Glenn Beck's Experimental Melodrama

The Fox News star terrifies America with his realistic news theater.

In late September, President Barack Obama conducted a series of five one-on-one White House interviews with reporters from CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and Univision. For some reason—perhaps he’s housing a secret civilian security force in the Roosevelt Room and doesn’t want any fair and balanced reporters snooping around—the president didn’t invite Fox to participate. For Glenn Beck, the host of the hottest show on cable news, this Oval Office slight offered an opportunity to provide some trenchant perspective. “Does the president consider Fox some sort of enemy?” he exclaimed, chortling with amiable resentment. “I mean, no, it can’t be that, because, no, he’ll sit down with our enemies. He’s even offered to sit down with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And that guy, I mean, you call me nuts?”

The bit was Beck at his best: shrewdly self-marginalizing, bitingly funny, and executed with perfect timing. A radio veteran who got his first job in the business at the age of 13, Beck, it turns out, is also a TV showman on par with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. But while America’s favorite fake newsmen have clear-cut identities as comedians, the question of how to categorize Beck is more perplexing.

When Beck was 8 years old, his mother gave him a record of old radio programs that included Orson Welles’ famous performance of War of the Worlds. Apparently the fictionalized news report of an alien invasion became a foundational text for him, an archetypal example of how you could create crazy, vivid, apocalyptic drama out of mere words. To pay tribute to Welles’ work, Beck starred in a live version of War of the Worlds that aired on his syndicated radio show on Halloween night in 2002. Shortly thereafter, an heir of the radio play’s author sued Beck and his producers for copyright infringement and won an injunction that prevents Beck from ever performing the play again.

The injunction, however, doesn’t prevent Beck from spinning his own doomsday visions every day. In January he jumped from CNN Headline News to the Fox News Channel and began experimenting in earnest. Comedy Central’s The Daily Show had paved the way by showing you didn’t have to stick to the same old tried-and-true conventions when presenting the news. Anchormen could be more expressive. You could use music and graphics and video clips more creatively. And if you could do so in pursuit of comedy, why not also in pursuit of melodrama?

In February, while discussing what it’s like to be angry and enfranchised in America, legislated to the edge of Armageddon, Beck introduced a new visual technique: His image appeared simultaneously in two windows on the screen, one a typical headshot, the other a close-up of his eyes, the better to showcase his distressed but strong sincerity. On April Fool’s Day, as Beck kicked off a segment on America’s drift toward fascism, his image started shrinking until he was just a tiny torso at the bottom of the screen, looking over his shoulder at World War II footage of marching Nazis. “Enough!” Mini-Beck shouted. Then the screen went black behind him, dramatically framing his shrunken head and body as he continued his soliloquy. It was news commentary as expressionist theater.

Beck’s subjects became equally avant garde. On one show, experts tutored the host on how to survive the kind of financial meltdown in which shopping centers were ghost malls and streets were crawling with functionally illiterate meth-heads. A week later, he started investigating the rumor that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was building concentration camps around the country. When that didn’t pan out, he set about exposing the secret communist artwork adorning Rockefeller Plaza and other buildings in New York.

Whatever the subject of any given episode, a common theme always unites it with every other installment of the show: Something isn’t right with America. The country is changing somehow, subtly but surely, right under our very noses, and hardly anyone else is noticing.

In August, Beck turned his attention to the mysterious entities—alien invaders, you might say—who had infiltrated the White House with barely any scrutiny at all: Obama’s czars. Van Jones, Obama’s adviser on green business initiatives, was a former member of a communist group and a self-described revolutionary, Beck reported. Next, he aired video footage of Mark Lloyd, diversity officer at the Federal Communications Commission, praising Hugo Chavez’s “incredible revolution” in Venezuela. The Van Jones episode garnered Beck’s highest rating in weeks, attracting nearly 800,000 more viewers than his previous show had. The Mark Lloyd episode, boosted by an endorsement from Sarah Palin to her Facebook followers, did even better, attracting slightly more than 3 million viewers, according to the Nielsen Company.

It was the first time Beck’s program had broken the 3 million barrier, an incredible achievement for a cable news show airing at 5 p.m. After Beck unveiled more information about Jones, including the fact that the adviser had signed a petition that suggested high-level Bush administration officials may have deliberately allowed the 9/11 attacks to occur, Jones resigned from his position at the White House. Beck followed up with revelations about a National Endowment for the Arts conference call in which artists were encouraged to create works promoting President Obama’s political agenda, and suddenly it seemed as if the crusading New Canaan populist might single-handedly save America from the attacking hordes of progressive pod people armed to the teeth with stimulus dollars.

Not everyone gives Beck’s efforts positive reviews, even on the right. New York Times columnist David Brooks accused him of “race-baiting” after Beck said Obama is “racist” toward white people. Former Bush speechwriter David Frum called one of Beck’s many vettings of a White House appointee (Cass Sunstein in this case) “beyond sloppy, beyond ignorant, proceeding straight toward the deceptive.” “How on earth did this crackpot get a national TV show?” asked Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher.

In Dreher’s question we have what is perhaps the most concise history yet of media in the Internet era. With every new technological breakthrough, it gets easier and easier to push unregulated information into the national discourse, potentially exposing millions to misinformation masquerading as news. As President Obama exclaimed in a September interview with the Toledo Blade, it sometimes seems as if we’re moving toward a future where there’s “no serious fact checking” and “no serious attempts to put stories in context.”

In theory, a charismatic paranoiac like Beck is the poster boy for this dystopian future. He’s got a very loud megaphone. His communication skills are world-class. He’s ideologically driven (even if no one can quite figure out what that ideology is). And he’s willing to entertain some pretty dubious notions. But look at his track record so far. He couldn’t sell FEMA death camps because the facts weren’t there to back the story up. His exposé of communist art at Rockefeller Plaza went nowhere because even Beck’s viewers realize an old relief of a naked farmer holding some wheat isn’t much of a threat. The Van Jones story had legs, by contrast, because most of its facts were solid. With a change in background music and a few minor edits, in fact, Beck’s first long piece on Jones could have served as an advertisement for the activist’s achievements—in part because its script closely followed a 2005 newspaper article that was written as a positive portrait of Jones.

Context, meanwhile, is Beck’s forte. He is constantly urging his viewers to connect the dots and look at the big picture, even when the picture exists only in his head. He is forever advising them to consider stories not as transient, random, isolated phenomena, as most newscasts do, but as parts of a larger, ongoing narrative that grows more and more meaningful (and menacing) the longer you study it. In a fractured, distracting mediascape, where thousands of outlets vie for our attention, it’s a smart approach that others are sure to copy. Legally barred from re-enacting Orson Welles, Beck may have to settle for being the 21st century’s answer to Edward R. Murrow.

Contributing Editor Greg Beato (gbeato@soundbitten.com) writes from San Francisco.

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  • ||

    While I'm not a Glenn Beck fan (he sounds like a televangelist to me), I agree with him that something is not right in America, and that the country is changing for the worse as time moves forward.

    Do any other Libertarians seriously disagree with this premise?

    I mean, come on! We started off with inalieable rights, but now, through taxation, we rent our "liberties" from the government. And if you think I'm wrong, try not paying your taxes and see how many liberties you actually have...

  • Tony||

    How dare Obama invent the concept of taxation!

  • Ska||

    Looking for the part where the commentor mentions Obama.........and nope, there's no mention at all. What the hell are you talking about?

  • ||

    Tony's a friggin' moron. That's what.

  • Tony||

    No, you're right. Something is happening, and it's bad, and those people are doing it. Be afraid. We've never had such tyranny betwixt our shores! It's no one person who's doing it... but now is definitely the time to finally put away the Doritos and do something about it.

  • ||

    When they come for Tony, Tony will be surprised.

  • ||

    When they came for Tony, he asked to join them. They let him, because he was already wearing an armband.

  • hmm||

    They always are.

  • JB||

    Obama has taken the Bush deficits and exploded them.

    That is not a good thing and people need to start paying attention.

