Glenn Beck, Media Matters, and Me


Joe Strupp at Media Matters interviewed me the other day for a story about Glenn Beck's departure from Fox. Here's the opening:

At some point I'm going to run out of Beck CDs to illustrate these posts.

Conservative writer Jennifer Rubin isn't sad that Glenn Beck's Fox show is ending.

Rubin, who writes The Washington Post's Right Turn column, told Media Matters in an email: "It is good news for the conservative movement, especially at a time when serious and innovative individuals like Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio are demonstrating leadership and far-sightedness while maintaining a tone of civility."

Other conservative and libertarian journalists contacted by Media Matters reacted similarly.

Jesse Walker, managing editor of Reason magazine, pointed to Beck's repeated falsehoods, as well as his loss of viewers and advertisers:

"Beck was always someone who went off the reservation and he got criticism from other conservatives … he got a lot of his facts wrong," Walker said. "Controversy is fine when you are bringing in a lot of viewers, but controversy is not fine when you are losing viewers and dropping advertisers."

I did say all those words, but those ellipses elide a lot. While I don't like the fact that Beck gets a lot of his facts wrong, I do like the fact that he goes off the reservation. The guy broke with the conservative mainstream in some of the right places: He's for legalizing pot, he doesn't feel threatened by gay marriage, and he has backed off a bit from Bush's hawkish foreign policy. As I told Strupp, I suspect that a lot of Beck's conservative critics are offended more by his heterodoxy than by his factual errors.

As for the final sentence, about stirring up controversy: That isn't my view of what is or isn't fine. It's my speculation about what Fox was thinking when it dropped the show.

You may judge for yourself how similar my views are to Rubin's.

Update: I'm pleased to see that Strupp has corrected the story.