CBS Slammed Charlie Sheen's Anti-Semitism, Why Won't Fox Censure Glenn Beck's?

It was one thing when Charlie Sheen assaulted his wife and then engaged in other violent behavior, despite having two young children. CBS danced around the endless scandals, since Sheen met his professional obligations on the hit show "Two and a Half Men."

But on Thursday, the network and producer Warner Bros. finally put principle before profit. Filming on the show was stopped -- for now. Sheen has been giving a series of bizarre interviews. Comments that CBS and the studio considered anti-Semitic led to a breaking point, according to The New York Times. It is now trite to ask where that boundary is at Premiere Radio Networks and Fox News regarding Glenn Beck. The talk-show host continues to make comments that are anti-Semitic -- and yet there is no public action.

Beck has said Jewish financier George Soros has "disturbing hair in his nose," while saying the Holocaust survivor helped Nazis. This week, Beck compared Reform rabbis' political activity to "radicalized Islam." He has apologized, saying it was "a horrible analogy." The head of the Jewish group the Anti-Defamation League, has accepted his contrition. Beck has maintained he harbors no anti-Semitism, citing, in part, a recent documentary he produced detailing Iranian risk to Israel.

For years, Beck has engaged in what Washington Post columnist and author Dana Milbank has called "a Nazi fetish." Milbank published a 2010 book that is an anti-Beck polemic. Statements are statements. Milbank details multiple comparisons Beck has made between the actions of American politicians, including President Obama, to Hitler's reign. Such verbal assaults demean the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust.

If the Obama administration's bailing out of GM and Chrysler sets a troubling precedent -- a view which holds some credence -- by all means attack it. Urge people to take a stand. But not because it could be a step toward genocide.

Nonetheless, both Premiere Radio and Fox News continue to back Beck and his platforms. He is a money-maker. In the Fox News case, however, it may be more about avoiding a negative snowball effect at the network. Beck is a paragon to many passionate Fox viewers, who have felt under-appreciated and ignored by Washington. Abandoning Beck might bring a revolt and network-wide boycott.

If the powers that rule Fox News won't even censure Beck for anti-Semitic discourse, why won't his audience take action? Why don't they stand on principle and push back? Why don't they say enough is enough? Beck is hurting their cause. With incendiary comments, he is taking attention away from the fight against tax increases, the opposition to a ballooning bureaucracy, the need for a more aggressive battle against terrorism, etc.

If his listeners consider themselves part of a movement, they may be allowing Beck to go down a path that could backfire. His show has brought a focus to their positions. The White House may not be heeding his calls, but it is aware of them.

But like many media commentators, if he unduly makes himself the center of attention and not the issues at hand, is there still a movement -- or just a platform for his ego?

A bigger concern: where is the specific outrage? Why are conservatives and members of the Tea Party seeking to promote American values and the Constitution overlooking anti-Semitism? Isn't freedom of religion a hallmark of American society? Recently, Beck has been causing controversy with his take on the revolution in Egypt, suggesting it may lead to an Islamic government dangerous to the U.S. Certainly a credible point. Shouldn't he advocate for a unified America, one that will stand together to ward it off? Before the election in Egypt, shouldn't the U.S. try to demonstrate the possibilities of a government accepting of all religions? How can Beck lobby for that when his comments seed religious division at home?

Beck's ratings on Fox are down, so maybe there is some frustration. But his audience should demand Beck focus on their fight, not distract from it.

Tags: television, tv
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9 comments about "CBS Slammed Charlie Sheen's Anti-Semitism, Why Won't Fox Censure Glenn Beck's?".
  1. Michael Kaplan from Blue Sky Creative , February 25, 2011 at 4:14 p.m.

    Do you really need an answer to your headline?

    Fox News is willing to tolerate a lot of controversy (and even a bit of hate speech) to make their money. CBS has, finally, drawn a line in the sand.