  • Tony||

    People needed to start paying attention a long time ago, not just when it's convenient to attack a Democrat.

  • ||

    You're absolutely correct! Nobody at H&R decried Bush's spending binge. Everybody here was absolutely silent about the costs of medicare prescription drug coverage, hiding the costs of Iraq and Afghanistan in emergency spending bills loaded up with pork, ...

    People here only complain when Obama does it.

    Tony, what are the drugs do you take that make you so fucking stupid?

  • ||

    Tony, what are the drugs do you take that make you so fucking stupid?

    Sorry J sub, I gotta call RC'z law on this one.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    That's joe'z memorial law.

  • JB||

    It was dropped on its head a few times when young.

  • Tony||

    Must be the ones that have me hallucinating JB being an Obama hating wingnut.

  • JB||

    If hating Obama because he is drowning America in debt is crazy, then guess what?

    I'm motherfucking crazy.

  • ||

    JB and Tony, sittin' in a tree...

  • JB||

    No thanks. I would push him out.

  • ||

    And we need Beck to help us do this? is that your point, JB?

  • JB||

    Why not? He is raising a valid point unlike 95% of the rest of the MSM.

    Are you one of those zombies that voted for Obama?

  • ||

    Pat Robertson and Rick warren think something is wrong with America. So?

  • CTHORM@IBIS||

    Its kind of sad that Rick Warren gets his name next to Pat Robertson. Rick Warren, while a social conservative, is hardly the self-righteous firebrand that Pat Robertson is.

  • Rick||

    The only real answer is to start are own country, we can not move a country of 300 million people in the proper direction.

    Its just so sad there is no land to grab anymore, all the nations have already drawn all the lines and they hate changing them, but maybe if we all immigrate to a small democratic country we could take over.

    The direction of this country has been less freedom over time and it has not changed direction once, so clearly it will end up in a very bad place.

  • ||

    To the Barbados!

  • Attorney||

    I like him better on the radio, on the few occasions when I'm able to listen.

  • Skid Marx ||

    CAN YOU BELIEVE THESE FUCKERS???

    Government sued for defunding scandal-hit ACORN:

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - The scandal-hit liberal grass-roots group ACORN sued the U.S. government on Thursday, saying it did not have the right to cut off ACORN's federal funding because the group had not been convicted of a crime.

    The U.S. Congress voted in September to cut off federal money to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), after conservative activists secretly filmed employees in several cities giving tax and housing advice to a couple posing as a pimp and a prostitute.

    "It's not the job of Congress to be the judge, jury, and executioner," said Jules Lobel, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, which brought the case in Brooklyn federal court.

    "We have due process in this country, and our constitution forbids lawmakers from singling out a person or group for punishment without a fair investigation and trial," Lobel said.

    http://www.reuters.com/article.....D420091112

  • Rich||

    ACORN sued the U.S. government on Thursday, saying it did not have the right to cut off ACORN's federal funding because the group had not been convicted of a crime.

    Careful what you ask for, ACORN: you ain't been convicted *yet*.

  • Mad Max||

    "It's not the job of Congress to be the judge, jury, and executioner"

    If you want to get all technical and Constitution-y, it's not the job of Congress to play Santa Claus for private activist groups.

  • ||

    Well, in fairness, it sounds like they have a pretty plausible case. No bills of attainder, remember?

    In fact I kinda hope they win, even though it's clear that they are in some large part a criminal organization. It's hardly the only corrupt organization getting funds from the federal government, and singling out ACORN is just the politicians' way of papering over the problem.

  • ||

    This isn't a bill of attainder. The only time that's ever even come up in connection with federal funding--which is purely discretionary as a rule, by the way--is with government employee salaries. Not the same thing.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    If they won this, it would be more difficult to cut funding for anything. Its not supposed to be mandatory for congress to fund anything.

  • Joseph E||

    Yeah this is just congress exercising their authorized "power of the purse", not really any rights violated if they choose to use the purse to do something else.

  • GLENNBECKROCKS||

    You have it all wrong, you should be rooting for ACORN in this case and then everyone can sue congress win win

  • ||

    Acorn does not deserve one cent of taxpayer money. I'll not vote for anybody who goes along with giving Obama's Brown Shirts anything.

  • Rick||

    Ah, this is simple one: Obamas justice department can just settle the case for a few billion, thereby bypassing congress.

  • ||

    Glen Beck acts as if he just finished reading "Behold a Pale Horse" last week. He reminds me of a homeless man in Boston that used to wax wildly about demonic aliens in government that were stealing babies. Comparing him to the Daily Show calls to mind when Jon Stewart was on Crossfire and had to remind Carlson and Begala that they were CNN, and his show followed puppets making prank phone calls.

    Sure I agree something is changing with the country (and that has been true for a very long time), but if Beck is the poster boy of the movement, I'd rather choke down hope and change.

  • ||

    Yup, why do libertarians need a poster boy? Must be a youngster thing. I'd prefer a great thinker with no use for histrionics.

  • ||

    Who said Beck was a poster boy for libertarians? I'm libertarian and I despise the guy. I have since he slimed Paul supporters before the primaries.

    Maybe a petition went around where we chose a poster boy and I missed it, but if I had signed it, I surely wouldn't have chosen Beck.

  • ||

    Discord: Agreed. No figureheads. As anyone knows after watching the Oscars, celebrities are poison for ideas.

    Honestly, I even soured on Paul, after he endorsed that fucking fascist Baldwin.

  • ||

    I love how people bring up Jon Stewart's sheltering non-sequitur - "I'm on a COMEDY CHANNEL and I'm on AFTER PUPPETS, so I'm free of criticism!". I particularly love it when in their next breath they make sure to point out that a large number of people get their news from the Daily Show, and they love to trumpet that flawed poll from four years ago that supposedly shows how 'informed' they are.

    Glen Beck is EXACTLY like Jon Stewart. The only reason you don't like him is you disagree with his ideology - the same reason I don't like Jon Stewart. But at least Beck admits he's biased. And at least I can admit that I'm listening to an entertainer, not some smug, self-appointed sage who believes he knows everything.

    And the network on which they appear is irrelevant. News networks have had 'commentators' and 'opinion anchors' pretty much since they were started. Even the old-time sports reporter was nothing but a commentator. Fox clearly delineates its commentary/opinion/entertainment shows from its news. It's only the tiresome, kneejerk anti-Fox people who want to conflate the two.

  • oaktownadam||

    when exactly did Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert claim that they were non-biased journalists?

    The Daily Show and Colbert Report stress over and over that they are *not* news. In fact, Comedy Central couldn't be any more segregated from "news".

  • ||

    Jon Stewart is just another stupid leftist. I don't waste my time watching him, ever.

  • ||

    Jon Stewart is just another stupid leftist. I don't waste my time watching him, ever.

    That's how you know he's another stupid leftist, right?

  • ||

    LOL - well obviously I watched him to see what he was all about, saw that he was another stupid leftist, and quit watching him. Any other questions??

  • ||

    Beck defines "douchebag" and "buffoon."

  • ||

    Hmmm...

    I would nominate Barney Frank before Glenn Beck.

  • Brick||

    Me to:

    Barney Frank: POT BUST Took Place With Congressman Present

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....49648.html

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    The sad part is how due to the political climate he has to say he was "disappointed" to learn his partner had some cannabis growing in the yard.

    At least Frank isn't some hypocritical drug warrior.

  • ||

    "At least Frank isn't some hypocritical drug warrior."

    Agreed.

    He's just a hypocritical bankster whore.

  • JoshInHB||

    I think he was disappointed that he didn't get his share.

  • JB||

    Considering Beck has been breaking more news than the NYT, reason, and the Daily Show, I would say he is due some respect.

  • ||

    !!!!

  • ||

    The Daily Show provides a far more valuable service by demonstrating what bollocks this so-called "news" really is.

  • ||

    No, what Stewart does is to encourage intellectual sloth, by piling snark and snot onto any political topic he finds uncongenial. Curiously, all those topics involve anything other than utterly conventional liberalism at the pass-me-the-bong level. Anyone who looks to Stewart or Colbert for wisdom will simply wind up dazed and confused, wondering who takes so much money out of his Mickey D paycheck.

