Fox News Re-Hires Controversial Pundit Bob Beckel, Who Immediately Goes After Donald Trump

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Those who do not keep up with cable news programming may be unaware that the Fox News‘ 5 p.m. offering, The Five, is the second highest rated news program on all of cable news, behind only Bill O’Reilly’s The O’Reilly Factor. The Five is essentially a conservative version of The View: Five Fox News personalities sit around and talk about current stories, political issues, and pop culture.

Until 2015, Bob Beckel was a regular host of the show. However, he was abruptly fired by Fox News for “health and personal reasons” following surgery on his back. Fox News released a statement at the time stating that “we couldn’t hold The Five hostage to one man’s personal issues.” Those personal issues may have involved his history with drugs and alcohol. In late 2015, Beckel published a book, I Should Be Dead, detailing his life as a “raging drunk.”

“I should’ve been gone a long time ago,” he told CNN in 2015. “I’ve been shot, I’ve been stabbed, I’ve been in two car accidents where everybody else died except me.”

He also detailed in 2011 his life as an addict, saying that cocaine was his drug of choice, a fact his co-panelist often brought up jokingly on The Five.

After his termination, Fox News noted that he had entered a rehab facility to deal with a prescription painkiller addiction, and after June 2015, his name was never mentioned on the show again.

Now, as Rupert Murdoch continues to morph the network into Trump TV, Beckel returned to The Five last night, meaning that the one person of color on the show, former NPR reporter Juan Williams, will see a diminished role.

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“Bob was missed by many fans of The Five,” said executive chairman of 21st Century Fox and of Fox News Rupert Murdoch. “We’re happy to welcome him back to the show.

In his first show, Beckel, who provides the liberal perspective on the panel, complained about “how little [Donald] Trump knows about anything.” It’s clear that he will play the show’s Trump foe, as this statement on yesterday’s show revealed:

The one thing I want to say, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart. Donald Trump, congratulations because you, sir, are the gift that keeps on giving for me … I’m going to be here a lot. I’m going to be after you. You know that expression, you can run but you can’t hide. Good luck, Don. I would be happy to sing at your inaugural.

He has had a history of controversial remarks. He once dropped the F-bomb on Hannity and tried to pretend that he didn’t. On the show, he’s also referred to Chinese people as “Chinamen”; he’s suggested that that “son of a bitch” Julian Assange should be “illegally shot” for treason; he’s referred to Jewish Americans who supported Mitt Romney as “diamond merchants”; claimed that date rapes on college campuses don’t really happen; and suggested that interracial dating among young people is “scary.”

(Via TV Newser)