by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University
I admit feeling a bit of glee upon hearing that Fox News is going to part ways with Glenn Beck. After watching his ratings decline, the network decided that it’s best that Beck take his chalk board elsewhere and find something new to do with his time. The departure is likely good for America, for Beck became one of the most divisive figures in the country.
What can’t be overlooked in Beck’s break from Fox is the fact that the decision was likely a financial one. Fox was losing millions when advertisers decided to boycott Beck’s show, largely because they didn’t want their products to be affiliated with a man with such extremist viewpoints. According to ColorofChange.org, Beck has lost 300 advertisers, primarily because of comments he has made about President Obama having a hatred of white people. Remarks like this one, along with other conspiracy theories Beck threw at the nation every afternoon, likely led to his demise.
I once watched Beck’s show with my head cocked to the side, wondering how a man with such ridiculous views could have such a loyal following. I thought, “Do tea partiers really believe the stuff this guy is saying?” While there are likely millions of Americans who are in lockstep with Beck on every issue, there are quite a few who chose not to continue to ride with Beck on the Ridicu-bus. For those on the right who at least try to engage in some degree of rational thinking, I applaud them for rejecting the antics of a man who is nothing more than a walking cartoon character.
Oddly enough, Glenn Beck’s boot off of Fox News does say something good about America. First, it says that via concerted efforts like those of Color of Change, the National Action Network and the Your Black World Coalition, we can counter the hatred being spewed by the Right Wing. It also says that there is some degree of decency among American corporate leaders who are choosing not to be affiliated with a man who is dead set on undermining both the presidency and our country. Finally, it says that there are some on the political right who want to pursue their ideas with courtesy and mutual respect, rather than the kind of vile, nasty attacks that we’ve seen being thrust upon our president. It is possible to critique President Obama’s performance without seeking to destroy America in the process. Glenn Beck’s poison is the kind of thing that ultimately tears down a nation.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.