If the choice of media critic David Zurawik on Fox News' #MediaBuzz is any indication, I think we can safely conclude that Glenn Beck's apology for divisiveness did not signal a return to Fox News in the near future. Meanwhile, we can all enjoy Zurawik's lively smackdown of Beck and the Beck apologist who also appeared in the segment.
As you may recall, Beck got three lapdog segments on The Kelly File last week. In one of them, Beck said he regretted having been so divisive during his tenure on Fox. Later, I discovered Beck is in the midst of a marketing campaign to get his network on cable systems - and thus has quite a financial motive to dump the crazy, at least for now.
Sadly, Beck's financial motive did not come up during today's #MediaBuzz discussion. But it's hard to quibble when he and his employee, Amy Holmes, were so soundly trounced by The Baltimore Sun's Zurawik. For example, Zurawik said: "I don’t want him (Beck) back in a mainstream venue like Fox. I really don’t. Where he had a million eight people every night listening to his craziness. ...I follow his work and it's dangerous."
The fact that host - and long-time ally of Fox News chief Roger Ailes - let Zurawik speak so forcefully is a good sign for those of us who agree with him. On the other hand, maybe Kurtz was just making up for being an Ailes patsy for not covering, as he had promised, Gabriel Sherman's unauthorized and bestselling biography of Ailes.
I disagree with Zurawik on another count: Fox News is not now, and never has been, a mainstream news outlet. It is a partisan promotional vehicle, specifically intended to promote the hard right values of Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch. What made Beck’s situation with Fox News so interesting is that he went so far off the charts that even Fox News couldn’t stay with him. That’s a heck of an achievement – and the existence of this segment shows that neither Ailes nor Murdoch have forgotten or forgiven Beck by any means.
I’ll add that it’s rather depressing to see otherwise intelligent critics like Howard Kurtz doing programs on Fox News. Given that Kurtz knows what the operation is about, this will be an unfortunate way to end what had been a decent career in his work.