The New York Times Magazine, not content to wait until the weekend, posted its lengthy cover story on Glenn Beck today. The profile by Mark Leibovich opens with a sympathetic look at Beck's post-addict life, but later offers a few examples of his divisive and money-making ways, even revealing some internal friction between Beck and Fox News management.
An early paragraph states:
There is something feminine about Beck -- the soft features, the crying on the air, the reflexive vulnerability. It sets him apart from the standard, testosterone-addled rant artists of cable and talk radio. Women tune into Beck's radio show more heavily than they do to other conservative commentators, says Chris Balfe, the president and chief operating officer of Mercury, which employs more than 40 people. And Beck's television show is on at 5 p.m. Eastern, traditionally a slot with more women viewers. (On a typical day, Beck's show is recorded on more DVRs than any other cable-news program.) But Beck also appeals to a more traditionally female sensibility.
But later on, it points out Beck's hard-throwing ways:
Beck's statement that the president's legislative agenda is driven by Obama's desire for "reparations" and his "desire to settle old racial scores" is hardly a uniting message. While public figures tend to eventually learn (some the hard way) that Nazi, Hitler and Holocaust comparisons inevitably offend a lot of people, Beck seems not to care. In a forthcoming book about Beck, "Tears of a Clown," the Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank writes that in the first 14 months of Beck's Fox News show, Beck and his guests mentioned fascism 172 times, Nazis 134 times, Hitler 115 times, the Holocaust 58 times and Joseph Goebbels 8 times.
The story does note Beck's push for gold sales, but fails to mention the claims of improper practices by Goldline, one of his chief sponsors.
Near the end, however, the story points out that some Fox executives, including Roger Ailes, have not been happy with all of Beck's actions:
Ailes, who declined to comment for this article, has generally been supportive of Beck. But he has also been vocal around the network about how Beck does not fully appreciate the degree to which Fox News has made him the sensation he has become in recent months. In the days following Beck's Lincoln Memorial rally, which by Beck's estimate drew a half-million people, Ailes told associates that if Beck were still at Headline News, there would have been 30 people on the Mall. Fox News devoted less news coverage to the rally than CNN and MSNBC did, which Beck has pointed out himself on the air.
Off-the-record sniping shoots in both directions. You can view some of this as positioning for what could be a contentious contract negotiation. But the friction is evident in many areas. When I mentioned Beck's name to several Fox reporters, personalities and staff members, it reliably elicited either a sigh or an eye roll. Several Fox News journalists have complained that Beck's antics are embarrassing Fox, that his inflammatory rhetoric makes it difficult for the network to present itself as a legitimate news outlet.