He will probably not find the comparison flattering, but I think axed television presenter John Campbell has more than a bit of Glenn Beck about him.
For those who can’t quite place the name, Beck once hosted an eponymous current affairs program on Fox News (having migrated there from CNN). An avowed conservative, he often focused on perceived corruption and extremism within the Obama administration.
The style of Glenn Beck could be characterised as emotional, populist, sensationalist, earnest and, sometimes, paranoid – all adjectives which could also be quite fairly applied to Campbell Live’s programming.
There will be plenty of commentators who would contest this association on the grounds that Beck is Rightwing, and therefore evil and stupid, whereas Campbell is Leftwing, and therefore virtuous and enlightened. However, that would be a distinction based on distaste for an opposing ideology, rather than on any fundamental dissimilarity between the crusading style and partisan programming on each show.
Hehir says the future is rosy for Campbell:
Hopefully, Campbell will find something professionally fulfilling to do before too long. With his profile and experience he won’t be short of options. You could easily see him slotting into some comfortable role in a centre-Left environment like Radio New Zealand.
But if he’s feeling a little entrepreneurial, maybe he could take some inspiration from his mirror universe counterpart.
On his sacking from Fox, Glenn Beck launched his own subscription news service called GBTV (now called TheBlaze). Freed from the constraints of mainstream television and the advertising revenue model, Beck’s enterprise has gone from strength to strength. Initially an Internet and radio only service, it was back on television as its own satellite channel within a year.
Oh, and he’s pulled in millions and millions of dollars as a result.
Last year, he met with Google chairman Eric Schmidt who went as far as to say that “people are going to be studying what Glenn did for years, and trying to replicate it. To have a model where you have Internet and cable companies working together – it’s extraordinary.”
The John Campbell You Tube channel – it could be a real hit!
If just 50,000 of those who signed the various “Save Campbell Live” petitions agreed to pay a small monthly subscription then you would expect Campbell’s team would have enough to get a show going. And without network interference, they would be free to make exactly the kind of show they wanted.
Worth a go.