Friday, February 4, 2011

Commentators and guests discuss Glenn Beck's "lunacy"

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Glenn Beck's reaction and fear-mongering over the crisis in the Middle East has gotten the attention of others in the media. Following is a discussion among Lawrence O'Donnell on his show, The Last Word from MSNBC,  David Brock from the liberal Media Matters for America and David Corn, Washington bureau chief for the liberal Mother Jones Magazine. After that will be another discussion about Beck from Chris Matthews with his guests Eric Boehlert also from Media Matters and  Eugene Robinson from the Washington Post. This will be followed by Matthews' commentary from the end of his February 3rd Hardball show, and some observations will follow based upon an understanding of Beck's history as a commentator.

This kind of "loony" talk from Beck is nothing new. Beck understands that his controversial claims and assertions gets him talked about. Even Matthews recommends to his audience to watch Beck on occasion, so it works well for Beck to widen his audience. That is what Beck is about. Beck's motivations, according to Beck's biographer, Alex Zaitchik, "are, and have always been, money and fame. If Beck has a true religion, it’s not Patriotism. It’s not Mormonism. It’s cross-platform self-marketing."

It doesn't matter that Beck has no background in this subject matter. After 9-11, according to his biographer, Alex Zaitchik, "Beck returned to the themes of total destruction and mindless revenge. He agreed with one caller that 'our response, when we find out who harbored [the terrorists], should honestly make desert storm look like a picnic.' "

"We should absolutely release everything that we have," Beck said. "Let them see the fury of the United States when it is fully unleashed. You think we have enemies now? Wait until we take out Libya, Afghanistan, Palestine."(1)

Of course, this is idiotic nonsense. What would one expect from a "completely irresponsible" yellow propagandist? Of course Beck doesn't know what he's talking about. That is how charlatans function. Beck's lack of post-secondary education and ignorance on a wide range of subjects doesn't stop him from addressing complex subjects without even so much as bringing in an expert to consult on this crisis. Why have expertise involved when his viewers have become accustomed to nonsense is "beyond reason?"

Smart people know their limits. Smart people know not to scrub up for brain surgery when they have had no training and relevant education in medicine. That quality seems to have passed Beck by at some point in his ambition to become famous. He does not need intelligence, accurate information or sane ideas when all Beck is doing is putting on a show?

The question that begs to be asked is why millions of his followers are so tuned out of his obvious misunderstanding of Middle East realities and his character flaws. That is more mysterious than Beck himself.

Before more people start tuning into Beck's
 stupid fear-mongering, 
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1) Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance, Alexander Zaitchik, John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ, 2010, pp. 74-5