Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Is Glenn Beck too right wing even for Fox News?

That headline is taken from today's Independent newspaper. What I find extraordinary about it is that Glenn Beck has almost no notoriety amongst Brits. He actually is only known to those of us who frequent the blogs. And yet, he has managed to grab this kind of headline from a British broadsheet, based on the fact that his advertisers are deserting him after he labelled President Obama "a racist".

It may in the end have little impact on the bottom line of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, but a fast-gathering boycott by some of America's best-known conglomerates of Glenn Beck, a conservative commentator on his Fox News channel in the US, is beginning to take on embarrassing proportions.

The baby-faced Beck joined Fox News in January and has quickly established himself as one of the network's stars by feeding the political prejudices of its mostly conservative audience. Indeed, his daily assaults against President Barack Obama and, in recent weeks his healthcare plans, have helped Fox achieve record ratings.

But Beck, who moonlights on the comedy circuit, stepped on too many sensibilities a few weeks ago, however, when he suggested that Mr Obama has a, "deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture". He went on: "I'm not saying that he doesn't like white people. I'm saying that he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist."

It really says something when Becks behaviour - and the advertising world's reaction to it - becomes a story across the pond.

Spearheading the advertisers' boycott of his daily programme is an African-American online political group called Color of Change. Some 145,000 of its members signed a petition asking Beck's advertisers to stop supporting him and the response has been impressive.

On Monday alone, eight new top-brand companies said they were joining the already long roster of firms no longer willing to have their spots aired during Beck's show. They included Wal-Mart, the discount retailing chain, as well as two other big national retail giants, CVS and Best Buy.

"While advertising on Fox is part of our communication plan, we had not requested time on Glenn Beck's show specifically," a spokesman for the chemist CVS confirmed to the Huffington Post website. "We have instructed our advertising agency to inform Fox to ensure Glenn Beck's programme is not part of our advertising plan."

The article online also includes several YouTube clips of Beck at his insane best so that British readers can get a taste of just how barking mad he actually is.

I've commented several times on the differences between British Conservatives and American Republicans. There really is no correlation between the two. No Conservative could run on an anti-abortion, anti-gay platform arguing that creationism should be taught in our public schools. No Conservative could argue that torture is a good thing because "it works". Those are seriously nutty positions, and yet they represent the position of today's Republican party.

And stark as the difference is between the stances our politicians take; the difference is even more blatant when one looks at the behaviour of our political commentators. In Britain, the kind of crass, one sided, pro-conservative junk which Fox pedals would simply be laughed off the screen.

Which is why Beck is leading the Independent today. There is simply no British equivalent to this baboon. No British commentator would be allowed to go on-screen and lie quite as frequently as Beck does.

The Independent states:
Beck and some of his rivals, including Lou Dobbs on CNN, seem to be competing over whose insults about the President, liberals and Democrats are the most outrageous and rude.
I know that in the US Fox is allowed to portray itself as "fair and balanced" but the Independent recognise it as "feeding the political prejudices of its mostly conservative audience."

From across the pond, Beck and Fox appear to be perfect examples of American right wing excess. Going into territory that no British conservative would ever dare to go; not because they are frightened to go there, but rather because British conservatives still like to rely on facts, something which their American Republican counterparts seem to have long ago abandoned.

Click title for full article.

No comments: