Does Glenn Beck really have blood on his hands?

Here’s a question for you: In continuing to employ Glenn Beck, does Fox News really have blood on its hands?

Beck peppers his ‘libertarian’ populist screeds with conspiracy theories, and in one recent case, a nutcase – claiming to be inspired by him – is targeting liberals for assassination. Many of his followers are plainly deluded, and he doesn’t seem to apply any standard of evidence gathering to his journalism. Depressingly, it appears that followers of pundits such as Beck tend to become more confirmed in their views the more the evidence stacks up against them.

His political appeal appears to be based upon the spreading of stories that his employers must know to be untrue. Is Beck shouting fire in a crowded theatre? Should the media companies that promote this kind of journalism be held accountable in any way? And should the European* standards of TV regulations that safeguard us from media owners with an explicit political agenda be watered down in any way?

(*Not including Italy, obviously).

Living in London but working all over Britain and Ireland. A left-leaning Labour Party member and blogger. I’m on twitter as @paul0evans1 and I blog mainly at the Local Democracy blog though I’m in lots of other places as well. I’m a massive fan of Google Reader – please follow me and share the better posts from your feed?