How Glenn Beck could have kept his Fox News show

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Glenn Beck announced yesterday that he was going to stop his daily Fox News show as of the end of the year. He'll still be doing the occasional special for them, and he promises that he'll have surprises in store and that the best is yet to come.

Some notes:

1. The reason why he quit or was fired isn't known, but the most likely explanation is that Fox asked him to leave because he wasn't bringing in the money. Eric Boehlert of Media Matters for America crows about that here: mediamatters.org/blog/201104070011
As Boehlert points out, only a small set of low-level companies were willing to advertise on his show, due no doubt in large part to boycotts against those advertisers and the far-left's attacks on Beck. Absent those attacks and boycotts it's difficult to imagine why large corporations wouldn't rush to advertise on his show. One other possibility is that Beck crossed a Rupert Murdoch line and advocated positions that were personally distressing for the boss.

2. This is a major victory for the anti-speech far-left: MMFA, Boehlert, Van Jones of Color of Change (which led one of the boycotts), and so on. While MMFA has shown or tried to show how Beck got things wrong, that's not enough for today's "liberals": they have little or no appreciation for open debate and matching speech they don't like with more speech. And, the Beck case will embolden them to go after others who say things they don't like. Beck isn't good enough to get all his facts straight, so it wouldn't be difficult for competent people to reduce his credibility with his followers. All MMFA could do is reduce his credibility with people who weren't predisposed to believe him in the first place, thus the attempts to silence him.

3. All of this could have been prevented if Beck had different viewers. Because of his ideology, Beck attracted viewers that not only have a specific ideological bent, but other negative attributes as well. In brief, his viewers were the tea parties types.

While he could get hundreds of thousands of them to come to Washington DC and virtually wave loopy signs, very few of them are capable of, interested in, or see any value in opposing those who oppose Beck in effective ways. They can wave loopy signs and play dress-up games like little kids, but anything intellectual is beyond them.

For instance, Boehlert and MMFA are sitting ducks for good counter-arguments: I've left dozens of comments at MMFA over the years pointing out how they got things wrong and only very rarely do I get any sort of backup. I'll leave a comment and then others will leave replies that contain lies or smears. Backup in this case would consist of others coming along and refuting those lies. Backup would also consist of others initiating attempts to discredit MMFA posts. If enough people did that often enough, it would tend to reduce MMFA's credibility among their audience and thus reduce their ability to get those like Beck off the air.

Yet, that's beyond the abilities and interests of Beck's audience. They think that because they dismiss MMFA that automatically means that MMFA has no effect on them. Or, there's a game on the TV. Or, a thousand other excuses. And, even if they could motivate themselves to do something, it would consist of content-free smears and lies to match those in the MMFA post.