Monday, February 7, 2011

Is Beck really "on thin ice" at Fox?

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Glenn Beck's strange ramblings and wild accusations about the coming Caliphate ruling across the Middle East and southern Europe, along with his idea that radical leftists are in cahoots with reactionary Muslims, has drawn criticism from neo-conservative William Kristol. On Hardball this afternoon, Chris Matthews discussed this with guests David Corn of Mother Jones Magazine and David Brock of the liberal media watchdogs, Media Matters for America. Listen to their discussion:

Beck likes to pontificate about "conservative principles" but he is neither principled nor conservative. Glenn Beck is a reactionary, not a conservative. Beck rarely articulates a principle that he doesn't later turn about and say something that undermines his supposed principle. This isn't rare, Beck is routinely a hypocrite

The question that cannot be answered is just how thin the ice under Glenn Beck is at Fox. The reckless, irresponsible yellow propaganda is not new for Beck. It is about time that responsible, adult conservatives like William Kristol, Rick Lowry and John Fund are addressing the utterly toxic nonsense that has been poisoning the national debate since he came upon the national stage. Just because he is gifted at manipulating the minds of gullible and largely ignorant viewers of Fox, does not mean that he is indispensable at that propaganda channel...or is he? 

Beck, of course, is firing back at Kristol: "Bill Kristol has said, me and anybody else that says, 'You know, maybe we should hold off on the Muslim Brotherhood thing,' is just a John Bircher. Really the Egyptian revolt is 1776, according to William Kristol. I'm going to show you the face of evil today, and let Bill Kristol's words fall where they may. You decide: good versus evil." As often as Beck flat-out lies and displays blatant hypocrisy, maybe Beck is on thin ice with regard to who is evil. 

No one is equating Egypt 2011 with 1776! Glenn Beck does not take criticism very well, no matter how bizarre his conspiracy theories, no matter how damaging he is to the Fox brand.

UPDATE 2/8/11: The author of "Why Glenn Beck isn't crazy and millions believe him," William Holden has a theory about Beck's methodology. The following are his interpretations (in blue) of some of Beck's reactions to Kristol's criticisms of him:

The teacher is always right

William Holden: When I mentioned the setting in the studio, besides the evoking of childhood memories, Glenn Beck can present himself as a teacher. In other words as an authority figure. It's no coincidence that he says often: “Do your homework.” Beck notably never admits he is wrong, or really apologizes. He offers orientation in the chaos. Beck offers security through his authority. The authority must be preserved by all means.

Glenn BeckApparently--apparently Republicans are just trying to appropriate Ronald Reagan, who, we're not even really sure if he was a conservative anymore, apparently at this point.(1)

WH: Here he starts with a nice jumping of point on Reagan, who everyone vividly remembers from the celebrations over the weekend, to illustrate what strange time we are living in. Now it´s even doubtful that Reagan was conservative. Confusing is it not? Orientation and security is needed.

BeckBill Kristol has said, me and anybody else that says, "You know, maybe we should hold off on the Muslim Brotherhood thing," is just a John Bircher. Really the Egyptian revolt is 1776, according to William Kristol. I'm going to show  you the face of evil today, and let Bill Kristol's words fall where they may. You decide: good versus evil.

WH: No surprise that Kristol's actual words don´t fit Becks agenda, but basically with only a few sentences Kristol is already finished. "You decide: good versus evil.And there is simply no way the Egyptian revolt could be anything like 1776. And Kristol dares to compare the Declaration of Independence with the uprising of Muslims in Egypt? Later Gray says that directly, at this moment the set-up is introduced for the later pay off. The connection between the current events and the thread that they are for the American Nation with the simple number, 1776, is in place.

Absolutely clear on which side most of the audience is now, rather must be now, since Beck asked them to decide and follow him. And the offer is huge:  "I'm going to show you the face of evil today." He promises orientation and security that only he can provide.

Beck: Many have a hard time understanding where the political left in Europe and the United States have common ground with this theo-political Islamicist movement. Socialist ideology promotes the oppression- and I'm going to have to dumb it down for Bill Kristol, who is so stuck in 1983, you think-- no probably, '78.

