Comparing himself to Paul Revere, Glenn Beck used the last few minutes of his Fox News Channel show on Wednesday to talk about why he will be giving up his TV show later this year.
“When I took this job I didn’t take it because it was going to be a career for me,” Beck explained to his audience. “Paul Revere did not get up on the horse and say, ‘I’m going to do this for the rest of my life.’ He didn’t do it. He got off his horse at some point and fought in the revolution, and then he went back to silver-smithing.”
Beck said the truth was he never really wanted to do the Fox show. He said he turned it down when first offered because he “hated doing it at the other place,” a reference to his earlier TV show on Turner Broadcasting’s HLN network.
He said FNC, by comparison, is “sweeeeeet!”
Beck said he ultimately took on the daily Fox TV show because “I thought I had something important to share. I really thought if I could prove my case that something wicked this way was coming, something in America was wrong, America would listen. And they have. I’m surprised both the number that have, and haven’t, even withal the facts.”
Beck was referring to his rapid rise in the ratings, which peaked last year when he attracted over 2.5 million viewers some nights, especially during the debate over health care and when he became involved with a handful of other high profile stories.
Beck’s ratings have dropped since then to a bit over two million viewers a night, which still makes him one of the top three on cable news; but as the media have frequently pointed out in recent weeks, represents a decline in his audience of almost a third.
At the opening of his Wednesday show Beck noted the announcement and promised to make clear at the end of his show what “the big fat chunky guy on TV (is) going to do in his future”
At the end of his show, in his explanation, Beck made clear to his loyal viewership that while he is not going to be on at 5 pm est every day any longer, he is not going away. He will be doing some special for FNC and he alluded to his many other activities, although he pointedly did not mention that he will continue to do his daily radio show, his web sites, publish books and go on live tours.
“I will continue to tell the story,” Beck said, “and I’m going to be showing you other ways for us to connect, But I have other things to do.”
Beck, who Forbes estimated made over $32 million last year (only $2 million of which was for the FNC show), insisted he was not making this change because he can make more money elsewhere. It is not, said Beck, “because it’s good or bad for business but II think you, of all people, will truly get this, our only business is the business of freedom and our country at this time.”
Beck concluded by calling on his viewers to become leaders who spread his message. “Be the mouthpiece,” said Beck. “Never rely on anyone else to spoon feed you. Now today you have to carry more weight. You must know what you believe, must be prepared to be the person hat explains hat to others.”
Although it is not clear – and he did not attempt to explain – if he is choosing to leave FNC or is being pushed, he had only kind words for the controversial channel, as he had in a press release issued early Wednesday with the announcement of his departure.
“Fox is one of the only places you will find truth,” said Beck. “Spread the word. Stick together and together we will do the right thing for our country and for our world.”
Beck did not say when he would end his show, but he had made it clear he wasn’t going away, and those who discovered him on Fox would soon learn where to follow him next.