Media on Edge
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|Martin Barillas||January 31st 2016|
The Daily Beast reports that another change in Glenn Beck’s top staff came as Kraig Kitchin has resigned as CEO of The Blaze. While Kitchin will remain in another position in Beck’s empire, it is Stewart Padveen who will take over as the fourth CEO of The Blaze since the latter part of 2014.
Kitchin had taken charge of The Blaze – Beck’s subscription digital and cable television enterprise in June 2015 after two previous CEOs departed within six months. According to The Daily Beast, senior executives Jeremy Price and Liz Julis also resigned. Several other senior employees are also departing, according to the report, including two producers from Beck’s New York operations. Corporate headquarters are in Texas.
The Daily Beast quoted an un-named source predicting a “mass exodus” of Beck’s staff from the New York studios. The site claims that the 35,000 rented by the Beck organization is setting him back $2 million each year in rent. It was reported that Beck has called on employees to cut costs because of debt. Estimates of the debt ranged from $3 million to $5 million.
The website also claims that multiple sources say that Kitchin was frustrated with friction he had with Jonathan Schreiber, who was named president of Beck’s company Mercury Radio Arts in April 2015. Sources to the Daily Beast said that Kitchin had taken the job with the understanding that Schreiber would not interfere with The Blaze. People familiar with the troubled relationship between Kitchin and Schreiber said that the latter’s meddling became intolerable.
Schreiber’s alleged intrusions, according to The Daily Beast, were part of the reason for the June 2015 resignation by Betsy Morgan, who was chief executive of The Blaze at the time. An experienced digital media executive, Morgan once ran the digital operations for CBS News and she built TheBlaze.com into a news site that by November 2014 was attracting 29 million unique visitors per month.
By November of 2015, that figure dropped to 16.4 million unique visitors per month, according to the Quantcast Web traffic measuring service, while traffic for GlennBeck.com plummeted from 4.4 million to 1.4 million unique visitors.
In an email to company personnel, newly minted CEO Stewart Padveen (who Schreiber describes as a mentor) wrote:
“We all owe a debt of gratitude to Kraig for guiding us through some rough times. We still have some history to redress, but if we continue down the path of making solid business decisions, we can get past the past and into the future.”
Writers at The Daily Beast opined that the staff layoffs and turnover, coupled with a “history” that “apparently includes taking on more debt than Beck wants, flies in the face of claims of company profitability.”
Beck considers moving to Israel in anticipation of 'end times'
On the evening of January 28, when presidential candidate Donald Trump was holding his event to raise funds for veterans’ charities and fellow GOP candidates were debating in Des Moines, Beck was telling a studio audience that he has asked his staff to find a place outside of the United States where he can continue broadcasting should American society collapse and the government shuts down his operations. A woman in the studio audience said that she had relocated her family from California to Texas because of Beck’s warnings of social collapse. She asked for his advice about preparing for the future.
Beck responded that he and his wife are going to start reading the "Left Behind" series of novels to their children to prepare for the Apocalypse and the end of time. Reading the novels, which depict turmoil, war and tribulation consonant with the Book of Revelation, Beck said, will enable his children to “to know that this might be the time ... You have an army on earth now that says they are the army of the Antichrist, they are the army of Armageddon.”
Moreover, in the broadcast, Beck said that he has been warned by two different people that both the economy and society of the United States will soon collapse, thus encouraging him to get his staff busy finding a place to broadcast from Israel. "We have to pick up our pace on finding another place to broadcast," Beck told his staff. "I need to know if I can get to Jerusalem, where they won't shut this down and we can be able to broadcast into the United States. This could end quickly."
He added, "This is why I'm endorsing Ted Cruz and I'm going out this weekend" to Iowa. Beck said, "If I could change one mind, I am not going to sit at home because I know what the consequences are."
Beck has been outspoken in his criticisms of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and recently signed on as one of about two dozen conservatives that came out against the New Yorker in a special edition of The National Review – the grand old man of conservative journalism. In December, he said that a Trump nomination would mean the end of the Republican Party. He has also called out Trump for what he describes as liberal positions on issues including abortion. Beck has endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz.