Thursday, April 7, 2011

Goodbye, Glenn Beck

By Alan Caruba

Back in August 2010, just after Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” evangelical extravaganza in front of the Lincoln Memorial, I wrote a commentary titled, “The Great Glenn Beck-a-Palooza.” Summing up the event, I said, “I think it was about Glenn Beck. And that’s a shame.”

Among the Fox News Channel’s anchors, even Bill O’Reilly tries to keep the show about the issues of the day, as does Mike Huckabee and others, but The Glenn Beck Show was always about Glenn Beck no matter what its topic-de-jour might be. It was about his emoting, a thoroughly insincere humility, and, just beneath the surface, his apocalyptic vision of the future.

I am not arguing that Beck didn’t do a good job connecting the dots and, in particular, exposing the communists in the Obama administration, the George Soros connections to the President, the perfidy of the “community organizers” calling themselves Acorn, or any of the other links regarding a White House that threatens the nation’s future.

I got a lot of flack after I wrote, “I cannot muster the same confidence I do when others address the same topics. Veering back and forth between outrage and tears, I find him creepy.”

I wasn’t surprised on Wednesday, April 6th, when he announced he would be leaving, moving on to new ventures after a scant two years. Television industry insiders noted that Beck was unable to attract or retain the advertising necessary to sustain the show on air. That, I suggest, is “the invisible hand” of the marketplace at work. What advertiser would want his product tied to such an essentially silly person?

Beck was relentlessly silly in his manner of presentation, not in the content of what he was presenting. I recall thinking that he regarded his viewers as a room full of pre-school kids that needed to be constantly stimulated with various gimmicks to keep their attention.

I never felt that a full-grown adult was on screen, but rather that I was watching a bi-polar manic depressive swinging wildly between moments of hyper-glee and hyper-fear. Watching him was always slightly exhausting and sanity did not return until Bret Baier came on with the Special Report at 6 PM Eastern.

“I took the job two years ago,” said Beck, “because I thought I had something important to share. I really thought if I could prove my case that something wicked this way was coming, something in America was wrong, America would listen. And they have.”

Beck said, “I believe we’re heading into deep and treacherous waters,” but America exists and always has existed in a dangerous world.

We stood strong through nearly fifty years of a Cold War that followed the cataclysm of World War II. We have weathered more than two decades of the greatest hoax ever perpetrated, “global warming.” And we are now trying to cope with the fanaticism of an Islamic revolution sweeping across the Middle East and threatening the entire world.

Sensing the threat that Barack Obama poses to the nation, voters cleaned house in the House of Representatives, reduced the number of Democrats in the Senate, and now wait to complete the job in 2012. No riots in the streets, just the steady application of the electoral process to correct an error.

Beck will do some “specials” with Fox News Channel and pursue other avenues to express his apprehensions, but soon he will not have an hour’s time every weekday to ricochet between giggles and tears to do it.

© Alan Caruba, 2011


Ronbo said...

The key to understanding Glenn Beck is his former addiction to alcohol.

As one who worked for five years as a counselor in a Christian rehab, I personally observed that many former addicts turn to other forms of addiction.

For example, one of my clients was a crack addict who beat the demon and was still clean and sober after two years.

Problem? The guy went from less than 200 pounds to over 400 pounds! He had become a food addict in order to replace the drug addiction. The man was out of the frying pan into the fire with numerous life threatening problems related to his food addiction.

In Glenn Beck's case he has replaced his alcoholism with addiction to religion by attempting to become a latter day Mormon prophet warning of doom and gloom daily on his television program.

TexasFred said...

I have to say, I am NOT a fan of Stephen Colbert but when he described Beck’s program and delivery as ”crank up the crazy and rip off the knob“, Colbert hit that one out of the park!

Personally, I think Beck started to believe the reviews concerning his greatness and presentation, I think it went to his head and knocked him completely off of his game.

A religious fanatic, ANY religious fanatic, is a dangerous person... Beck has made some good points, but he IS a dangerous person...

Dave's Daily Day Dream said...

For some reason, the lack of support for Mr. Beck reminds me of the similar lack of support in terms of $$, for liberal radio.

The people of these United States still have good heads on their shoulders when the fog of TV/Movies/Rap/Bud gets blown away.

They know liars in the case of radio and they recognized heresies in the case of Mr. Beck. Glenn Beck's analyses are more often correct than not, but his basis for a solution is incorrect.

Alan Caruba said...

@Fred: I finally figured out why I like you. It's because we think alike so much it is scary! :-)

@Dave: Like you, I have faith in the common sense of most Americans.

@Ronbo: Your insights are a valuable contribution.

TexasFred said...

My brother from a different mother Alan...

My *older* and hopefully wiser brother.. LOL

graced said...

My reaction to Glenn Beck was similar to yours. I just couldn't watch the guy... So hyper-emotional, so paranoid, so giddy. I felt a bit guilty for my critical attitude until I read your piece. Thanks for the vindication!

Capt.Craig said...

Alan, you are disingenuous at best jealous at worst! Glenn is performing due diligence that the media and others including yourself have failed to perform. he is not nearly as full of himself as you are in your analysis. Glenn has no shortage of sponsors, lets see your proof of, "Insiders noted that Beck was unable to attract or retain the advertising necessary to sustain the show on air."
Glenn speaks to the masses not to the know it all elite which you have shown yourself to be, not that that is a bad thing in and of itself, I still think you have a valid place in the milieu just that now you have tarnished yourself with a petty put down of Glenn who has a following that you could only dream of.

lubindave said...

I prefer Beck on the radio. I've got to hand it to the guy. He was the only major talk show host who wasn't an apologist for George W Bush like Rush was. He was never tied to one party or the other and told it like it was. This requires lots of chutzpah. Also he didn't mix words about the Bush economy when others were blinded by loyalties.

Alan Caruba said...

When one considers all the serious threats and problems in the nation, I found it astonishing that my opinion of Beck generated so many comments over at Canada Free Press and many emails to me. I think we have to remain skeptical and not fall in love with these TV folk, no matter who they are.

J Johnston said...

I seldom disagreed with Beck -- what little I watched him. It was the silliness I could not bring myself to tolerate. A point can often be driven home with sarcasm but a point can seldom be made with silliness.

whitneymuse said...

I tried watching his show; it just didn't make sense, and then, when he ate and Ice cream cone on camera, I said, "this guy is phoning it in and I'm not going to try anymore."
So, I was not a Beck admirer ever.

whitneymuse said...

J Johnston said...
It was Beck's silliness; and, he said it well, too.
Please read Johnston's post and it's probably why the WOR radio audience in NY didn't take to Beck there, also.