Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Foxico-Beck split

The New York Times leads Monday with something that followers of this blog have long expected: the coming enaction of the Sino-Soviet split on the level of Fox News and Glenn Beck. The Times characteristically gets the question reversed. They miss the hidden reverse. They do not understand Beck's physics. At the time of the so-called Sino-Soviet split there were those -- Beck's forebears in the John Birch Society -- who alleged that the split was a mirage, an illusion, an act. The Chinese and the Soviets divorced ironically. To speak of a Foxico-Beck split presumes that there was a genuine union. Instead Fox and Beck ironize the irony of the Sino-Soviet split. The Chinese and the Soviets divorced ironically because they were united underneath. Fox and Beck have never been united. The Chinese and the Soviets were a conjunctive two; Fox and Beck are a disjunctive two. The Chinese and the Soviets were both many (their respective peoples) under the rubric of one ("China," the "U.S.S.R."). Fox is one but does not contain "foxes"; rather, employees and viewers. Beck is one but projects a manifold appearance, in the form of chalk boards. There could thus never be a split of Fox and Beck to parallel the split of China and the U.S.S.R. To unite Fox and Beck would suppose the simple unicity of Beck. Diagrammaticity makes impossible the union of Beck with any organization (thus the irony of the 9-12 Project, and so forth). Beck achieves union with his viewers only when they wake from their slumber of being-there. The split only confirms what we already knew. Fox was always already only being there.

Here follows the Times's account:

He still has numbers that just about any cable news host would envy and, with about two million viewers a night, outdraws all his competition combined. But the erosion is significant enough that Fox News officials are willing to say — anonymously, of course; they don’t want to be identified as criticizing the talent — that they are looking at the end of his contract in December and contemplating life without Mr. Beck.

On the other side, people who work for Mr. Beck point out that he could live without Fox News. Unlike some other cable hosts, Mr. Beck has a huge multiplatform presence: he has sold around four million books, is near the top of talk-radio ratings, has a growing Web site called The Blaze, along with a stage performance that still packs houses. Forbes estimated that his company, Mercury Radio Arts, had more than $30 million in revenue.

How could a breakup between Mr. Beck and Fox News — a bond that seemed made in pre-Apocalyptic heaven — come to pass? They were never great friends to start with: Mr. Beck came to Fox with a huge radio show and had been on CNN Headline News, so he did not owe his entire career to Fox and frequently went off-message. The sniping between Fox News executives and Mr. Beck’s team began soon after he went on the air in 2009.

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