  • ||

    I used to watch the Daily Show at times, but in the runup to the '04 elections, it seemed to turn into the Humor Department of the DNC. They attacked Republicans for anything and everything, and attacked Democrats for not attacking or standing up against Republicans enough.

  • ||

    Here here!

  • EMp||

    Friggin' bulls-eye!!

  • ReAnimator||

    I agree completely. People often try to downplay the Daily Show and Colbert Report as simple comedy, but I can tell you from experience that my close minded, mouth breathing and ultra-liberal fellow public university students take what these shows "report" to heart. These are of course, the same students that think any line of crap coming from their far left and even occasionally card-carrying communist professors is gospel... Its not easy being a libertarian film student at a socialist institution...

  • nebby||

    What do you mean by white culture Mr. Beck?

  • JB||

    What do you mean by black culture?

    Anyone who calls himself a member of the black community is a fool.

    Anyone who calls himself a member of the white community is a fool.

  • ||

    Citation needed.

  • JB||

    It's called opening your eyes.

    Far and away, Beck is driving the news cycle these days compared to those entities.

  • ||

    Between Beck and Breitbart, we might actually get something close to the truth reported. Yes, they are both biased to right of center, but pretty much every news outlet except for Fox is biased left of center.

  • ||

    How is the center determined?

  • ||

    As compared to average voter, I suppose.

    So take for example an election where you have roughly 55% vote for the Republican, and 47% vote for the Democrat, if you then have 80% or reporters vote for the Dem, you can say that they are left of center.

    On over the course of 6 elections, where 3 have gone R, and 3 Dem, and a particular news station has been in the bag for the Dem each time, then you can say that it is left of center.

    Center as defined by the voting public.

  • ||

    Beck maybe a paranoid. But he is the only major news figure I can think besides Stossel who supports limited government. I don't understand why Reason feels the need to slam on the guy all the time. Is he perfect? No. But as JB points out he has broken some real stories and done real damage to Obama. I would think Reason would have better targets than Beck.

  • ||

    Judge Neopalitano is right up there with Stossel (Beck seems to espouse limited gov't for now, but he might just be tapping the oppositional zeitgest for ratings), though I doubt he can be considered a "major news figure."

  • ||

    Done real damage to Obama? By what measure? In the pundit world? In the blog world? Certainly, I've seen no evidence of this in the REAL world.

  • 2999||

    Well, Obama's numbers have fallen dramatically since Beck started blowing up, but I suspect this is due to the fact that the last few months have been really shitty for America.

  • Les||

    Beck is not for limited government.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6C6E6ayh4U

    People who claim to be for limited government, while simultaneously supporting big government, deserve to be targets of ridicule. Especially when they act like characters straight out of professional wrestling.

  • GLENNBECKROCKS||

    Crappy video, come one Raun Paul has googly eyes he looks crazed eventually i heard him say something agreeable about the IRS but I remember the first story I heard about him was something about denouncing Lincoln whether you agree or not his eyes and ranting about Lincoln not the greatest opening for a presidential bid. Its difficult to comment about the rest of those clips considering how short they are but if there is something wrong with beck calling himself a Libertarian its his voluntary association with a bunch of primadonas like yourself.

  • Les||

    GLENNBECKROCKS, your name indicates a desire to be ignored. Let me help.

  • ||

    GLENNBECKROCKS is hard to ignore...much like a traffic accident. Totally not worth your time, but you can't resist looking at the damage.

  • mark||

    I'm impressed by this guy's comments, despite the run-on sentences and all caps handle.

  • Warty||

    -1 for not calling us "pre-madonnas".

  • ||

    Warty, Madonna was 80's, you clearly are a pre-Madonna

  • EMp||

    All right.. how about pre-Debbie Harrys?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Indeed he does break some real stories.

    I don't watch him regularly but the first place I saw that video of Anita Dunn talking about Mao was on his show.

    If it were up to the mainstream media, no one would ever see that or hear anything about Van Jones.

  • Some Guy||

    This is why I hate Republicans. They are so incredibly gullible as to believe big-government politicians/pundits who claim to be for small government.

    I bet you believed W when he said he believed in free markets, too.

    Please educate yourself so you can stop doing so much damage to our cause by pretending to be us.

  • ||

    Had you paid attention you would understand the difference between "Republicans" and conservatives, let alone libertarians. Free clue: Michael Steele is a Republican. He is not a "conservative". George W. Bush is not a conservative, but a Republican. Conservatives and libertarians objected to Bush's deficits, his prescription drug program, his growing the federal government by 40%, his subsidies to the steel industry, and his "No Child" nonsense.

  • ||

    George W. isn't a conservative! Mao and Stalin weren't really Marxists!

    I'm sorry, but I am completely uninterested in Platonic ideals. There is no Marxism but applied Marxism, and there is no conservatism but applied conservatism.

  • JoshInHB||

    Did Bush every claim to be a conservative? Let alone for shrinking government?

  • ||

    "Compassionate Conservative" to be exact.

  • The Man||

    I began to be afraid, very afraid, when he said that.

  • ||

    Which translates to "conservative that hands out a lot of money".

  • ||

    Bush ran on a limited and responsible government platform in 2000. It was why I voted for him. I realized he wasn't a limited government guy in his first term which is why I didn't vote for him in 2004. Anyone who voted for him in 2004 wasn't serious about limited government.

  • ||

    I did, and I was and am. He had cut taxes, talk about an ownership society, he hadn't done the bailout yet, and he was running against John Kerry.

    In the end with the bailouts, I regret having supported him.
    Still he was 100 times better than McCain.

  • marlok||

    "I'm sorry, but I am completely uninterested in Platonic ideals. There is no Marxism but applied Marxism, and there is no conservatism but applied conservatism."

    Applying the same thing to liberalism, how are your liberal wars in the middle east going? How's your liberal bailout of big business going?
    If Bush defines conservatism, then Obama must define liberalism.

  • Some Guy||

    Since my post seemed to go right over your head, let me explain it to you in smaller words.

    The guy I responded to thinks Glenn Beck is for small government, therefore he is an idiot. By playing the odds based on that observation, I assumed he was a Republican that pretends to be libertarian, and who also liked Bush. If you were to do polling among people who like Beck and think he's libertarian, I'm sure you'd find this is pretty accurate.

    Your definition of "conservative" (a word I refuse to use for just this reason) would cover maybe 10% of people who self-identify as conservative.

  • ||

    You aren't as smart as you think you are, Some Guy. Glen Beck is for "limited government" and hammers away at that every night - but he might not be what you would consider a "correct" libertarian. All this nonsense reminds me of Baptists fighting with Methodists on who's view of Christianity is "correct", while the radical Islamic warrior is strapping on a bomb right outside their door. We have a Marxist in the White House right now, and thugs from Acorn and SEIU are using our tax dollars and the power of our government for who knows what, and Beck is shining a light on this. We who value our Constitution need to overlook our small differences and join the fight, if we want our country to survive.

  • Les||

    You cannot be for "limited government" while supporting the Patriot Act, the bank bailouts, and militarism.

    It's like eating chicken and fish while claiming to be a vegetarian.

  • ||

    Glenn does not support the Patriot Act.

  • ||

    Well, he seem to think the issue with ACORN is of greater importance than the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. act. I've never heard of Beck going after the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. act like he did ACORN.

  • EMp||

    Beck is a modern conservative for the most part who is like so many other conservatives - an endangered species up in Washington D.C. that caucuses (and correctly like many here suspect- only with his verbiage) with libertarians because we have a common political enemy - Marxism - and it would serve our country well if libertarians and conservatives could just hold their collective noses and at least unify to defeat the Marxist zeitgeist that is prevailing rampantly in our white house and on capitol hill. (Notice how I did not say it would be a good thing to hold down our lunch and try to unite with the neo-cons. I did not want to get sent to the Gulag!) ;-)

  • ||

    EMp, that was exactly my point. Thanks! You said it better than I did.

  • EMp||

    No problem, Bob B!

  • ||

    Actually, he does. Check out his debate with Bob Barr regarding this issue

    http://www.glennbeck.com/conte.....196/10360/

  • EMp||

    Awesome and incisive observations, Anna! Keep tellin' it like it is! :-)

  • ||

  • ||

    It certainly is. Wow.

  • Mike M.||

    Hoffman won't win, but it would have been REALLY interesting to see what might have happened had there been a true primary between Hoffman and Scozzafava, instead of the absolute mess that transpired in the last month with all the outside interference.

    I think there's a damn good chance Hoffman might have won under those circumstances.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Mulligan!

  • ||

    Dang. Now I want stew.

  • ||

    When you are a hyper-sensationalist blowhard everytime you open your mouth, people stop listening to you. It doesn't matter how much truth you tell. When fear is your prime commodity, your only long term customers are the ones already afraid.

  • JB||

    So you mean that Obama is going to shut his cunt-hole of a mouth?

  • ||

    To the extent that Beck advocates limited government, he does it more harm than an army of Obamas. The thing I hate most about Obama's election is that now I'm supposed to lock arms with fearmongering racists who really just want to fuck up the economy in their own way.

    When you've got two parties, you've got the Bloods and the Crips.

  • JoshInHB||

    What the fuck are you talking about.

    Please provide support for the Beck being a racist. And not some dimwit asshole saying he is.

  • ||

    I don't think Beck is a racist at all. I think he's a funny guy and a good showman. But I resent being lumped in with reactionary conservatives, and that's what happens when he becomes my spokesman. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you haven't been to a Tea Party yet.

  • ||

    Call me a retro-libertarian, but as much as I resent all this government encroachment on bullshit, I'm still not sold on the Christian-values bill of goods, either.

  • JB||

    I doubt you have been to a Tea Party.

  • ||

    I've been to several tax protests in Southern California. And I was put off by the lack of focus. Just as the Iraq War protests brought in all kinds of fringe-left moonbats who were bad for the cause, the tax protests bring in birthers, Minutemen and other paleoconservative runoff. It's about the money, jackasses.

  • EMp||

    The difference between the Iraq War mobs and the Tea Party 'mobs' is that most of the Tea Partiers, excepting a few oddballs - you would feel comfortable having your family around, while the Iraq War protest crowds had a very sizeable segment of human debris(funny how the lamestream media seemed focused on the oddball part of the tea partiers and looked very much like they went to great pains to avoid the NAMBLA side of the war protesters.)in their midst.

  • ||

    And yet, I wouldn't feel comfortable having my family around the numbnuts who thought the Iraq war was a good thing.

  • EMp||

    I think I understand your view on the Iraq War, Jacob - my point on this particular matter and I think the larger overall context on these two groups is that the political power structure is firmly in the hands of the democrats. The lamestream media overlooked what was quite prevelent in the anti-war crowds, yet they really made sure some of the most inflammatory statements by the tea-partiers and the town hall protests were given a lot of attention. San-Fran Nan went in front of the cameras and managed to turn on the crocodile tears and talk about how she has seen "what has happened in the past with such irrational, and angry crowds" - insinuating that it could turn to armed violence(IMO) - you may not feel comfortable around people who were for the war - but you did not see angry waves of pro-war crowds in the streets. I am no fan of a lot of George W. Bushes policies - but some of the invective directed toward the man personally(chimp, Bushitler, F**K BUSH,etc.) during the anti-war protests was incredibly more strident and vehement than anything we've seen with the protests against the bailouts, healthcare and soon to come cap-and-tax over the last few months.

  • ||

    It's impossible to know what Glen Beck actually thinks about anything. I do get a kick out of him and I hate him a lot less than when he was calling we Paultards terrorists. I find him both repellent and appealing as opposed to Orally whom I find merely repellent.

  • ||

    Well put, and I agree. I will never forget Beck's sliming of Paul supporters at a critical time in the run up to the primaries, but I do enjoy seeing his little show with the chalkboard cause so much trouble for The Hopester.

  • EMp||

    I think Beck went over the line as well on his criticism of Dr. Paul and his supporters. Dr. Paul I think, is too honest to be a professional politician - but I am glad he is there fighting the good fight.

    I disagree with 10% or maybe more of his stances, I think his relatively small but deeply loyal supporters sense his honesty and strongly held belief in personal freedom and his love for America.

  • EMp||

    (Hope that wasn't too schlocky/syrupy for everyone!) ;-)

  • Dylboz||

    Why is ACORN "grassroots" and Tea Partiers are "astroturf," when the former receives all kinds of state aide including direct cash payments, while the latter arose spontaneously, is quite diverse and deeply suspicious of any government or even corporate attempts to co-opt them and their message? The Tea Partiers are certainly reactionary, some of their goals are dubious, and their blind, unquestioning support of the police and military is regrettable, but they are certainly NOT a creation of the left-wing statist establishment like ACORN obviously is.

    Anyway, Glenn Beck is pretty fun to watch, if you don't take him TOO seriously. As an ex-Mormon and a bit of a dipsomaniac, it's curious to see a guy who chose the opposite path on TV.

  • ||

    "while the latter arose spontaneously..."

    Regarding the tea parties, see the group Freedomworks. There was no spontaneity.

    Interestingly enough, one could say that the Boston Tea Party was "astroturf" since it was also sponsored by a political group, The Sons of Liberty.

  • ||

    You have an extreme definition of spontaneity. Is a political demonstration only spontaneous if random people walking down the street suddenly form one? Certainly compared to the typical peace march, or union-organized protest, the tea parties were spontaneous.

  • Tony||

    Whatever the definition of spontaneity is I'm positive it doesn't contain the words Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity.

  • ||

    How about ANSWER or AFLCIO?

  • ||

    Oh Hazel, Hazel Hazel, don't you know; it's only a "real" and "spontaneous" demonstration when the leftists put on a demonstration.

    Anyone else who protests are just unwitting pawns or are paid for by the Big Corporations, Republicans, the Christians, and the ZOG lobby.

    No other ideologies will be recognized as legitimate by leftists.

    This is the sort of tolerance which obviously makes leftists such open minded, caring, and tolerant human beings, unlike the rest of us ignorant, sub-human plebes who don't know any better.

    As history has repeatedly shown, we kulaks, plebes, and proles must be guided by our betters down the primrose path to utopia, at bayonet point if necessary.

  • Me||

    Glenn Beck is a total phony.

    You'd almost admire his ability to manipulate idiots into ratings if it weren't so bad for the country.

  • GrilledCS||

    Dude, that's a photo shoot. He's POSING for photos. When people laugh on magazine covers, are you under the impression that someone just told them a joke?

  • ||

    Who sent you that link?

    I'd like to congratulate them on their ability to manipulate idiots.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Ouch. Minor Fail on the part of "Me".

  • JB||

    Whereas Obama is doing so much good for the country when he lies on a constant basis and does more damage than Al Queda could hope to.

  • ||

    Wha?

    Ever heard the phrase "a pox on both houses"?

  • ||

    It's a shame how many people think "What about Bush?" is a logical rejoinder to talking about the current administration.

  • The Man||

    I blame Bill Clinton.

  • ||

    People still hate Cheney/Bush, for good reason - I'm surprised they've gotten off this easily. But whenever you've got two choices, they both suck. We've got new problems now, and they have nothing to do with Bill Ayers or Kenya.

  • ||

    What about Clinton was used years after he was out of office by people on the right. If it's good for one team, it's good for the other.

  • MattXIV||

    Not a fan of Beck on the whole, but I'll take a willingness to speak ludicrous bullshit to power over Brooks and other self-styled "responsible" commentators sycophantic antics. People like Beck are useful to have around for those occasions when reality manages to catch up with the paranoia.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Not everyone gives Beck’s efforts positive reviews, even on the right. New York Times columnist David Brooks accused him of “race-baiting” after Beck said Obama is “racist” toward white people."

    David Brooks is "on the right"?

    Beato needs to have his polito-spectrum meter recalibrated.

    Brooks is merely someone liberals like to call conservative

  • ||

    When you compress complex multi-dimensional political thinking into one dimension, vast amounts of information are lost, and you get some weird results.

  • Mike M.||

    Brooks doesn't even call himself conservative or on the right, he clearly is a moderate.

    But Beato lives in San Francisco, so what do you expect.

  • ||

    FAYGIT!

  • ||

    Yeah, Brooks is a joke.

  • edna||

    it's times like this that i'm glad i don't own a tv set.

  • ||

    I own a television set (the picture tube, the remote, the antenna, and a nifty little box with a split in it to shove those newfangled compact discs into it) but I haven't watched a broadcast signal in ages. Probably the last time I was at a bar.

    I dumped my TV not long after 911's aftermath of radical statism cult worship. At that point, I didn't need a broadcast; I could smell the bullshit in the air.

  • IceTrey||

    Didn't like Beck on CNN. He was ok when he first came on Fox but he's gone off the rails since then. Plus I could never trust someone born a Catholic who then converted to Mormonism. That's a double dose of crazy.

  • ||

    Well I never!

    Are you saying it's crazy to fear imaginary beings?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Crazy if you believe they're imaginary.

  • HINSW||

    As compare to, say, believing in them although they are imaginary?

  • Some Guy||

    The important differences between Beck and Stewart/Colbert:
    1) Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert are aware of the fact that they are on comedy shows. I'm not so sure about Beck.
    2) More importantly, the audiences of TDS and TCR are aware of the fact that they are watching comedy shows. I'm definitely sure that the average Beck viewer does not realize this.

  • ||

    "The important differences that you perceive between Beck and Stewart/Colbert."

    Now, your lead makes sense.

  • Some Guy||

    I know half a dozen regular viewers of Beck's show. They all quote him as if his word is infallible. There tends to be a great overlap with Rush. I'd really like to not have to hear their parroted talking points all day.

    I only know one other regular viewer of The Daily Show, but they don't take Stewart's politics seriously, either (outside of his role as the pointer-out of bad media coverage.) Plus his video archivist should get a medal. It shouldn't have to fall to a comedy show to play back clips of people contradicting themselves, but someone's got to do it.

  • Some Guy||

    But as long as I'm here, this is awesomely relevant...

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/wa.....-3-project

  • EMp||

    That was hilarious, actually. Stewart is a brilliant entertainer - but like Anna said earlier, he is definitely a cheerleader for leftist ideology. Say what you want about Beck, he points out a lot inconsistencies in the people who dress themselves up in the "caring about the little guy" liberal clothing - and for that, any missteps are glaringly reported and lampooned by the usual suspects in the media, entertainment, pundit class, etc. Birds of a feather....

  • JB||

    The guy has a comedy tour.

    Some People sure are dense.

    As for the audiences of TDS and TCR, they tend to fist themselves on a constant basis so I don't give a fuck what they think.

  • ||

    Tell us more of wise and objective viewpoint you espouse.

  • ||

    I have a problem with "comedy" shows that poke only very gentle fun at the leftists, but always push a world view that anybody right of center are stupid, or liars, or cheats, or greedy, or evil. I'm just so sick of this crap.

  • ||

    Well, it's smart marketing in a way. TDS and TCR are essentially a means for their audiences to reinforce their own presumptions of superiority.

  • marlok||

    I've watched TDS maybe twice all the way through and smiled at a few things, but nothing's really that funny. Jon Stewart always struck as a more self-righteous version of David Spade.
    Colbert is hilarious (see Strangers with Candy), but spread too thin on his daily show.

  • ||

    If I want political comedy I watch Red Eye. I wish that was on a little earlier - Fox should not be hiding this show.

  • GrilledCS||

    "...attacking hordes of progressive pod people armed to the teeth with stimulus dollars." Good line.

    It's worth noting that people are preoccupied with Beck of late, first and foremost, because he's genuinely popular. His style is actually more Howard Beale than Edward R. Morrow, but if the content of what you're saying isn't in dispute, then does it really matter if you're jumping up and down and banging a cymbal or not? Is Beck really more bombastic than Keith Olberman or Michael Savage or Jim Cramer or Howard Stern? No.

    The issue with Glenn Beck is simply this: he resonates with a lot of people, and he scares the shit out of the Left. So, the media has been quite busy trying to paint him as a "crazy man" and now I'm reading, I think, Reason's fourth article on Beck in a few weeks.

    Since when does everyone have such a low "crazy" threshold? At his worst, Beck comes off more as an intense dork or a sap than anything else.

  • ||

    Yeah that was my favorite line too.

    And no I don't think Beck is this histrionic freak people describe him to be. At least not on the few radio shows of his that I've heard. And I never see the guy, just the occasional bit from youtube someone emails me or some still at the top of an article.

    Jim Cramer is a way more bombastic charlatan, and a lot more harmful to America than Beck.

  • JB||

    He's over the top at times, but it's the truth that's bothering people.

    They want Beck and others to shut up so the Great Obami can keep lying while he bends over America.

    The US unemployment rate now tops Europe. Thanks Obama, you socialist fuck.

  • Peter Buxton||

    The "FEMA death camps" angle is not right. The only times he mentioned them he said he had nothing on it. When he finally did do a longer piece, he showed it was only a MT prison with no prisoners. (Shades of future health care.) Some of the rest of this article is quite good, but misrepresenting Beck on the "death camps" is wrong.

  • ||

    Comedy porn: Stewart on Beck
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/wa.....-3-project

  • ||

    Another story about Beck, another 50 comments about FEMA death camps. I'm surprised that nobody has brought up his "reasonable"-air-quotes incident from his HLN days. What's next, make the connection with his alcoholism and his conversion Mormonism (with "magic underwear" jokes!).

    He may just be a Bible-thumping conservative that has some (few) libertarian leanings, but he's right on this: there are a ton of radical lefties in the White House and that creeps me out. That said, a bunch of Becks, Hannitys, and Limbaghs in the White House would creep me the f*** out as well.

  • JJ||

    If you dont like it, dont watch it. It all comes down to choice. Not every Beck viewer is a sheep quaking in fear at the next major revelation. He is definitely entertaining and sometimes informative, but you have to get your information from a lot of sources.

    And why attack the man for his religion? As a non religious person, I dont find it any helpful to call Christians or others "crazy". They believe what they want, and it is for their own "spiritual health" that they do it.

    Also, the story on the Commie art at 30 Rock was a short segment he did to point out symbols that can be found in NYC. It was not a call to action to investigate any group, nor was it supposed to be an ongoing item, it was a one off. It was an interesting segment on history.

    I do agree he should not be the poster boy for Libertarianism. I dont think he wants that either, nor to be the poster boy for the Republicans. Can we get Teller?

  • IceTrey||

    God incarnated on this planet by impregnating a virgin. When he grew up he was tortured to death to wash away our sins in his blood. After he came back from the dead he transported himself to ancient America where he ministered to the Natives. This is known because an angel told some guy where to dig up a gold book that he read withe help of magic glasses and rocks. Sure that's not crazy at all.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    For no apparent reason, a universe appeared out of nowhere. Life began. Slowly, small organisms became animals which turned into other animals, and by pure chance, billions upon billions of extremely diverse, complex organisms attained life on a small planet, but apparently nowhere else in the entire universe. Inexplicably, one particular animal, though physically inferior to many, many other creatures, and completely unsuited physically for life on that planet, became the dominant species, and evolved enough to become the most intelligent animal, possessing an intellect and self-awareness that no other creature out of the billions alive is even close to attaining.
    Sure that's not crazy at all.

  • ||

    well physically feeble, might be more of a reason to be mentally stronger right? I mean if there ever was a reason to make a spear it would be because you can't do it barehanded.

    And define "close to attaining"? because given the spectrum that we have, chimps and parrots are pretty close.

  • EMp||

    Nice counter, Slut Bunwalla.

  • ||

    I've been asked to comment in English.

    Here goes:

    ***************************

    What JJ said.

    Heh.

