Bob Beckel Rape Comment is Exactly Why Fox News Keeps Him Around

Fox News probably should have fired Bob Beckel, their token liberal, a long time ago. His gaffe reel gives even the saltiest of individuals a reason to squirm — so much so that Wednesday’s doozy doubting the existence of rape on campus may not rank in the top three. So why is he still on air?

During a Fox news roundtable on a Colorado bill that would allow women to carry concealed weapons on college campuses to prevent sexual assault, The Five co-host justified his disagreement with the measure by saying, “When was the last time you heard about a rape on campus?”


I mean, only every day.

The comments sent social media into a frenzy and conservative bloggers into action mode. In the hours that followed, conservative news outfits like The National Review, The Blaze, Hot Air, and Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy published blog after blog pointing out the folly of liberals, as they have made a habit of doing after Beckel’s frequent flubs.

From dropping the F-bomb on Hannity, to saying San Francisco nudists were “probably gang-banged” as children, to commenting that swimming made his “eyes blow up and it made me look Oriental,” Beckel is one of the least made-for-TV people currently on air — something conservative and liberal media organizations alike point out on a regular basis.

So why does Fox News keep the guy around?

They fired Dick Morris because his consistently incorrect and bizarre predictions about the 2012 election became too much to handle, and while Sarah Palin will tell you she was the one who chose not to renew her contract with Fox News, it came after months of the network winding back her on-air time and her public complaints that they were canceling her interviews.

Since Fox is obviously not opposed to firing people that make their network look bad, why is this guy an exception? Could it be because they want to keep him around to represent the idiocy they think makes up the liberal agenda?

They’ve been apologizing for his comments since he joined the station in 2000. It is telling that the station has spent valuable time apologizing for him over a period of almost 13 years rather than firing them and finding someone who wouldn’t require so much effort.

Beckel is one of the few Democrats on Fox News, and is definitely the most liberal. Others, like Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell (who regularly appear as “Democratic strategists”), busy themselves encouraging Obama not to run for reelection and calling other Democrats out for being too liberal.

Beckel, on the other hand, does none of those things. His sailor language and free-flying ignorance are all directed towards pushing classic Democratic agenda points and defending the left against Fox News’ complaints. So why not keep him around? It makes their job so much easier.

If Fox News really wanted a legitimate voice for the left on their programming, they’d look to people whose views both represent the Democratic Party at large and have a reasonable ability to speak intelligently. Unfortunately, they have neither. They would rather have a lopsided debate with a man who can’t even defend himself against the Tea Party without making their programming PG13.

Are well-spoken liberal commentators too hard to find? That is difficult to fathom, given that Fox News constantly complains about the overabundance of liberal media players who, I’ll add, could whip Beckel in an on-air debate any day. It’s more likely that they just don’t want that kind of commentator — it would defeat the whole purpose of their programming.

Beckel’s comments on Wednesday are just as abhorrent as all of his other gaffes and he is certainly to blame for them, but Fox News is just as responsible, as they have chosen to keep him around after years of warning. Now it’s time to start questioning their motives.  

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Jessica Huseman

Jessica wrote for Mic.com until Feb. 2014. Now she's an investigative reporter at The Teacher Project, writing articles on K12 education for Slate.com. Her work has appeared in ProPublica, The Atlantic, Slate, The Dallas Morning News and Chalkbeat and more. Find her contact info and her recent work at www.jessicalhuseman.com.

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