Conservative radio and television personality Glenn Beck will guest-host CNN’s Larry King Live tonight. His appearance on Larry King at 9 PM will air at the same time as the replay of his regular 7 PM program on CNN’s HeadlineNews. In inviting Beck to host Larry King, CNN is granting Beck a monopoly over its programming for a full prime-time hour. Counting scheduled replays of both programs, Beck will be on air for a total of eight hours between 7 PM tonight and 7 AM tomorrow morning — a full third of the two networks combined airtime.
It isn’t clear exactly why CNN would want or allow Beck — in his own words — “to fill in for a living legend like Larry King.” Indeed, Beck’s long history of making racist, ignorant, and completely false statements would seemingly disqualify him. Here are a few offensive examples:
On Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY): “She is like the stereotypical — excuse the expression, but this is the way to — she’s the stereotypical bitch, you know what I mean?”
On African-Americans: “I don’t have a lot of African-American friends, and I think part of it is because I’m afraid that I would be in an open conversation, and I would say something that somebody would take wrong, and then it would be a nightmare.”
On the poor: “Poor people are, in fact, lazy.”
On 9/11 victims’ families: “I wonder if I’m alone in this — you know it took me about a year to start hating the 9–11 victims’ families? Took me about a year.”
On detainees: “If I were President…our policy is…we’re going to shoot them all in the head. If we think that they are against us, we’re going to shoot them and kill them, period.”
On Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim to serve in the House of Representatives: “What I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.’”
Despite his bigoted views, the national media seems intent on rewarding Beck. Last winter, ABC News hired Beck to provide “regular commentary.” Last summer, the Washington Post considered hiring him to rejuvenate their lagging radio station. CNN itself has asked Beck to guest-host other primetime shows in the past.
Perhaps the media — and the self-appointed “most trusted name in news,” in particular — just have a different impression of what a “a leading cultural commentator” sounds like.