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Fox News/GOP Civil War Redux: Glenn Beck Fires Back At Bill Kristol

Reported by Ellen - February 8, 2011 -

I previously posted about some strong criticism of Glenn Beck from two Fox News colleagues, Bill Kristol and Rich Lowry. Not surprisingly, Beck – who can dish it out but has an amazingly thin skin when he’s on the receiving end – went after Kristol with characteristic mocking viciousness. However, given a chance to go another round on Morning Joe, Kristol declined, saying he’d save it for “fair and balanced” Fox News. Interestingly, this all comes at a time when Joe Klein reports in Time that Republicans have approached Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes about Beck’s damage to their party.

On his radio show, Beck said this about Kristol’s blistering attack:

I’m going to have to dumb it down for Bill Kristol… I think all of the meat off of Barry Goldwater has been gone now since about the time that you showed up but you’ve done a great thing with his bones for a while… I don’t even know if you understand what conservatives are anymore, Billy….I think he’s still trying to get Bob Dole elected, I’m not really sure. …People like Bill Kristol, I don’t think they actually stand for anything any more. All they stand for is power. And they’ll do anything to keep their little fiefdom together and they’ll do anything they have to to keep the Republican power entrenched.”

Beck tried to walk it back a bit by saying,

“Bill, I don’t even know you, I just disagree with you. I’m sure you’re a delightful person and I do thank you for the time you have spent in Washington trying to keep conservative principles alive. But I think you’ve confused conservative principles, now, with conservative progressive principles. And, really, times have changed, Bill. Times have changed. It’s time to see the world as it really is."

Beck later apologized and then, moments afterward, attacked Kristol all over again.

“I apologize. I just, I get really testy and I shouldn’t and it’s a flaw of mine and I get really testy when I hear people who should get it come after me. It’s like really, have you done a minute of research, Bill? ‘Cause if you did… just watch the show, just watch the show in the next week.” (H/T Think Progress)

And because everything with Beck always seems to be about getting himself more attention, he pleaded, “Please, please tell your friends to watch and please work the program. Watch it and question with boldness everything I say. Verify it yourself. Become an expert on it… Watch tonight at 5 o’clock.”

Today, Kristol refused to take the bait and counter-attack Beck on Morning Joe, saying he was “not going to get into a debate with Glenn Beck here on MSNBC, I’ll debate him on Fox where we’re fair and balanced.”

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that Kristol and Lowry are going after Beck now but Joe Klein reported in Time on Saturday, that Kristol’s criticism of Beck

is not unimportant. Kristol lies very close to the throbbing heart of the Fox News sensibility. And I've heard, from more than a couple of conservative sources, that prominent Republicans have approached Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes about the potential embarrassment that the paranoid-messianic rodeo clown may bring upon their brand. The speculation is that Beck is on thin ice. His ratings are dropping, too--which, in the end, is a good part of what this is all about. But I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a mirror-Olbermann situation soon.

Me neither. We’ve been saying for a long time that Beck’s days at Fox News are numbered and should be. If he has a similar sense, it could help explain his extra-craziness of late.

If Klein is correct, it's worth noting that what Fox was unwilling to do for decency's sake, it may now be willing to do for the sake of the GOP.

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