  • hmm||

    With every new technological breakthrough, it gets easier and easier to push unregulated information into the national discourse, potentially exposing millions to misinformation masquerading as news.

    That asinine comment reminded me of this asinine comment.

    "The time is coming when no one will be ready to submit himself to the ennobling discipline of learning music. Everyone will have their ready made or ready pirated music in their cupboards."

    Interesting way to use ass backwards logic and broad assumptions to generate a fear of "unregulated information" sneaking stealthily into the national discourse like a ninja after me lucky charms. The irony of you doing the same thing you decry in damn near the same breath is great. You are providing an excellent example of a 21st century media luddite. Screaming, "This new fangled shit is dangerous and will run unchecked destroying us all. AAAAARRRRRGGHHHH." At least that statement would have been more honest, and probably more entertaining as an article.

    I'm a little curious who you think is to do the information regulating. I can't figure out if the use of the phrase "unregulated information" is an insight or an attempt at an artful troll.

  • hmm||

    addendum,

    I don't give a fuck about Beckenstien. That article was pure shistering from the word go. The article could have been written about Madcow or Olberdoodle and I would have called bullshit on the manner in which it was approached. The general conclusion is bunk. The fact the assumptions, logic, and premises used to get to the conclusion are just added peanuts in the turd.

  • hmm||

    hmm last sentence, no sense it make, crack pipe, put down I should

  • ||

    And what is "shistering"?

  • ||

    I suspect that was meant to read "shyster".

  • hmm||

    OMG TYPO. stand back, we can't be sure what it will do.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    It could easily confuse and stultify...

  • hmm||

    Hence my warning.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Sorry, I was still dizzy from the typo.

  • ||

    I think of shysters as unscrupulous lawyers, not people who write articles I may or may not agree with... so I thought it might be something else....

  • ||

    It's a colorful metaphor, if only I understood what you meant by it.

  • gaijin||

    Somehow I had read the part about unregulated information being dispersed as sarcasm.

  • hmm||

    I tried to read it as sarcasm. If it is (which is the reason the troll comment in mentioned) that's fine. I just can't see one line being sarcasm when the majority of the article seems to be serious.

  • Greg Beato||

    Not to worry, Hmm. I have no desire to trample on your freedom to swear on message boards!

    Simply observing that new technologies make it easier to publish unregulated information -- that is, information that isn't vetted by editors, fact-checkers, and the various other mechanisms of traditional gate-keepers -- doesn't automatically equate to advocating regulation, either informally (i.e., with institutions like newspapers) or formally (i.e., with actual laws that limit/control who can and cannot disseminate information to the public).

    In fact, I'm pretty much arguing the opposite in my column. While media paternalists may worry that free speech has gotten a little too free in the Internet age, what Beck shows is that even loose cannons can't just fire at will and score a hit every time -- the audience itself does the regulating.

  • hmm||

    If the point was to address unregulated information why not include the larger debacles in media and not just one personality? Instead you use a guy that is a clear showman, that while wrong or not completely correct some of the time has managed to embarrass an administration and the media as a whole for their action or inaction. If the goal is to prove that unregulated misinformation is vetted by the people why not look at the absurd contextual manipulation by the other bobble heads on TV or the asinine comments made in national news papers. Or is the problem that this nut ball, Beck, has actually accomplished something other media has been failing to do as of late. He's gotten reactions out of an administration, (along with Fox) put egg on the face of media for not following stories, and managed an off prime time rating boon not seen since Oprah. Maybe that's why you picked him, maybe you see him as a threat to the white tower of media. I don't know because you spent 90% of the article bashing him, then the last paragraph bashing him and tying to tie in the public's ability to filter its own information. The approach seems awfully disingenuous, or maybe I'm just to stupid to get the nuanced style.

    Someone sent me the FEMA camp episodes, after watching them I have to ask if you even watched his segments relating to it. I did, it looked like he spent as much time saying there could be nothing, and eventually that there was nothing as he did saying he doesn't know. I'm wondering if you regulated or fact checked your own information, because after watching the segments and reading your article the schism between what was aired and your article would be obvious to my dog.

    If you're going to bash the man get on up and get to the bashing. Hell many here would probably agree with a lot of your points. Arguing you are trying to make some other grand convoluted point about media fact checking instead of bashing him has pretty much been seen right through by most everyone here. While the two aren't mutually exclusive the route taken by you is clearly towards the bashing Beck with some pink and purple "OMG fact check" sprinkles on top.

  • Vogateer||

    Honestly, your exaggeration makes it difficult to understand what it is you're talking about, and even when I do understand what you're saying, it comes across as willfully misunderstanding the article.

    As far as I can tell, you're trying to claim that this article was merely a hostile attempt to bash Beck and support traditional media, and it's readily apparent that this is not the case.

    If the point was to address unregulated information why not include the larger debacles in media and not just one personality?

    So Greg isn't allowed to present a case study showing how a prominent, melodratic, non-traditional media figure hasn't really managed to successfully spread mass misinformation to the general population?

    This is an article, not a book. You don't expect an article to cover a subject this big in great depth, you expect it to focus in on a far more specific topic and give you some new information and maybe some new insight.

    Some of the people who hate Beck think he's able to create mass misinformation at will, and that most people will just buy everything he says without a critical thought. This is highly debatable (as Greg pointed out), but they act like this is the case, claiming that in the future eventually the whole population is going to be duped by people like him because the traditional media won't be there to stop it from happening. The ability of anyone to start a website and put things up on a blog is somehow a bad thing because the world needs traditional media services to filter information for the masses, but as Greg Beato points out, this doesn't fit the facts when you look at which of Beck's stories have had an impact, because the only stories that have had any real traction are the ones that had the facts to support them, suggesting that people aren't so easily duped by weakly supported news stories, and don't need gatekeepers telling them what stories are worth reading.

  • hmm||

    So Greg isn't allowed to present a case study showing how a prominent, melodratic, non-traditional media figure hasn't really managed to successfully spread mass misinformation to the general population?

    He can do whatever he wants.

    He spent 90% of an article bashing someone to prove the point that maybe people aren't stupid. I think it was a flimsy reason to bash someone. I took it as it was written and call it like you see it, I did. It was a hack job.

    I guess maybe I hate a guy I don't know and I'm willfully misreading something he wrote. Like you suggest. Or not.

  • hmm||

    He showed his hand a little farther down with the statements about the FEMA camps. Or am I misreading those as well?

  • Lee Doren||

    If two libertarians agree with each other, they both agree that the other has sold out.

  • Franco||

    Pretty bad article. I think H&R likes to troll its own readers sometimes. The Reason crew seem to really think he's the new Alex Jones instead of just a populist goof.

    I like Beck, but I do realize he's doing a carny act which is part of the appeal. Still, he always goofed on the FEMA camp theory. And I'm not sure the Rockefeller Center art segment was meant as anything other than randomly slamming John Rockefeller for being a progressive. It was odd, but Beck does randomly go after historic figures for no real reason.

  • ||

    If there is one thing traditional media does not do, it is trash historic figures enough. I mean besides Hitler.

    JFK, FDR, W.Wilson, Stalin, Mao, et all are all worshipped a little too uncritically by the traditional media.

    It would be nice to hear them trashed (rightfully) a little more so.

  • ||

    The ADD, perhaps?

  • ||

    Where is the FEMA nonsense coming from?

  • ||

    Ah, Glenn Beck.

    The hater of United Nations bureaucrats and lover of the United States Constitution.

    Until a web site is critical of him, of course.

    Then it's OK to ignore the United States Constitution, the US Courts, and move straight ahead to the United Nation Agency WIPO to try and shut down free speech.

    The saddest thing about Glenn Beck's mom's suicide was that she didn't kill the abomination that came forth betwixt her loins first.

  • ||

    What are you talking about?

  • Silentz||

    Actually the sad part is that your dad's contribution to your existence didn't end up in one of his socks.

