Weeks of speculation regarding the future of controversial Fox News pundit Glenn Beck have come to a head after the network announced that his daily 5pm programme would be “transitioned off”.
A campaign in America pressuring advertisers to stop endorsing the show appears to have paid off. Beck, perceived as the Tea Party poster boy, has been criticised for his outlandish jingoism, as well as conspiracy theories regarding the likes of Barack Obama and George Soros.
In what is being interpreted as a “face-saving” statement, Fox said: “Glenn intends to transition off of his daily programme, the third highest rated in all of cable news, later this year.”
It quoted its chief executive Roger Ailes as saying: “Glenn Beck is a powerful communicator, a creative entrepreneur and a true success by anybody’s standards. I look forward to continuing to work with him.”
Beck’s record for courting controversy includes a description of Obama as “a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture… This guy is, I believe, a racist.”
He also held a two-day “investigation” into liberal activist George Soros, who grew up in wartime Hungary. That fact prompted Beck to say of Soros: “Here’s a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps.”
Beck’s audience has thinned from a peak of 2.9m at the start of 2010 to 1.9m, according to ratings. The exodus of advertisers includes Coca-Cola, American Express, AT&T and Nestlé.
In the statement, Beck said: “I truly believe that America owes a lot to Roger Ailes and Fox News.”