It's been a long time coming, but Glenn Beck has finally announced an end to his daily Fox News program. The New York Times' Media Decoder reports that his departure was jointly announced in a statement on Wednesday by Fox and Beck's company, Mercury Radio Arts. The talk show host, who's been widely criticized for inciting racist and anti-immigrant hate speech, will reportedly continue working with Fox to develop other programs.
According to the Times:
Mr. Beck has been contemplating an exit from Fox for some time. Two of the post-Fox options he has considered, according to people who have spoken about it with him, are a partial or wholesale takeover of a cable channel, or an expansion of his subscription video service on the Web. His company has been staffing up -- making Web shows, some of which have little or nothing to do with Mr. Beck, and charging a monthly subscription for access to the shows.
Mr. Beck also hosts a syndicated radio show in the morning. He was estimated to earn about $32 million in total revenues in 2009, the first year that he worked at Fox.
Interestingly, a statement that had been posted on Beck's website The Blaze was abruptly taken down without any explanation.
Progressive activists and media makers have long targeted Beck. Colorofchange.org led a lengthy and aggressive campaign targeting the talk show host's advertisers. James Rucker, the organization's executive director, said in a statement that the group applauds Beck's departure.
Over 285,000 ColorOfChange members have participated in our campaign against him since it began in July 2009. Because of them, Beck's show lost over 300 advertisers - companies that were unwilling to attach their products and brands to his vitriolic and divisive commentary. Fox News Channel clearly understands that Beck's increasingly erratic behavior is a liability to their ratings and their bottom line, and we are glad to see them take this action.
When reached by phone, Rucker explained that Beck's departure is just one victory in a longer fight to hold the network accountable for what he called its race-baiting coverage.
"What I do know is that the value of ads on [Beck's] show have declined and financial analysts and others have started pressuring Fox to explain why they've withstood the reduction of value" for the network, Rucker told Colorlines. "The problems with Fox and race baiting aren't limited to Glenn Beck."
For proof, Rucker cited the network's recent coverage of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case. Though the Justice Department recently cleared the group of any wrongdoing, Fox had long used the case to paint a bizarre picture of so-called "reverse racism" in which white voters were being threatened at the polls. Media Matter later pointed out that Fox host Megyn Kelly spent only 20 seconds on a segment to report the DOJ's latest findings.
Earlier this year, Thoai Liu wrote about how Glenn Beck's gloomy ideas were bed for business. Ratings had reportedly been slipping since August, when he staged his bombastic "Restoring Honor" rally on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech. Think Progress noted that thanks to Beck's multimedia platform success, he would likely survive a split with the network. But at least for now, his hate's been muted.