Sunday, February 6, 2011

Time To Play Glenn Beck Off?

I don’t think this from the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol is a random piece of conservative opinion:
But hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.

Bill Kristol is one of those intellectually dishonest neocons of whom I’ve said, repeatedly, that he’s been wrong about everything since forever. I happen to think if Bill Kristol had an original thought it would die of loneliness, by which I mean, he doesn’t come up with these ideas by himself. I think some serious seeds are being planted within the Republican Party to shove Beck out the door.

Why? Well, I have long suspected Glenn Beck would become a liability for conservatives, sooner rather than later. He was a very useful tool in rallying the partisan base for the midterms, but a presidential election requires an appeal to more mainstream voters. That requires a less divisive approach and in that regard, Beck is a liability.

Last week I saw this item about Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who has a 7% stake in NewsCorp. Al-Waleed bin Talal is the billionaire Saudi financier who is nephew to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. I guess he’s been able to overlook all of the Muslim-bashing Beck and other FOX News folks have been engaged in all these years. But now it appears he’s getting a little nervous about his investment. In the U.K. a Murdoch-owned British tabloid is embroiled in a major phone-hacking scandal which took down the Prime Minister’s director of communications and threatens a major deal to acquire BSkyB; Stateside, Beck’s increasingly unhinged rantings offend American rabbis and tarnish the NewsCorp brand:

Those familiar with bin Talal, who has given tens of millions of dollars to charities seeking to bridge gaps between western and Islamic communities, say he will have been dismayed by any whiff of controversy threatening his business interests.

"He is an incredibly intelligent man and deeply honourable; you can only speculate about what he must be thinking now," said an acquaintance.

Coming at a time when News Corp wants regulatory approval to take over British satellite broadcaster BSkyB, both the phone-hacking scandal and the row with the rabbis are damaging not only to the company's reputation but its bottom line.


Worryingly for Murdoch, who is used to his investors taking a back seat, the prince is a far from passive backer. As a sizable investor in bombed-out banking giant Citigroup, bin Talal has been vocal in calling for its management to improve the firm's fortunes, warning its chief executive last year that the "honeymoon was over".

I have to think that Beck is far too big a liability for both Republicans’ political aspirations and Murdoch’s business aspirations to hang around much longer. It will be interesting to see if I’m right.

I also find it curious that the U.S. media has done so little coverage of Rupert Murdoch’s UK woes, considering what a navel-gazing bunch our American media is. Anderson Cooper gets bonked on the head and it’s headline news from coast to coast. And you know darn well if MSNBC were in this kind of trouble, FOX would be all over it.

Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if Beck’s fortunes took a sudden turn south. And when that happens, I’m sure liberals will get the blame -- some cockamamie story will be concocted to allow conservatives to continue to demonize the left and keep the anger and rancor alive.

(h/t DougJ at Balloon Juice.)