It's not about whether "Beck" is a news program. It's not about whether Beck thinks the Democrats are out to destroy America. It's not about whether he also has issues with some Republicans as well.
It's about the viewership. If viewers are informed -- or maybe just entertained -- that's enough. Television is that kind of business democracy.
The real question is about marketing value. If Glenn Beck becomes the face of the channel -- perhaps usurping Bill O'Reilly, still the viewership leader -- then there may be business concerns to consider. For some people, a move to embrace Beck would put Fox News into a fringe area.
Fox News has already carved out a niche, and is looking to grow into new areas of general TV viewing like USA Network and TNT pull in. But it also doesn't want to lose any of its hard-earned viewer base.
There is opinion -- but there is also news coverage. According to theWashington Post, some Fox journalists believe Beck "uses distorted or inflammatory rhetoric that undermines their credibility." But this is only a problem if viewers think it's a problem.
Many news organizations look to get attention. Columnists, opinion-makers, are part of the formula -- but just a part. In the end, it's all about information and theater. Concerning Beck, the Post says "some staffers say they have watched [his] rehearsals." Rehearsals? As in Broadway? Yes, there's theater.
The good news: Those 200 advertisers -- the big TV marketers who supposedly won't buy the Beck show -- have no problem with other Fox News shows. Beck's show is only one show on a network that runs 24 hours a day.
But, I can assure you, there would be bigger issues if any of those big TV advertisers made similar moves against other prime-time Fox News shows. And, of course, it's double-trouble should viewers tire of Beck.
Right now, all this works perfectly. Beck keeps bringing viewers into the big tent, maintaining a high audience flow relative to other Fox News prime-time shows. Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor" still has the biggest ratings.
Beck as a face of the network? From a television business point of view, that would work just fine -- as long as everything else stays the same.