04/05/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Glenn Beck, Fox News, Find Ratings Gold By Challenging Obama

Reporting from New York -- Before Glenn Beck started his new show on Fox News in January, he sat down with Roger Ailes, the network's chief executive, to make sure they were on the same page.

"I wanted to meet with Roger and tell him, 'You may not want to put me on the air. I believe we are in dire trouble, and I will never shut up,' " said the conservative radio host.

But before Beck could say anything, Ailes shared a message of his own: The country faced tough times, he said, and Fox News was one of the only news outlets willing to challenge the new administration.

"I see this as the Alamo," Ailes said, according to Beck. "If I just had somebody who was willing to sit on the other side of the camera until the last shot is fired, we'd be fine."

That couldn't have suited Beck more. In making the jump to the top-rated cable news channel from HLN, where he had a show for two years, he hoped to alert more people to one of his consuming fears: that the government's handling of the economic crisis is ushering in an era of socialism.

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