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News Corp.'s Murdoch defends Fox News' Glenn Beck

May 4, 2010 |  3:23 pm

Advertisers may be backing away from Fox News personality Glenn Beck, but News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch is standing pat.

BECK Murdoch was asked on the company's third quarter analyst call about the departure of advertisers, many of whom have left the show in an organized protest that began last year when Beck said President Obama had a "deep-seated hatred of white people." One wanted to know how long Fox News would "subsidize" the show, which is "filled with house ads."

"It's not subsidizing the show at all," Murdoch fired back, adding that the theatrical Beck gives "a terrific kickoff" to the Fox News evening lineup.

For the month of April, Beck's 5 p.m. show averaged 2.1 million viewers, easily beating CNN and MSNBC and providing a strong lead-in to the rest of the network's early evening and prime-time lineup.

While the 2.1 million figure is impressive, it is down 30% from January when his program was averaging almost 3 million viewers. People close to Beck attributed the drop in part to the start of daylight saving time in March. However, his numbers have been in decline since before the days got longer.

Fox News itself continues to dominate its competitors and recently stretched its prime-time winning streak in viewers and key demographics to 100 months.

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

Photo: Glenn Beck. Credit: Richard Drew / Associated Press