Fox News executives are considering dropping Glenn Beck when his contract comes up for renewal in December, New York Times columnist David Carr reported on Sunday, citing unnamed officials at the cable news network. Carr indicated that they are becoming increasingly concerned about a significant erosion of Beck's audience (he has lost more than a third of his viewers since his August rally in Washington D.C.), the departure of 300 advertisers, and the fact that Beck's apocalyptic predictions have transformed him from a conservative entertainer to a "serial doomsday machine that's a bummer to watch." Joel Cheatwood, the Fox executive who oversees Beck's show, told Carr, "It is really important that no matter how dire he thinks things are or what horrible direction things may be going from his perspective that the show maintains a sense of hope." Beck's admirers immediately came to his defense. Calling Carr's article "a hit piece," Noel Sheppard, an associated editor of NewsBusters.org, which tracks alleged "liberal bias" in the media, pointed out that Beck outdraws his combined competition on CNN, HLN, and MSNBC. CNN's Howard Kurtz, he noted, also devoted a segment of his Reliable Sources on Sunday to two conservative commentators who criticized Beck. Sheppard concluded that he had to "wonder if the liberal media ... are beginning to mount a full-scale assault to get Fox to not renew his contract."