May 25, 2018
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Names in the news, July 4, 2011

Goodbye to the big blackboard. Goodbye to the turn-it-on tears. Goodbye, too, to the suppertime serving of anger, conspiracy and the coming apocalypse. Glenn Beck — populist ranter, Barack Obama scourge, self-described “rodeo clown” — stepped away from his biggest stage last week. After a volcanic rise and a muddled denouement lasting 30 tumultuous months, the host ended his run on the Fox News Channel on Thursday, going out with what sounded almost like a threat: “For those members of media who are celebrating [his departure] … you will pray for the time I was only on the air for one hour a day.” Beck’s Fox finale was a vintage visit to what he once referred to as the “doom room.” Like a teacher reviewing his lessons before the final, he offered viewers a last look at “Things We’ve Learned” — a synopsis of fear — on his ever-present blackboard. On the lengthy list: “The Fed,” “Woodrow Wilson,” “ACORN,” “The caliphate.” “We have taught things and learned things together that we never knew,” he said. “We’ve learned a lot together. … We’ve done amazing things together.” Beck thanked his production crew and his viewers, as well as Fox News chief Roger Ailes and Ailes’s boss, News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch. Beck suggested that his departure was his own call, planned many months ago, but even Ailes has muddied those waters. Given Beck’s declining ratings and growing radioactivity among advertisers, the network has left it unclear whether Beck jumped or was pushed. “Half of the headlines say he’s been canceled,” Ailes told the Associated Press in April. “The other half say he quit. We’re pretty happy with both of them.” Beck’s next project is a subscription-based daily webcast, (slogan: “The truth lives here”), which Beck began moments after his TV sign-off.

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