Bob Beckel’s Back on the Tube

I decided a long time ago that I had no future on TV, and then I chose to live somewhere remote from the studios that could project my face-made-for-radio into startled living rooms everywhere. But if I were struggling for one of those rare perches on the Tube, I’d be infuriated by this news, as reported at the Daily Beast by Andrew Kirell:

Four months after being unceremoniously fired by Fox News during a rehab stint, liberal commentator Bob Beckel has signed on for a new job with CNN, the network has confirmed to The Daily Beast.

The long-time Democratic pollster who worked in the Jimmy Carter administration will now serve among CNN’s roster of in-house political commentators, appearing across the network’s programming to provide what can ultimately be called a “blue-collar liberal” perspective.

According to Kirell, Beckel, who has in the past admitted various substance abuse problems, got fired by Fox News in part because of an addiction to pain killers.

I don’t watch political TV much at all, and I mainly remember Beckel from encounters when I worked at the DLC as an avuncular guy who had been big in the 1984 Mondale campaign, and hadn’t much progressed in his thinking since then. Kirell suggests he was famous on Fox News for shouting obscenities. Last time I noticed him he was in hot water for referring to “Chinamen” the biggest threat to national security, which I supposed is what “blue-collar liberals” do.

In any event, it’s not clear why CNN cannot do without this dude, or why they cannot find another left-of-center gabber with fewer issues and a lower risk of freaking out on-camera. I don’t believe there’s a shortage of white men on TV at the moment, but even within that demographic, it’s not clear he’s the indispensable man.

Washington Monthly - Donate Today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.