UPDATED: Roger Ailes, what "unfortunate thing" did Beck apologize for?

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Just to add to Simon Maloy's point below about how Roger Ailes today claimed that Glenn Beck had "apologized" for the one "unfortunate" thing he'd said on Fox News over the last 13 months.

Of course, the most famously "unfortunate" thing Beck said last year was when he called the president of the United States (i.e. "this guy") a "racist" with a deep-seated hatred of white people. But Beck never apologized. Indeed, his stubborn refusal to apologize is why he's lost nearly 100 advertisers since his "racist" charge. But now Ailes seems to be spinning the facts to suggest Beck did apologize.

So here's my question: If Ailes is actually now conceding that Beck's "racist" attack was "unfortunate," then why didn't Ailes say so in real time when the shocking comment was made on Ailes' cable channel?

As I noted last September:

Despite media reports to the contrary, Fox News executives explicitly refused to distance themselves from Beck's claim that President Obama is a "racist," let alone reprimand the host for the shockingly hateful comments. Fox News' initial knee-jerk response of failing to question any of the gutter rhetoric Beck dishes out, and the cable news giant's decision to treat the transgression as a nonstory unworthy of a serious response, of course, is what led to the boycott drive.

The fact that nobody anywhere inside Fox News had enough sense to hold Beck accountable or to even suggest that calling the president of the United States (aka "this guy") a "racist" on national television was well outside the bounds of professional broadcasting -- the fact that Fox News could not even for a moment publicly contemplate that Beck had stepped over a glaringly obvious line of common decency -- is why those same executives have been forced to watch as an avalanche of A-list advertisers go public with their plans to make sure they are no longer associated with Beck.

Looking back, it's hard to imagine how executives at Fox News could have handled Beck's "racist" smear any worse. And it's hard to imagine how Fox News could have inadvertently cultivated the ground any better for a sweepingly successful advertising boycott than the cavalier way they dealt with Beck's presidential race-baiting.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.