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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 03:45 AM ET, 07/01/2011

Media Matters: Is Glenn Beck the next Alex Jones?

Watching, following, clipping, fact-checking, ridiculing, and blogging about Glenn Beck have been a wall-to-wall undertaking for Media Matters for America. Fitting, then, that the nonprofit watchdog of conservative media outlets threw a party this week to celebrate Beck’s departure from his suppertime show on Fox News Channel.

Now what? Beck’s profile will shrink as he moves to a pay-per-view platform at GBTV.com. Five bucks will get you a month of the channel’s offerings. Not everyone who skipped over the cable paywall will scale the pay-per-view barrier: Whereas Beck pulled in more than a million viewers per show in his waning days at Fox, reports put his GBTV subscribership at around 80,000.

Will Media Matters pull an Obama and draw down the Beck-monitoring foot soldiers?

“His influence will be less and we’ll gauge what we will be doing based on that,” says Ari Rabin-Havt, executive vice president of Media Matters for America. The monitoring, though, will proceed. Someone at the 90-strong organization will be watching and clipping Beck’s pronouncements, both on GBTV and on his radio show.

Yet Beck will no longer be Beck for Media Matters. “The truth is there are a million cranks on the Internet, and he probably will fall into a category like Alex Jones, who has an audience but no influence,”says Rabin-Havt.

Jones is a radio host and the force behind Infowars.com. Tagline: “BECAUSE THERE IS A WAR ON FOR YOUR MIND.” The site campaigns for the “truth” behind the Sept. 11 attacks and other causes.

One difference between Beck and Jones is petty cash. Media Matters has to pony up $60 per year to keep an eye on Beck. How does that feel? “We have a lot of these subscriptions that we’re not necessarily supportive of the people we buy subscriptions from,” says Rabin-Havt.

By  |  03:45 AM ET, 07/01/2011

 
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