WH: After the need for orientation and security was introduced by Beck as the authorization figure proves once more he can bring things into order. Unlike many others, for example the "dumb" Bill Kristol, he is capable of it and the message to the audience is it does not need to be dumbed down for them as Beck strokes their need for esteem. They are smarter than Kristol. They belong to the small group of people who don´t have a hard time getting it.

Beck: .because people like Bill Kristol, I don't think they actually stand for anything anymore. All they stand for is power, and they'll do anything to keep their little fiefdom together, and they'll do anything they have to to keep the Republican power entrenched. I'm sorry: the system doesn't work. ...I do thank you for the time that you have spent in Washington trying to keep conservative principles alive. But I think you've confused conservative principles now with conservative progressive principles. And really, times have changed, Bill. Times have changed.

WH: That whole block is dedicated to the esteem of the audience. They deserve respect. They kept the conservative principles alive while others haven’t. The ones who don´t stand for anything anymore are not confused despite the changing times since Beck reminded them of their own principles that "Others" have lost. Us versus them. Good versus Evil. 

It's time to see the world as it really is, and to see how these big government solutions, and getting into bed with dictators is really something the left does and not something that the right should do

We, we as in Beck and his listeners, possess the moral integrity neither the left nor the right does. Morality is high in the hierarchy of needs by Maslow, as are also problem solving, acceptance of facts. They are part of the need of self-actualization.

Beck: Tonight on television, I would invite you - we're going to show you the beginning of this group. We're gonna show you also the shadow parliament, the beginning of our research on this. And this shows, instead of people like William Kristol - and I apologize, you know, I just - I get really testy, and I shouldn't, and it's a flaw of mine. And I get really testy when I hear people who should get it come after me. It's like, really? Have you done a minute of research, Bill? Have you done it? 'Cause if you did, a minute of research - I can show you - I'll point you to all the credible - I'll point you to their own words.

WH: Morality, problem solving and acceptance of facts. Beck places here his usual “just watch the show” to draw the listeners from the radio to the TV. In fact he hasn’t solved anything, but he created the feeling he will solve it and that is for most of the listeners credible because he touched on all their needs.
Considering Kristol, it doesn’t matter who he is and what he said. He is just another name to be thrown in the repeating routine of working within the hierarchy of needs described by Abraham Maslow. And Beck made sure to mention at some point “the price of your local bread” squeezing in food from the basic physiological needs.

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Anonymous said...

I sincerely doubt they'll fire him. He's too important for the brand, so to speak.

I doubt one could technically say Beck's lying on this one b/c a.)he's a zealot trying to ward off the Rapture, and b.)he's got some paranoid/delusional disorder. So he probably believes all of that crazy stuff he spouts.

The Glenn Beck Review said...

I don't think that Beck is lying on this other than the idea that there's collusion between the radical left and the reactionary Muslims.

Whether he believes everything he says or not is impossible to say. If he does, he has worse mental problems than ADD, and if he does not than he's a practiced and convincing liar.

I have made the case that the paranoid sounding material is just a style that works for his conservative audience. It's part of his act. I have it from reliable sources that a director, who has worked with Beck, identifies him as an amazing actor able to pull up any emotion on demand.

I think that conservatives would have to make the case against Beck directly to Murdoch to convince him that Beck is bad for the Fox brand. I don't think that they care enough about truth and honesty to motivate them to approach Murdoch as a group. The few decent reporters at Fox might express this concern, but there is nothing new here about that. I sincerely hope that you're wrong about your sincere doubt.

Anonymous said...

He seems to me to preach like a faith healing televangelist,that type of sincerity. Used car salesman charm.

The Glenn Beck Review said...

Ocdbloggergirl, have you read "Why Glenn Beck isn’t crazy and millions of Americans believe him?" It goes a long way toward explaining Beck's unhealthy pull on people.

David said...

I'm glad somebody is analysing Beck's style and message in this much depth. Excellent blog.