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Friday, April 8, 2011

The Fall of Glenn Beck

The karmic trajectory of Glenn Beck's life ought to be an


for the Republican Party, the Tea Party, and America. We’ll get into this in the conclusion.

The Daily Beast: America’s Ten Worst Demagogues.

Who is Glenn Beck?

Glenn Beck (born February 10, 1964) is an American conservative radio and television host, author, entrepreneur, and political commentator. He hosts the Glenn Beck Program, a nationally syndicated talk-radio show that airs throughout the United States on Premiere Radio Networks; and also a cable news show on the Fox News Channel.

Beck has authored six New York Times-bestselling books. He is the founder and CEO of Mercury Radio Arts, a multimedia production company through which he produces content for radio, television, publishing, the stage, and the Internet.

Mr. Beck has been both an effective communicator who has caused real-world results, and a controversial one who has made many enemies.

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How Others See the Glenn Beck “Transitioning”

New York Times David Carr
Mr. Beck, a conservative Jeremiah and talk-radio phenomenon, burst into television prominence in 2009 by taking the forsaken 5 p.m. slot on Fox News and turning it into a juggernaut.

A conjurer of conspiracies who spotted sedition everywhere he looked, Mr. Beck struck a big chord and ended up on the cover of Time magazine

and The New York Times Magazine, and held rallies all over the country that were mobbed with acolytes. He achieved unheard-of ratings, swamped the competition and at times seemed to threaten the dominion of Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity at Fox.

But a funny thing happened on the way from the revolution. Since last August, when he summoned more than 100,000 followers to the Washington mall for the “Restoring Honor” rally, Mr. Beck has lost over a third of his audience on Fox — a greater percentage drop than other hosts at Fox. True, he fell from the great heights of the health care debate in January 2010, but there has been worrisome erosion — more than one million viewers — especially in the younger demographic.

He still has numbers that just about any cable news host would envy and, with about two million viewers a night, outdraws all his competition combined. But the erosion is significant enough that Fox News officials are willing to say — anonymously, of course; they don’t want to be identified as criticizing the talent — that they are looking at the end of his contract in December and contemplating life without Mr. Beck.
David Carr also said, “The problem with “Glenn Beck” is that it has turned into a serial doomsday machine that’s a bummer to watch.”

“He used to be a lot funnier,” said David Von Drehle, who wrote an article in Time magazine.

He was the befuddled everyman and something entirely new, but the longer people have listened to his ranting and raving, the wearier they become. Now you are just getting down to diehards. I mean, how many people were in the Waco compound at the end? A couple of hundred?

Why Fox Dumped Beck

The ratings for the first quarter of 2011 revealed Beck's show had lost close to a third of its audience compared with the same stretch a year ago, when his viewership peaked at 2.78 million. Among advertiser-prized viewers ages 25 to 54, he was down almost 40 percent, and advertisers increasingly were shunning him.

Beck, and Fox for Beck’s time slot, has lost more than 300 advertisers. Below is a compilation of some of these.

Companies Boycotting Beck

Both Liberals and Conservatives Are Happy About the Move

Liberals are gleeful that a far right-wing guy is going down. Conservatives see Beck as giving conservatism, and Fox News, a bad name.

Bill Kristol

Neoconservative columnist Bill Kristol in The Weekly Standard, Feb 14, 2011

Hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. Hejavascript:void(0)’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.
Kristol's words drew an approving nod from National Review’s Rich Lowry, a rare public repudiation of the influential Fox host from a conservative elite that quietly dislikes him.

From calling President Obama racist, then taking back the statement, to the consistent use of Nazi and Holocaust imagery, Beck was upsetting more than just Jewish groups.

Not an American Tragedy

Of course, the “fall” of Glenn Beck isn’t really an American tragedy, as he will have other projects, many of them lucrative. He has sold four million books, has high talk-radio ratings, a successful Web site, The Blaze, and a stage performance that packs ‘em in. His company, Mercury Radio Arts, had more than $30 million in revenue last year.