    Kudos to CBS. Charlie Sheen needs help, and the network and studio put their own financial gain on hold to show their star some tough love.

    To be fair, if Glenn Beck were seriously spinning out of control (like Howard Beale's character in Network), I don't doubt for a minute that FOX would intervene. But Beck's not a crazy man, not really. He just plays one on TV.

  2. Paul Jacobs from Jacobs Media/jacAPPS , February 25, 2011 at 4:14 p.m.

    What about the advertisers? How can they continue to support this program and what it stands for?

  3. Don Mitchell from Freelance Media Professional , February 25, 2011 at 4:46 p.m.

    While I do not watch Mr. Beck or listen to his radio program, I do believe in free market media. If someone disagrees, there are 200+ other channels.

    It has always been my belief that low ratings will get you cancelled before the mindless drivel you spew will ever raise an eyebrow.

    Recall that the fictional Mr. Beale, was not killed for his content, he was killed for his rates, or more accurately, lack of same.

  4. Mark Hornung from Bernard Hodes Group , February 25, 2011 at 6:34 p.m.

    Excellent column and points well made. Unfortunately, there's a weird twist, kind of a mobius strip effect, that explains the different reactions of the two networks. CBS is rightly concerned about the negative reaction decent people have to anti-Semitism, so they censure the anti-Semite. Faux News, on the other hand, has never demonstrated such sensitivity. One could argue, in fact, that the opposite is true: by catering to a right-wing audience that likes to proclaim America as a "Christian" nation, anti-Semitism plays very well. Along with disparaging every other religion or belief that does not meet neo-con orthodoxy. They are hate mongers, pure and simple.

  5. Kevin Horne from Lairig Marketing , February 26, 2011 at 3:59 p.m.

    With all due repect to the theme of this article...

    The math here is pretty simple: CBS has 15 million viewers of TAAHM it wants to protect, Beck has just 2 million viewers that Fox wants (needs) to promote/grow...

  6. Dave O'Mara from Logan Marketing Communications , February 28, 2011 at 8:58 a.m.

    Let me make sure I understand a few things:

    1. Comparing a left wing Democrat to Hitler (no matter how remarkable the similarities) demeans the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust.

    2. Calling a former Nazi sympathizer a Nazi sympathizer is anti-Semitic because the Nazi sympathizer is a Jew.

    3. Exposing the former Nazi sympathizer as a Nazi sympathizer makes you a "despicable coward."

    4. David Goetzl is "moderate, reasonable, measured" -- he just happens to write idiotic nonsense.

    This nation endures enough character assassinations of decent media personalities (or anonymous commenters) by the Left without having to read them in industry blogs. If Mister Goetzl and his empty suit former associates want to spew their venomous demands that someone they disagree with be silenced, let them do so to a more suspecting audience, like the morons at moveon.org.

    Personally, my patience is wearing thin with the number of far left screeds on this board thinly veiled as "professional news." The fact that our industry is largely a liberal echo chamber is no excuse. If Mediapost can't stick to reporting that affects my bottom line, it can notify its advertising clients that it has one less subscriber.

  7. Thomas Siebert from WOLFGANG SOLO: Strategic Communications & Benevolent Propaganda , February 28, 2011 at 7:20 p.m.

    Dave O'Mara has written, on the record, that "There's nothing outrageous about Glenn Beck's commentary."

    http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=125249

    Consider it reported. You can decide if he's a viable voice on this issue.

    tws

  8. Todd Brewster from Media Buying Decisions , March 7, 2011 at 11:39 p.m.

    David Goetzl, I am a mathematician who took several logic courses in College and if I used the logic you used on Glen Beck, I could prove Moses was anti-Semitic. I do agree that Charlie Sheen needs help and kudos to CBS for doing the right thing.

  9. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , March 29, 2011 at 10:01 a.m.

    Cool AId has been around since the days beginning in Christianity. Power, control, greed supported by fear. Faux News and followers.