This portion of a profile of Glenn Beck written by Mark Leibovich in the New York Times Magazine is perhaps its most interesting part, because it provides a peak into how Conservative INC. manifests itself and potential conflicts it can cause:
BECK IS A STRENUOUS cross-promoter. He spoke constantly on the air about his Washington rally before and after the event. He invites viewers and listeners to visit his Web site and, better yet, the Glenn Beck Store (“Restoring Honor” photograph books can be pre-ordered for $35) and become an“insider extreme” member for premium video and audio links. He recently started a new Web site, the Blaze, which he also mentions on his television and radio shows.
The cross-promotion can be a sore spot at Fox News, particularly for its president, Roger Ailes, who has complained about Beck’s hawking his non-Fox ventures too much on his Fox show. Ailes has communicated this to Beck himself and through intermediaries. It goes to a larger tension between Fox News and Beck in what has been a mutually beneficial relationship. Ailes, a former Republican media guru, runs his top-rated cable-news network like a sharp-edged campaign, speaking with a single voice and — ideally — for the benefit solely of Fox News’s bottom line.
To some degree, all of Fox News’s top opinion personalities have side ventures — speeches, books, radio — that can invite static from the network. In April, for instance, Fox News bosses vetoed a planned appearance by Hannity at a fund-raiser for a Tea Party group in Cincinnati. But more than any other person at Fox News, Beck operates as a stand-alone entity. He is the only major personality at the network whose office is not at Fox News headquarters in the News Corp building (Mercury is a few blocks down Sixth Avenue). He employs his own publicist, Matthew Hiltzik, a communications consultant who is the son of Beck’s agent, George Hiltzik. Beck receives a $2.5 million salary from Fox News, which bumps to $2.7 million next year, the last of the contract. It is a small fraction of Beck’s revenues, the bulk of which he brings in from his radio and print deals.
Indeed, Beck generates his own cash and has his own media company, meaning Fox can’t control him. One fears what one cannot control.
So if Ailes is the supposed “tough guy” that he wants his reputation to be, will he be “tough” enough to show Beck who’s boss? Will he have the balls or the guts or the spine to kick Beck’s show off Fox if he gets out of line? No doubt Ailes is correct when he says if it wasn’t for Fox, Beck wouldn’t have had 30 people, much less than 300,000 for his little Lincoln Memorial worship ceremony.
Then again Dr. Frankenstein probably felt the same way about his creation as well.
You should take a look at NYT Magazine piece on Beck. If you want to see what a “conservative” Oprah Winfrey is like, well here you go. Here’s another good line which is vivid display of the cash machine that is Conservative INC.
BECK PERFORMS MORE than 20 live stage shows a year as part of what has become a growing multimedia and merchandising empire that, according to Forbes, earned $35 million between June 2009 and June 2010. At the end of July, I paid $147 for a ticket to see him and Bill O’Reilly perform together at a theater in the round in Westbury, N.Y., on Long Island — part of Beck and O’Reilly’s “Bold and Fresh” tour. The theater drew an orderly suburban procession of khaki-wearing, Camry-driving Caucasians who say they want their country back. The woman next to me complained that her large oil can of Heineken and a pretzel cost $16.
Gee, I can watch Beck and O’Reilly on TV for less than that or see clips of their shows on You Tube at work for nothing. Why would I pay $147 a ticket to see the same act in a theater? Oh well, I guess some people just can’t get enough of it, which is what Conservative INC. is counting on.