Beck’s fall is sort of comparable to the “fall” of Katie Couric, who was forced out of the first mainstream media news anchor job for a female over at CBS. She too, will have much power and moneymaking opportunities, so no one should feel sorry for her.

Still, both of them have “fallen.”

The Most Positive Man in America

Of course, I was never entirely happy with Beck. I even thought his Restoring Honor, the best thing he ever did, was a religious revival, when I was expecting something politically uplifting. Still, it’s a free country, and Beck made that choice. It was because of that chosen path, in fact, I think, that he was so popular at that time. He seemed like the most optimistic man in America.

See my earlier post on Beck, when I was more upbeat about him, Beck, Palin, and the Tea Party.

Beck and Palin at Restoring Honor
No more.

My feelings about Beck used to be about 90% positive and 10% negative. My judgment of him has moved from that to about 10% positive now and 90% negative. I even feel he has slid into unethical behaviors.

Let me start with my positive feelings about Beck.

The Good

Beck took the world by storm when the Glenn Beck TV program opened on the Fox News Channel on Jan 19, 2009. It reached the height of its all-time ratings in March of that year, 3,074,000 million viewers, outpacing the total of all his timeslot competitors combined. He was second on Cable News only to Bill O’Reilly, who beat him by only 81,000 viewers. He became a favorite guest on “The O’Reilly Factor,” where Bill’s affection for him was obvious. Fox was proud of him.

He was the king of moneymaking, with books on the New York Times bestsellers lists and projects that always worked.

The pinnacle of his success was the Restoring Honor rally on the steps of the the Lincoln Memorial, on the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. He was beloved by millions, and still is.

That Chalkboard

Beck and His Famous Chalkboard
At first, his chalkboard lectures were wondrous, instructive, and useful. He did reveal things that no one in America was talking about. He was very helpful to our nation in pointing out Barrack Obama’s radical, leftist associations. He helped demystify the "Annointed One" mystique about Obama and cut him down to size as a political hack with Chicago thug tactics. All this was in part responsible for both Obama’s lowered ratings and the rise of the Tea Party, who were much in alignment with Glenn Beck’s value system.

Research Par Excellence

He was, and remains, the best researcher in the media. Too bad the mainstream media don’t do this much homework. Beck is infamous for finding 99 degrees of separation. If Barrack Obama had coffee one day with Bill Ayers’s cousin, Beck would find it. Thus, he was able to uncover that indeed Barrack has mostly associated his whole life with radical left-wingers, and made statements on the record affirming his socialist tendencies. We wouldn’t have known all this in the slightest without Beck.

Thank You, Glenn

Like him or not, Glenn has trumpeted several wonderful things. He has sought to elevate family values, religion, patriotism, a return to conservatism, and honoring both America and the “common man.”

He took down radical socialist Van Jones from the Obama Administration, and removed the unethical, criminal, and election frauding Obama ally ACORN from their nefarious activities, among others.

He has also uncovered the associations between far left organizations like Media Matters, and other left-wing sites like The Huffington Post, and unsavory characters like George Soros. Or, as Glenn Beck calls him, “Spooky Dude.”

Modern Liberals

John F. Kennedy
I have long felt that modern liberals have left their dignified roots as exhibited, in my opinion, by FDR, Truman, JFK, Lyndon Johnson, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. While conservatives might not agree with the policies of these liberal giants, they were decent men, not demagogues, and with America’s interest in mind. Plus, they were sensible. All of them were strong on defense, and pro business.

All this is a far cry from today’s liberals, who have morphed into vicious demagogues without conscience, like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Obama himself more resembles Pelosi and Reid than any of the liberal giants of the past, let alone Abraham Lincoln.

Spot On

Beck was able to paint modern liberals exactly as they are. He showed us their socialist and even communist connections and sentiments. He, along with the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and others, helped conservatives win a majority in the House of Representatives and take back some of the Senate. This started with the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts to Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat. An astounding achievement.

And Much More

Beck is also a great entertainer. He started as a DJ, can play characters, complete with a great voice and clowning around.

The Bad

I was among the first conservatives on the Web and on Twitter to start criticizing Beck. I had some arguments with his devotees, and lost some followers myself because of my critiques. I gained some followers too.

