Bob Beckel, the former Fox News Channel host and longtime political operative who ran Democrat Walter Mondale’s unsuccessful 1984 presidential campaign, died Monday. He was 73. A cause of death was not specified.
His death was revealed by old friend Cal Thomas on social media. FNC’s Sean Hannity also announced “dear friend” Beckel’s death on his primetime show Monday.
After former Veep Mondale was beaten by Ronald Reagan in a landslide, Democratic apparatchik Beckel put up his own lobbyist and consulting shingle. As well as becoming a constant on-air pundit in subsequent years, Beckel was the co-host of CNN’s Crossfire for three years during Bill Clinton’s Presidency. Beckel would fully jump back on the campaign trail in 2002 working for the Democrats’ Idaho nominee for U.S. Senate, Alan Blinken. It did not end well, with Beckel resigning after getting wrapped up in an extortion plot involving a sex worker.
In 2000, Beckel joined Fox News as a political analyst and one of the few self-described liberals featured on the conservative outlet. Almost a decade later, Beckel became one of the original co-hosts of FNC’s The Five in 2011.
In June 2015, Beckel, recovering from back surgery, was pink slipped by FNC.
“We tried to work with Bob for months, but we couldn’t hold The Five hostage to one man’s personal issues,” said Fox News’ then-EVP Programming Bill Shine of the 2015 firing. The official exit came after a four month absence of Beckel from the Rupert Murdoch-owned cable newser.
Beckel was often vocal about battling addiction to alcohol and cocaine. On The Five in 2011 he spoke openly about being a recovering addict. He expanded on his journey to sobriety in his 2015 bestselling book I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV, and Addiction.
Following a brief stint back on CNN, Beckel returned to Fox News in January 2017. However, he was soon in corporate hot water again due to racially charged remarks he made toward a Black employee of the network. After an internal investigation, the decision was made to fire Beckel again in May 2017.
The second firing of Beckel occurred as Fox News was still hoping to move beyond the stigma of the sex scandals and other misconduct by the likes of former top dog Roger Ailes and top host Bill O’Reilly, among others.
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