  • ||

    Hahahahahahaha. Nice comment. I guess Dave K. isn't going to answer my question. I thought it was pretty funny, because the left of center media (which is about 90% of the media) never misses a chance to slam Beck. One of his books has the back page covered with anti-Beck comments from the likes of Jon Steward, Al Frankin, Robert Kennedy Jr, and others. And this idiot Dave K. is telling us that Beck goes after his critics, and this is a big problem. What a load of crap.

  • ||

    Ahh, I'm guessing Dave K. is a compassionate liberal.

  • Jim||

    I love all of these hacks like Greg Beato name-dropping Glenn Beck to bring in some readers. Where did people learn there were no FEMA camps? Watching Glenn Beck debunk the conspiracy on his show! Anyone who has followed GB has watched him slowly moving from being conservative towards being a libertarian. His enlightenment being played out in public mirrors many of us who were let down by our politicians and our own flawed ideology.
    Bottom line, we should be supporting GB as he moves away from conservatism rather than baselessly ripping him apart so that we can stay on the 'cool' side of the tracks. Perhaps that is harder to do in San Fran.

  • Jim Treacher||

    He couldn’t sell FEMA death camps because the facts weren’t there to back the story up.

    Also because he wasn't trying to sell them. He was trying to debunk them. He did that.

  • Greg Beato||

    So, Beck was trying to debunk the story when he said "I said to my producer -- can we just debunk this or prove it to be accurate?"

    He was trying to debunk the story when he went on Fox & Friends to hype his upcoming show and he said "I wanted to debunk them. Well, we've now for several days done research on them. I can't debunk them. And we're going to carry the story tonight....If you trust our government, it's fine. If you have any kind of fear that we might be headed towards a totalitarian state, look out, buckle up"?

    He was trying to debunk the story when on his own show later that night, he said, "If these things exist, that's bad, and we will cover it"?

    It sounds to me like he was trying to milk the possibility that there might be some truth to the story for as long as he could.

    Re: my statement that he "couldn't sell" the story -- by his own characterization he was looking to prove the story accurate as much as he was looking to debunk it. But since he couldn't find any evidence to support the story, he couldn't sell it.

  • ||

    You ACTUALLY used Frum and Brooks as CONSERVATIVE opinions.... On a LIBERTARIAN website?

  • hmm||

    He's a TV personality. He's going to play silly shit up to get people to watch. If there is even a modicum of a chance of FEMA camps existing people are going to watch. He knows this, he plays to this, he gets ratings, sells commercial slots, makes money.

    I for one am shocked and surprised that he used a teaser style of reporting to get ratings. Shocked!!!

    Are those my winnings?

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Yeah, he couldn't debunk them. You know why? Because there's not one shred of truth to the story--therefore there's no definitive evidence that they do or do not exist. You're essentially saying that Beck's inability to prove a negative equates to trying to sell the story as true. Disingenuous at best.

  • Jim Treacher||

    He debunked them.

  • ||

    I like Beck. I actually LISTEN to what he says, and then I go dig up the info to try and verify or deny. So far this year he's been batting 1000%.

    Oh and Beato, cut with the misinformative FEMA stuff, huh? He DEBUNKED that story. Of course if you had been watching, you might have known that rather than repeat the drivel the left keeps spewing to try and marginalize the man.

    Oh, and I'm an ojbectivist, and don't always agree with the guy...but on the stuff he's been doing lately regarding this insane administration...its lockstep baby.

  • qball||

    "He couldn’t sell FEMA death camps because the facts weren’t there to back the story up."

    If you watched that episode and did some fact-checking of your own you would have seen that Beck was not trying to "sell" the fact that there were camps, but to discredit it.

  • ||

    Very good article on a first-rate artist. Not always right, but context counts ...

    "... Beck said Obama is 'racist' toward white people ..."


    ... was in the context of Obama's knee-jerk insult to a white policeman in an encounter with a black "house breaker". Beck was right: that does show a deep-seated bias. Obama was wrong and he apologized. Beck didn't puff up over Obama's admission of error, nor did he extrapolate that error to claim it was Obama's basic temperament.

    BTW: When he was on CNBC, he described himself as a libertarian and has many prominent lib guests on his show. He's not "perfect" ideologically, but I absolutely love his style and chutzpah!!

  • ||

    I'm pretty sure he's racist toward white people. Didn't he say that in one of his books?

    How could he not be after 20 years in the Church of Anti-Middleclassness?

  • JB||

    Argh. Already a JB here so please use new handle :)

  • JB||

    Oh, you are 'JB' with an email address.

    Still, will be confusing.

  • G Mc||

    I don't care for Glenn Beck.

  • ||

    He is forever advising them to consider stories not as transient, random, isolated phenomena, as most newscasts do, but as parts of a larger, ongoing narrative...

    Uhh. The media doesn't have narratives? The media doesn't FORCE a consideration of stories as parts of a larger, ongoing narrative?

    Are we talking about the same media?

  • ||

    I mean damn, the media didn't have a narrative about oh, say, the Iraq War? Or that TANG bullshit? The media doesn't have a continuing narrative about smart, caring liberals and eeevil, troglodytic conservatives?

    The media doesn't have a global warming narrative?

    Seriously.

  • ||

    This article sucks. Much as most people who have never really watched Beck do, this sad excuse for an article attacks Beck and not his words. Using Brooks and Frum as Conservative opinions on Beck is pathetic.
    "The FEMA thing didn't pan out" reveals that this author has no idea of Becks history and how he actually debunked the FEMA idea. Beck NEVER espoused the idea. Beck was right about the financial collapse, Beck called many of the moves that the left has been making. He is also on top of the devaluation of the Dollar.
    "it sometimes seems as if we’re moving toward a future where there’s “no serious fact checking” and “no serious attempts to put stories in context.” is probably the most hilarious comment. Beck provides facts, he backs them up with videos or quotes.These are seriously fact checked, which is why no one can argue with him, or why that little red-phone never rings. This article clearly has done no fact-checking at all and was probably written by some sort of Obama cheerleader.

  • Silentz||

    Don't fret CT, if you can't debate the message, you have to go after the messenger. Beck uses sarcasm and hyperbole enough in his pieces that it's easy to find quotes that make him look like a lunatic if you don't watch/listen it in context. If you really want to watch him, you actually have to understand that. Most don't.

    Beck may be melodramatic but what he's getting at is mostly spot on. We're being run down the road to destruction by the ruling class. And there wereen't enough people doing anything about it.

    I'd even go as far as to say if it weren't for Beck, there wouldn't have been nearly the level of backlash on these issues being rammed through Congress right now. Say what you will, but the 9/12 project has gotten millions actively involved in the political process for the first time in their lives.

  • me||

    You're an idiot.

  • ||

    I can only assume you're referring to yourself here.....

  • Just Saying...||

    In Dreher’s question we have what is perhaps the most concise history yet of media in the Internet era. With every new technological breakthrough, it gets easier and easier to push unregulated information into the national discourse, potentially exposing millions to misinformation masquerading as news.

    Yes because without traditional news mediums like the New York Times, there is no way of preventing governments from getting us involved in unnecessary wars. Thank god for the established media and their firewall that prevents misinformation from invading the national discourse.

    Of course if misinformation from established sources ever invades the national discourse, I am sure they will promptly [after the war has begun] correct their errors [in fine print in section Z 95].

  • jcrue||

    seems to me the closer to the target the more flack as they say....

  • ||

    Not a fan of Beck, but from my perspective this piece isn't worthy of Reason. There is a reason Beck resonates with so many, and this article fully missed that point. Something stinks in Denmark.

  • Sun Stealer||

    That would be the festering corpse of Reason's credibility.

