Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Glenn Beck Inc.

I just read Forbes on-line in-depther on Glenn Beck, the entertainer/pop-culturalist who parlayed attention deficit disorder into a financial empire as one of America's top talk show hosts. I admit my bewilderment why so many cling to his every word while the rest of us think he is certified insane.

Beck is the reincarnation in real life of the fictional television news anchor Howard Beale in the movie "Network." What is frightening is so many people consider him a political savant who, like Beale, look at the world around them and scream they can't take it any longer.

Beck is taking it to the bank in the relatively short time since joining the Fox cable network in January 2009. He has catapulted to third place behind fellow conservatives Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh who have been around for two decades.

Unlike Beck, Hannity adheres to a rigid conservatism espousing the virtues of the Republican Party he saw in a highly filtered perspective of President Ronald Reagan.

Unlike Beck, Limbaugh is the fearless defender of conservatism seen through a prism that can be humorous, bigoted, thought provoking, mean spirited and always entertaining, telling listeners he hopes the president will fail.

Beck himself is a clownish doomsday prognosticator. He frames the Obama administration policies in terms of ending the world as we know it by what Forbes describes as leaving "a long trail of words — millions of passionate, angry, weepy, moralizing, corny, offensive words — in his wake."

When a person we dub as a celebrity is on the national airwaves a minimum of four hours a day five days a week he is bound to say something stupid.  One of them:

"When I see a 9/11 victim family on television, or whatever, I'm just like, 'Oh shut up' I'm so sick of them because they're always complaining."

Forbes managed this explanation from Beck:

"What I'm trying to do is get this message out about self-empowerment, entrepreneurial spirit and true Americanism — the way we were when we changed the world, when Edison was alone, failing his 2,000th time on the lightbulb." 

In that regard, Beck who battled alcoholism and drug addiction in his earlier years, has created a financial empire with a staff of 34 full time employees, including a small cadre of loyalists who filter and market his off-the-wall thought process. He monetizes everything spewing from his mouth. Writes Forbes:

He gets $13 million a year from print (books plus the 10-issue-a-year magazine Fusion). Radio brings in $10 million. Digital (including a newsletter, the ad-supported Glennbeck.com and merchandise) pulls in $4 million. Speaking and events are good for $3 million and television for $2 million...  Glenn Beck Inc., formally known as Mercury Radio Arts (after Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre on the Air), pulled in $32 million in revenue during the 12 months ended Mar. 1.

Yet, Beck's television gig with Fox brought him national fame which many mistake for political acumen. "I could give a flying crap about the political process," he told Forbes.

The article described one stage appearance at the Nokia Theater in New York City where he "paces like a comic Hamlet, eyes bulging every time he figures out how to weave the props (stalks of corn, a chalkboard, a cockatoo he rented for $750 a night)."

Staff is not worried Beck has not taken his meds, doesn't know what he will say in his monologue, yet the man himself insists he "can multitask like crazy. I'm riddled with ADD — a blessing and a curse."

In some respects, Beck's volatile temperament makes him a jerk as a boss and is unapologetic for firing an assistant for supplying a pen he didn't like for signing autographs.

Beck is so outrageous Web sites have sprung up simply to repeat his crazy offerings.

This president I think has exposed himself over and over again as a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture....I'm not saying he doesn't like white people, I'm saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist." –on President Obama, sparking an advertiser exodus from his FOX News show, July 28, 2009.


"I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. ... No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out. Is this wrong? I stopped wearing my What Would Jesus -- band -- Do, and I've lost all sense of right and wrong now. I used to be able to say, 'Yeah, I'd kill Michael Moore,' and then I'd see the little band: What Would Jesus Do? And then I'd realize, 'Oh, you wouldn't kill Michael Moore. Or at least you wouldn't choke him to death.' And you know, well, I'm not sure." –responding to the question "What would people do for $50 million?", "The Glenn Beck Program," May 17, 2005


 "The only [Katrina victims] we're seeing on television are the scumbags." –"The Glenn Beck Program," Sept. 9, 2005.


 "Al Gore's not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization...And you must silence all dissenting voices. That's what Hitler did. That's what Al Gore, the U.N., and everybody on the global warming bandwagon [are doing]." –"The Glenn Beck Program," May 1, 2007.

And this:

"So here you have Barack Obama going in and spending the money on embryonic stem cell research. ... Eugenics. In case you don't know what Eugenics led us to: the Final Solution. A master race! A perfect person. ... The stuff that we are facing is absolutely frightening." –"The Glenn Beck Program," March 9, 2009

Forbes ended its story with this Beck confession. "I think I say the things that people are afraid to say — and sometimes the things people are too smart to say."

You can take that to the bank.



Glenn Beck is a demagogue using a national platform to make a fortune. Like Beck who rues for the good old days of Edison inventing the lightbulb, I rue for the day of responsible journalists in the form of Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley and Edward R. Murrow. Instead we have Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Keith Olbermann, Rachael Maddow and Jon Stewart skewering the news to fit their political prejudices. And the public buys it hook, line and sinker. Surely, we cannot be that dumb.

Readers comments are welcome as long as they remain civil. We reserve the right to delete any comments that are vulgar, libelous and totally irrelevant to this posting. -- Jer 


Cookie said...

Your article about Glenn Beck today was probably the most thoughtful and insightful I have read. Thanks for saying it. I also agree with you about Rachel Maddow not being a responsible journalist, which puts me at odds with most, if not all of my liberal friends. I may agree with a lot of her premises, but she goes to far in her presentation, and in her choice of inflammatory words.
I do take issue, however, with including Jon Stewart with the pack. Remember, he is on Comedy Central. He, at least, has the decency to consider himself a satirist, and while I am guilty of getting a lot of my "news" from "The Daily Show," I at least try to verify what I see there from a true journalistic source after watching the show.

Thanks again,
Ann-Marie Meyers

Anonymous said...

MSM media is dominated by conservative pundits. Before Olberman, where was a "liberal" talk show host on cable? MSNBC fired Donohue around the time of our mistake in Iraq. Even conservative media ignored the warnings of people like Bacevich, Larison and the anti-war crowd in the libertarian wing...