The majority does not rule in America, but the minority shouldn’t hijack it. And it’s because we’re afraid. They have isolated us and made us feel as though we’re alone. We’re not. Glenn Beck
That is, BY FAR, the most lucid quote I could find from Glenn Beck. Coming from almost anyone else I would agree. We value majority opinion, and rightly so, but the majority is not always right. The minority often uses these failings to take over an issue and cripple honest majority rule. And Glenn Beck is a master of that game, which is what makes this quote so duplicitous. What is Glenn Beck? A journalist? A TV personality? Is he a carnival barker or a snake oil salesman? He is definitely popular. His TV show and radio program draws huge ratings. He commands high dollar from advertisers on radio and TV. His radio program is the highest rated broadcast on many different stations all across America. His TV program is consistently one of the highest rated TV show, not just on FOX, but on all cable news channels. He is a multiple time best seller, with 3 different books enjoying time on top of the New York Times best seller list. He has deals with companies to sell all manner of items from gold to survival kits. Glenn Beck has become a small enterprise with a single recipient , Glenn Beck. Lately, though, there has been news of unrest in Beck’s world. Some sponsors have dropped his radio program and talk of him “transitioning out of” his TV program, which has seen decreasing ratings over the last year and a half. Is this the beginning of the end of Beck, or just a road bump on his way to whatever destiny he envisions for himself? Those questions are still to be answered but we can take a look at Beck’ s beginnings. What made him the media force he appears to be today?
Beck’s personal history is one of sadness and hope, believe it or not. He has overcome the tragic loss of his mother as a child, divorces racked with consequences both serious and grim, and more than one occasion of drug addiction and alcoholism. Maybe some of his personal demons explain much of his public outbursts but, to me at least, the resolve he had to pull out of that is admirable. Such things have driven many a man to ponder taking his own life(including Beck, by his own admission). So I won’t get into all that. Feel free ot read up on it though. It may give you a different view of him. But probably not. Let’s be serious, he’s still a crazy asshole. We’ll begin at the cusp of his meteoric rise to fame and infamy.
Beck’s career had the most unassuming, Howard Sternish beginnings a star could have. Bouncing from station to station in the southwest Beck couldn’t seem to keep any long term job. Eventually he was hired away to the Midwest and a stint in Louisville, Kentucky in 1983 ended after a fight with management and a third place finish in the ratings. Beck’s show was largely nonpolitical and mirrored most of the programs of the time, with juvenile humor, phone pranks, and plenty of fart jokes. Beck moved back to the Southwest and began operating out of a Phoenix based station and began a rivalry with a local DJ that culminated with Beck calling the DJ’s wife on air and mocking her recent miscarriage. Beck resigned immediately afterward and continued touring the southwest. At one point, while working in Texas, he was arrested and jailed for speeding in a DeLorean. I shit you not.
Anyways, after some wacky adventures with racism, Beck ended up in Tampa,Florida in 2000. Within a year of it’s debut, The Glenn Beck Show went to number one in the ratings. Thinly veiled racism and far right political commentary were a hit with Floridians. In January of 2002 Premiere Radio Networks syndicated Beck’s show to 47 stations nationwide. Premeire appears to be a right wing corporate radio entity but really, like any medium, they just want what is selling and, on radio, right wing foolishness is the big ticket item. Personally I have always attributed it to something I call the “Howard Stern Syndrome”. People who like Beck, Limbaugh, and the like are going to listen to the show. But that’s not what gives them such high ratings. It’s the people who absolutely hate them but listen anyways to know what they should be hating next, that boost these people’s ratings so high. There was an actual survey conducted by NBC radio to find out why people listen to Howard Stern and they found that a big chunk of the audience hated the guy, but they listened anyways to “hear what he said next”. That’s human. Sure it’s a terrible train wreck, but you can’t stop looking. There is also that “water cooler” mentality of not wanting to miss out on something. What insane thing will this guy say next!
By 2008, the Glenn Beck show was the 4th most syndicated show on radio and the third highest in the ratings behind Limbaugh and Hannity. As of today, Beck is still a top rated radio host but some sponsors have backed away form his program in the last few years, including AT&T, Applebee’s, Capital One, and Geico. An endless parade of petitions have appeared online trying to persuade companies to stop sponsoring what they term, “an obviously racist and bigoted program.” But even after the success of his radio program,Beck did not become a national figure until someone, somewhere on the CNN payroll said, “I have an idea.” Beck’s first TV show, simply titled “Glenn Beck”, began airing weeknights on the CNN Headline News channel. By the end of it’s run, Beck’s program was second on the network in ratings behind mythical Kraken/former prosecutor Nancy Grace’s show. Beck’s tenure on CNN was light on controversy. While he did offer a rather right wing view on many things, he was coherent. Measured. Soft spoken. None of the things we actually associate with Glenn Beck. I can’t remember a single time I was ever offended watching his CNN show. That would all change in the fall of 2008 when Beck left CNN for the soylent green pastures of FOX News. It was Beck time.