  • StewartIII||

    "A [Reason article] on Glenn Beck can't seem to make up its mind whether it is an objective analysis or a slyly worded hit piece. The latter characterization is thanks to another go-round with an old claim:"

    reason.com/archives/2009/11/12/glenn-becks-experimental-melod
    -
    'A week later, he started investigating the rumor that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was building concentration camps around the country. When that didn’t pan out, he set about exposing the secret communist artwork adorning Rockefeller Plaza...He couldn’t sell FEMA death camps because the facts weren’t there to back the story up.'
    -
    "Meanwhile [another blog lies] that Beck spent "an entire week" of his show discussing the "possibility" of FEMA camps. How many times do we have to explain this? Glenn Beck has done not one, not two, but three segments--not about the "possibility" of FEMA concentration camps, but debunking them as a crazy internet conspiracy theory. You can see all three [here]. Will this ever die?"

    graneyandthepig.wordpress.com/2009/10/30/glenn-beck-now-brought-to-you-by-cnn-and-fema/

    www.olbermannwatch.com/archive....._celeb.php
    ***
    J$P: Fox Haters Week in Review
    homepage.mac.com/mkoldys/blog/wll280017091.html

  • Galtian||

    No it won't die. Why did he do not one, not two, but three segments debunking this "crazy" internet conspiracy theory? There are a billion crazy internet conspiracy theories, and giving one a week's worth of attention on national TV is a much bigger story than the actual tone of the coverage itself. This is the point of the whole, "Glen Beck didn't rape and kill a girl in 1980" phenomenon. It's the power of suggestion. No one needed that internet rumor debunked, but giving it coverage made it more powerful than it was. Beck is a brilliant entertainer, and he knew this would get attention. Whether he was "investigating the possibility" or "debunking the possibility" is not the most significant point.

  • ||

    Dear Greg,

    Beck did not try to push the detention camps story. He was addressing an Internet rumor and debunked it. This administration has much to hide. You, along with the rest of "your kind" (journalists) have committed malfeasance on the American people by not digging just a teeny bit and bringing the facts to us. Glenn Beck may be goofy and his presentation may be a bit over the top but he asks questions that have not been asked by "your kind" and he researches into the backgrounds of this president and those who he chooses to surround himself with. For this, I thank him. BTW, San Francisco is a stifling place and it appears you surround yourself with too many like minded "sophisticates." You need to get out more.

  • ||

    Not to Emily Latilla this too much but your choosing to quote Brooks as a credible critic was not a wise one given his adolescent "tingling down the leg" comment about Obama's trouser crease. Good grief.

  • ||

    Cheap article. I expect better from Reason, and Reason should expect better from itself too. Fact check much? Any at all? Maybe sometimes after a smoked lunch and before happy hour?

  • ||

    Same old stuff we see day after day from Beck critics: Ridicule and satire in place of facts. Out of all the info that Beck has put out over the last months THIS is all the criticism you can muster?? Give me FACTS! Give me specific lies or false statements Beck has made in serious discussion. I don't see any here. And every critic of Beck does the same thing.

  • Beck fan||

    Was this article really anti-Beck, or do most of you not no how to turn off your idiotic "Everyone is against us!" machine. Glen Beck the TV host is a character, like Larry the Cable Guy or Marilyn Manson. That isn't really him, and when you believe that HE believes the media is out to DESTROY him, you sound like idiots. This article was fair and said some nice things and some critical things. Fine. As a fan of Beck as entertainment, I have no problem with that. And please stop bringing up his ratings to prove his legitimacy. CSI might be the #1 show on TV, but that doesn't make it good.

  • ||

    Glenn Beck is just another soap opera. Some people think soap operas depict real life; some people think Glenn Beck. Stay tune for another episode today.

  • hamiltore||

    I love the libertarian Philosophy and like people who share my beliefs but i dont like Glenn Beck. He is such a whiner. If i wanted to watch emotional outrage id watch my super sweet sixteen.

  • Sun Stealer||

    This pathetic article can be explained by three factors:
    1) the mad compulsion for libertarians to devour each other alive
    2) how some libertarians want to keep the movement their own little club and they resent Beck for bringing all the uncool kids into the tree fort.
    3) I suspect a little bit of jealousy at how Glenn Beck has been so successful while they have not.
    4) another sad, sad attempt by the nuanced and sophisticated folks at Reason to get the liberals to love them and invite them to play their reindeer games and coctail parties by selling out all their principles and shilling for the collectivist line. This of course has been the cancer that has been killing Reason for the past several years.
    5) Glenn Beck is clearly ideologically impure because he is trying to spread our message. All TRUE LIBERTARIANS(tm) may only promote several notions:
    -Fuck it all, just give us POT
    -defending the Confederacy
    -destructive factional infighting AKA YOU ARE NOT A TRUE LIBERTARIAN
    -crazy island nation schemes. ie: "I give up. Let's find an island and start our own libertarian society."
    -inane libertopia discussions
    -doom and gloom with no actual solutions. remember any constructive thoughts and actions are verboten.

  • hamiltore||

    You're a dumb ass. Why the hell are you reading reason magazine anyway? I hate to sound corny but, if you dont have anything minutely intelligent to say F*** off.

  • Conservative Libertine||

    All of those ideas are prefereable to "shut up, sit down and hand over all of your money"

    We have to do something now anything now does not necessarily constitute a 'constructive'. On the contrary, all of Obama's actions so far seem to destructive.

  • ||

    I don't care what your politics are, guys like Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann are repulsive. Clowns like Beck are the reason millions of people don't look at issues with cold reason and instead look at issues with phony paranoia. Beck's nothing more than a two-bit carnival barker.

  • jbone||

    This is what I don't get...

    It's perfectly reasonable to disagree with the president's tax policies. But to make taxes out to seem as "threatening" as war or blatant discrimination, is nonsense to me.

    1. The taxation is WITH representation this time.
    2. I hear people screaming "Russia!" and "Cuba!" I've heard Hitler comparisons. Those countries and leaders KILLED INNOCENT CIVILIANS. There's a difference between that and raising taxes to pay for healthcare. I also think killing innocent civilians is a bit worse than requiring background checks for firearms.
    3. If you're worried about our country being "taken away," you should read up on the past 200 years that we've spent worrying about that exact same thing. We're not a country of pussies. We can deal.
    4. If you're worried about our country being "taken away," shouldn't you worry about more important things, like preventing the Catholic Church from getting involved in the healthcare bill, and protesting misinformation on cable news and partisan talk radio (both left and right)? Even if we get out of this mess, which we will, there will still be environmental problems and childhood obesity, school violence, etc. Gun control and income taxes are the least of your worries.
    5. During Bush's administration, you guys sat back while we had two wars, increasing oil prices, increasing deficit, laws outlawing stem cell research (for religious reasons), pissed off foreign countries and leaders, inaction after Hurricane Katrina, a series of terror plots against Americans and our troops, violations of the Geneva Conventions, increased carbon emissions, increased partisanship, decreases in education, etc.

    Inflation is definitely a problem, but it seems that economic problems are the ONLY problems you guys are aware of. Half the time, people don't even believe global warming EXISTS, or that waterboarding is torture. There is A LOT more to worry about than ONLY the economy.

    Furthermore, much of the current "failed policies" you speak of haven't even materialized yet. Sorry for not treating you guys like psychics, but you've been saying since day one of Obama's term that he would increase the deficit and "take away" our country. Seems like speculation to me. And yes, less than one year in office IS still too soon for everything to just get better. Reality doesn't work that way. Even the American public, in polls, predicted the recovery would take at least a year and a half.

    So since I'm only seeing such desperate reactions AFTER these past 8 years of utter disregard in our government, I'd like you guys to admit that you're just pissed because a liberal democrat won. It happens with every single election. Everyone predicts a doomsday scenario, and yet they forget we have term limits and midterm elections if you don't like the way things are going.

    But ask yourself in all seriousness:

    Were you better or worse off four years ago?
    Would things really have been better if McCain/Palin, or Ron Paul won?

  • Hakebono||

    Glenn Beck a showman
    Not to be switched with shaman
    TV remote smokes

  • abercrombie milano||

    My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I'm sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane.

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  • رش مبيدات||

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - The scandal-hit liberal grass-roots group ACORN sued the U.S. government on Thursday, saying it did not have the right to cut off ACORN's federal funding because the group had not been convicted of a crime.

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    "It's not the job of Congress to be the judge, jury, and executioner," said Jules Lobel, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, which brought the case in Brooklyn federal court.

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