There was an entertaining moment during News Corp.'s shareholder meeting this morning when Rupert Murdoch was asked about Fox News president Roger Ailes' reported frustration with Glenn Beck's use of Fox News airwaves to promote his own brand and interests. Murdoch said to his interrogator: "I don't know whether you watch Fox News, but Mr. Beck is the least of our stars who take liberties in promoting their interests."
I see... Forget the concerned shareholder -- I don't know whether Rupert Murdoch watches Fox News. Only someone who has never sat down and viewed an entire episode of Glenn Beck could possibly think that Beck is the least egregiously self-promoting personality on Fox News.
Consider that in the past 20 months, Beck has used Fox News to:
- Launch and promote the 9-12 Project
- Relentlessly promote the 9-12 rally in 2009
- Advertise for his novel, The Overton Window
- Promote over and over and over his 8-28 rally in Washington, DC
- Encourage people to enroll in "Beck University"
- Promote a documentary about himself
- Encourage viewers to buy gold, in which Beck has substantial financial interests
Anyone who's watched Glenn Beck's Fox News program knows that it's essentially an hour-long infomercial for Glenn Beck (with the occasional anti-Semite thrown in there). Somehow, this seems to have eluded Rupert Murdoch. Perhaps he gets his news from CNN.
Transcript after the jump.
QUESTIONER: There's been reports today that Mr. Ailes is a bit concerned about Mr. Beck, um--
MURDOCH: Is what?
QUESTIONER: Mr. Ailes is a bit concerned about Glenn Beck and him promoting his personal interests too much on the show, damaging Fox News, been saying it's too partisan. This can play out in potential--
MURDOCH: I don't know whether you watch Fox News, but Mr. Beck is the least of our stars who take liberties in promoting their interests.
QUESTIONER: So you are 100 percent comfortable with everything Mr. Beck is doing on behalf of shareholders?
MURDOCH: I don't agree with everything that's said on Fox News because we have all opinions. Unlike other channels, we are completely fair and open. And we have Democrats being interviewed, Republicans. We have people come on and argue. We've all sides of everything, and I don't agree with everything that is said, naturally.