Beck was warmly greeted upon his arrival to the Murdoch conglomerate. His show began January of 2009 and he nabbed Sarah Palin for an interview early on when people were still interested in Sarah Plain interviews. Papa Bear(O’Reilly) gave him a little segment on his show called “At Your Beck And Call”. See what they did there? His last name is Beck but it is also a word meaning something else. Clever. Clever indeed. Anyways, things seemed great. But there was a problem. A grave problem that no one was seeing and Beck felt personally compelled to bring to our attention. Of course it was terrible enough that a black man had been elected President. I believe Beck would agree with that, as most of us would. But that wasn’t the problem Beck was referring to. In July of that year, Beck began his crusade to uncover our President’s terrible secret. During a friendly early morning visit to the set of FOX & Friends(WARNING!: FOX is not actually your friend.) Beck let it slip out that Obama might possibly be a racist. Specifically that he hates white people. Never mind the fact Obama was born of a white mother and raised by white grandparents whom he loves very much, dude just seems racist. He tried to clarify his remarks by saying that he didn’t think Obama “hated” white people,he just thought he was racist. Apparently you can be racist without hating now.
That same month Beck began a series on his show that would come to define his TV persona. A look into the conspiratorial underpinnings of the Obama White House. He began openly targeting Presidential Adviser Anthony “Van” Jones. Van Jones was a target for many Republicans as his green energy initiatives looked to lighten the pockets of some of their friends in energy. Beck began by “highlighting”a tie between van Jones and a left wing organization called STORM and his support for death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal . Constantly streaming video of Jones insulting Republicans and a petition signed by Jones stating that Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks, Van Jones became a singular distraction in the press room. In September Jones resigned. Beck chalked it up as a victory and REALLY let it go to his head. His GIANT head. That September Beck went after ACORN. Broadcasting a series of videos filmed by 2 huge douche bags, it appeared as though ACORN was giving tax advice for prostitution. The videos were later proved to be edited for bias but the damage had been done. In the spring of 2010, ACORN disbanded. Beck was on a roll. His ratings were high enough to allow casual controversy to pass him right by and he was becoming a household name. But with revolution on the horizon in the Middle East, Beck pulled out his big guns to tackle the biggest conspiracy of his career, the Secret Obama Caliphate.
In late 2010 rumblings of revolution began spreading across many Middle Eastern countries. December 2010, Tunisia struck a blow for freedom and Glenn Beck saw the fires of war being lit. When Egypt joined a month later in January, Beck’s alarm bells went off. For many months he had been endlessly scrawling Obama’s plan for a Mao like Communist America across his blackboards but now he saw the great truth. Could it be possible that Obama, in conjunction with “elements of the State Department”, is preparing America to join a worldwide Muslim caliphate? It’s obviously going to happen! Why else would these people revolt?! Americans had to be warned. they had to prepare for possible war and, worse, the possible end of the world! Beginning in late January, Beck started openly wondering if this was all leading to another great world war. He envisioned a scenario in which extreme hard line factions take control of the governments of “key Arab states” and begin an intense terrorist campaign against the West. Buoyed by support from China, Iran and Egypt invade Saudi Arabia and lure America and Israel into a long war that eventually could end in a nuclear exchange. The end of the world.
Well, needless to say, the ‘End of the World” isn’t good for business. Unless you have money invested in companies that profit from such ridiculous fears as the collapse of society. Which Beck does. At the beginning of March 2011, rumbling around FOX News seemed to point to Beck being replaced. Ideological splits in the republican Party were carrying over to the on air personalities and Beck was right in the middle of it. Appealing to a hard line that Republicans looked to minimize until they needed the votes, Beck begins to become more trouble than he is worth. And his worth is quickly declining. Barely a year ago Beck was the biggest name in cable “news”. Now it is reported that he is going to be “transitioning out of his TV show”. His quickly forgotten “Rally to Restore America” and endless pandering to the fringe has won him more enemies than friends. He’s basically getting the Ted Koppel deal. Just go away and they’ll give you a special here and there. Beck may represent the true FOX viewer but FOX doesn’t need that thrown in everyone’s face everyday.
Is this the end of Glenn Beck? He still commands a sizable audience on the radio but his career never took off til he made it on TV. Will smaller doses of him cause the public to forget him?(Oh GOD please let it be that one!) With further division among the Tea Party and establishment Republicans, will Beck be further marginalized by mainstream right wing media? Limbaugh basically owns the radio and Hannity is waiting to replace him. Both like Palin and the Tea Party but only when it suits their interests. Beck LOVES them. I don’t think it’s the last we’ll hear from him though. If anything he is a showman. That pulls people in and someone is always looking for a guy like that. Regardless I think he has been lessened dramatically and done real damage to the Republican Party and their chances for the Presidency. So, he’s got that going for him.