At first, my complaints about him were that he was constantly finding conspiracies. He was paranoid, full of doom and gloom, and always afraid, communicating that fear to all of America.

Beck is Accurate, But ...

I never took issue with Beck on what he discovered with his impeccable research. For example, yes there are conspiracies going on all over the world right this very moment. Beck has found several of them. Islamic radicals do want a worldwide caliphate. Unions are connected with communist radicals. Some communist radicals are associated with some radical Islamofascists. Obama has had lifelong associations with domestic terrorists, socialists, and even communists.

Faulty Analysis

What I dispute are Beck’s interpretations of what he finds, and their implications. What he ignores is that there always have been, and always will be conspiracies, people who hate America, those who are plotting America’s downfall, and so on. This began with the Revolutionary War, and will continue as long as America exists.

Reason to Tremble?

Finding conspiracies doesn’t mean that any of these will succeed. It even doesn’t follow that any of them are worth worrying about. We can thank Glenn Beck for making us aware of some of these actual plots. Knowing they exist can afford us the chance to prepare, and to prevent their fruition. But we can curse him for making us afraid. An afraid America creates Depressions, isolationism, hatreds, more fears, and self-destructive behaviors.

Valid Fears and an Open Mind

Some of his fears are valid. Obama does seem to be solely educated by leftist radical family, friends, associates, and schooling. As such, he probably does have a bias against business, a negative view of America, an anti-military feeling, and so on. These are real.

Even here, though, Beck ignores the fact that Obama can learn. Perhaps he’ll never be a centrist, but he has accepted being forced to the middle in his policies. So much so that he now has problems with his radical left base. Remember, Reagan was a fervent Democrat before he became the darling of the conservatives.

The Ugly

Beck has not only flirted with unethical behavior, he eventually became mired in it.

He was locked in to a dark vision of the world, the end times, and the ruination of the United States, its currency, and economy. His main message became, prepare for the coming apocalypse.

While he was actually preaching that money would become useless soon, he was scrambling to increase his earned millions. He would advise listeners to take their money out of the stock market, all the while it was going up. At the same time he was running down America, in a distinctly un-conservative, un-Reagonesque manner, he was peddling everything you need for the catastrophes to come. Gold, food insurance, disaster supplies.
Glenn Peddling Food Insurance
Locked in to his dark view of the world, he was profiting from it. So, he had to outdo himself every day in coming up with something new about which to be afraid.

This is all unethical, and immoral.

The Moral of the Story

Lessons for Beck

For my personal taste, Beck became too religious, too apocalyptic, too much doom and gloom, too opportunistic in peddling disaster products while preaching the end of times, too paranoid, and too empowering of those who really are involved in conspiracies. He is not a conservative, in my view, because conservatives are happy, love their country, and root for it to succeed.

All Beck had to do to keep his kingdom was to shift gears into the persona of a winner. Instead, he reverted to the raving maniac of his alcoholic years. He ends his Fox career, the highest
Huey Long
peak he will ever reach, much like Joe McCarthy, Huey Long, and other demagogues, who stayed locked in their negative paranoia’s.

He has become the political equivalent, in my opinion, of Art Bell’s Coast to Coast, UFO watchers, the John Birch Society, and all the conspiracy theorists who believe such things as Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill John F. Kennedy.


Lessons for the Rest of Us

The lesson for Republicans, and for the Tea Party, is that Americans might passionately love you today because you have a clear heartfelt message that seems to lead to the Promised Land. But, they expect you to stay reasonable. Beck left the reservation.

Republicans and the Tea Party are misreading their election mandate, and are becoming irrational. Americans did not want them to dismantle the social safety net, support for the arts, and for NPR. They just wanted reasonable spending. Eventually, most Americans will reject radical solutions to our very real problems.

God Bless You Glenn

The Young Beck

You will succeed in other ways, I’m sure. Take care of yourself. We loved you. We wish you well.

Stay away from booze. And, avoid reading the Book of Revelations.

Your Comments are Welcome Here


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