You are hereThe Atlantic Wire: Has Glenn Beck Reached Peak Tinfoil?

The Atlantic Wire: Has Glenn Beck Reached Peak Tinfoil?

March 7, 2011- Seven months ago, Fox News commentator Glenn Beck was hosting rallies for fed up conservatives on the National Mall and contributing alternate histories of the Gore administration to New York magazine. For better or worse, he and that chalkboard seemed like permanent fixtures on the cable news landscape. Writing in The New York Times today columnist David Carr calls Beck "a deeply angry guy on a running tirade about the conspiracies afoot," and asks whether his impassioned appeal to the tinfoil hat brigade will cost him his job. With Beck's ratings slipping--although still quite high for cable news--Carr reports Fox executives are "looking at the end of his contract in December and contemplating life without Mr. Beck." A roundup of opinions of what went wrong for Beck, and just how bad things really are:

About Those Ratings
TV Newser's Chris Ariens takes a closer look at Beck's 2011 numbers and sees a program hemorrhaghing viewers in key demographics.

Since the beginning of the year, Beck has been down the most of any FNC show. In February, he dropped -26% in total viewers (2.084M v. 2.833M) and -32% in the A254-54 demo (513K v. 753K). In January the drop was more striking: down -40% in total viewers (1.786M v. 2.955M) and down -50% in younger viewers (406K v. 806K). The show is now on par with with its numbers at launch. In Feb. 2009, his first full month on the air, Beck drew 2.173M total viewers and 512K A25-54 viewers.

The New Republic's James Downie notes that the show "has lost more than one million viewers over the course of the past year, falling from an average of 2.9 million in January 2010 to 1.8 million in January 2011" and Beck currently "ranks fifth among Fox’s six weekday talk hosts, trailing lesser-known personalities like Shepard Smith and Bret Baier." Then there's his three-hour radio show, which has been "dropped in several major cities, including New York and Philadelphia, and has seen a ratings decline in most other markets."

Mother Jones' Kevin Drum isn't a part of Beck's target audience, but he was surprised to hear Beck invoke the name of Van Jones, the White House environmental adviser who resigned in September 2009, during a segment last week. Doesn't he have any fresh sources of outrage? Beck "replays his greatest hits over and over, which starts to get preposterous even for his biggest fans, who must have an increasingly hard time believing that Van Jones is literally at the center of all that's wrong with the world." When he's not trotting out old favorites, Beck "creates ever more convoluted alternate universes that are not just harder to follow, but are also increasingly hard to believe for an audience that basically just wants to hear that Barack Obama is Satan."



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