chinese woman.
In short, Murdoch doesn't care about Left or Right. He cares about money.
In the United States, his news channel is doing just about everything it can to irritate the current President, and it is beginning to effect his business....
OK, stop there.
Cohen, of course, goes on to discuss the fact that sponsors are fleeing Beck's show because of racist remarks he's made about the president. That's true -- sponsors are fleeing. (Latest news: a British supermarket chain just stopped its ads on the Sky TV rebroadcast of Beck's show in the U.K.)
But have you seen the ratings overall? TV Newser, September 29, 2009:
Q3 Cable Ratings: FNC Shows Fill Top 10; #3 Network on Cable; Beck Grows Timeslot 136%
... Fox News has been dominating, even more than usual, in 2009. In the just-finished third quarter, Fox News beat CNN and MSNBC combined in Total Viewers and the A25-54 demo in both total day and primetime viewing. FNC is also the only cable news network to post across the board gains vs. Q3 '08.
... FNC had the top 10 programs in cable news.
... And for the month of September, FNC claimed the Top 13 programs in cable news in Total Viewers, which hasn't happened since Nov. 2004....
Go to the link and note the numbers for Beck in particular. His ratings put Fox 136% ahead of where the channel was a year ago in that time slot among viewers in the desirable 25-54 age bracket, and 89% ahead among all viewers. His viewership rivals that of Big Kahuna O'Reilly -- and that's despite the fact that he's on at 5 in the afternoon (O'Reilly is on in prime time).
With ratings like that, Rupe can afford to lose a few sponsors.
As for sucking up to the ruling party? Yeah, Murdoch does that. So when he challenges the head of state in America, it's clear he's made his judgment: Obama and the Democrats are not the people you have to worry about to do business in America. He's not kowtowing to Obama and the Dems because he doesn't fear them. He thinks they're paper tigers. (Can't blame him for thinking that, can you?)
Beck's much-talked-about "hatred for white people" remark might have caused some problems for Murdoch -- but, as I've said, the losses to Murdoch's bottom line are more than offset by the gains. And besides, Murdoch doesn't have to fire Beck -- he just has to order him not to be overtly racist in that same way again. (Coded racism is just fine, of course.)
By the way, let's not forget that Beck's rant was part of an across-the-board let's-call-Obama-a-racist strategy on the right in late July -- see, for instance, Investor's Business Daily and Fox Nation describing health-care reform as "reparations" just around the time Beck was making the same assertion. And also watch this Media Matters compilation video:
And, gosh, what happened right after this late-July flurry of uncoded race talk in the wingnut media? Oh, yeah, right -- the town hall thuggery. Hey, you don't suppose the decision to go over the line was a recruiting technique, do you?
So Beck and Murdoch suffered some consequences. But the net gain has been more than satisfactory, for Murdoch, Beck, and the right. Trust me: Beck isn't going anywhere.