Thursday, April 7, 2011

Being Beck

As you've probably heard by now, Glenn Beck is ending his Fox News show. The parting is amicable, we're told, and it won't be the last we see of him.

Before I go any further, I will tell you openly that I didn't watch Beck's show, despite the "try it, you may like it" coaxing or scoldings of my conservative friends. Well, I did. When I did, I felt like I was 1) watching or listening to somebody on the verge of a breakdown or 2) getting a lecture from a fringe professor in a mild nightmare from my MU days. I did watch his rally in Washington last year and gave it a mixed review.

The new parlor game is whether he jumped or slipped. Beck is leaving Fox with solid numbers, even with ratings declines, the shadow of 400 Fox advertisers boycotting his show, and a stream of criticism.

Could he have spun way too many doomsday theories? Could he be too fringed for even Fox's outspoken lineup? Do people have an aversion to chalkboards?

Or perhaps the reason is a basic showbiz flaw: the act is getting stale. People aren't tuning into Beck perhaps because they know him too well. They know his politics and peeves and push-buttons. Nothing surprises them anymore. Nothing gives them motivation to keep tuning in, especially when the star of the show gives them little to hope for in America.

It is my thesis that political talk-show hosts intentionally stir the pot to keep their shows on the air. Polite talk makes great dinner table conversation but lousy Arbitron figures. Rush Limbaugh has figured out how to keep from falling into a rut after more than two decades on the national airwaves. I'm not sure Beck has learned the secret.

1 comment:

Suzanne. said...

OMG, My Dear Christopher, what a filthy vicious spin your linked KOLD article tries to put on this non-story. I hope you didn't write it!! Oh, I see KOLD simply lifted it from the AP, a known left wing fringe outlet. Thank God. Repeating garbage isn't quite as bad as writing it. (Is it?) It's quite obvious Roger Ailes, if AP didn't fabricate their quotes of him whole cloth, was merely expressing his disdain for the AP itself.

The fact is, Beck is branching out at the height of his ratings, and he's always had more advertisers seeking him out than he has had room for. The "ratings slump" story was only the usual leftist drumbeat trying to create a self-fulfilling prophecy (a game the American public is on to). The fact is, Beck is still smashing all 5:00 competition, and any advertisers who have left Beck only made room for others.

I am visiting my Mom in Phoenix right now, so I don't usually have cable, but I managed to catch Beck last night. With the projects Beck and FoxNews have planned, Beck's detractors,to quote the horse's mouth, "are going to wish for a return to the days when I was only on at 5 o'clock."

The AP envy is drippingly obvious.

Always take things from the horse's mouth, Christopher