In response to the FoxNews article “Have You Boycotted Glenn Beck Yet?” published on April 8 at FoxNews.com.
BY ELIJAH SULLIVAN
This may sound like a silly question, but where does your news come from? Right now you’re reading an editorial written by a student journalist, one of the many who bring news to Rogue Community College. But I’m willing to bet that you will double-check anything interesting you read in this paper against the word of other news sources, ones that you trust completely. This is good. You will never be taken in by a charlatan if you read what his enemy writes.
If you watch Glenn Beck on FOX, then you are currently reading the words of his enemy. I’m not his arch-nemesis (someone more deserving, such as Jon Stewart, holds that office) but my studies to become an effective and honest journalist made Glenn Beck my enemy by default.
Most of you can stop reading now; you know what I’m talking about. Glenn Beck is a figure of fun for you, and you are probably continuing to read this hoping I’ll say something witty. This isn’t addressed to you. I address this to those who still believe that Glenn Beck’s tears are real, his diatribes sincere, his motives pure.
(OK, I am tempted to tease him for remarking “You have no idea how hateful a haiku can be if it’s in the hands of the wrong people.” I had to take a short giggle-break until I was done appreciating that particular dire warning.)
In a typically inane April 7 television broadcast of his show, Beck feebly attempted to laugh off the estimated 7,832,000 sponsors who have dropped his show. That’s his estimate, not mine. To reiterate, that’s nearly 8 million separate sponsors – corporate and individual – who severed ties with his show since it came on the air.
Who does Beck blame this on? He loves calling Obama & Co. “Marxists” and “communists,” forgetting that these haven’t been dirty words since the 1950s, and most rational historians recall Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s witch-hunt with shame and disgust. Beck himself has been cited as an influence to people like the Hutaree Militia and various other home-grown terrorist groups who have plotted murder and terrorism based on rumors Beck fabricated for higher ratings and book deals. And does he register any guilt about this? Quite the contrary:
“We will resist the total transformation of our country but we will do it peacefully,” he said on April 7. “Yes. People did it under [Woodrow Wilson] and people did that here. Well, not so much because the people who are in [President Obama’s] administration hated [Richard Nixon] and they didn’t resist peacefully; they were setting bombs off. But we will resist peacefully.”
Has Glenn Beck ever read a book? I challenge you all to search for substantial evidence that members of Obama’s administration engaged in terrorist activity during the Nixon administration. This is slanderous, and yet he claims to feel no remorse whatsoever about leading a generation of Neo-Conservatives towards civil war on the grounds that Obama is a nefarious, Bond-esque villain who plans to enslave our nation with Socialism.
He goes on:
“You know what? The fact is I haven’t felt this good and positive in a long time,” Beck said on April 7. “Why? Because the boycott attempts are the most transparent “Astroturf” attacks I have ever seen or ever heard of.”
For those who don’t know, “Astroturf” is a journalistic expression used to describe grass-roots support from the masses that was bought and paid for by corporations. For example, a lot of people only jumped on the Tea Party band-wagon after Big Business sent undercover advertising grunts to pose as angry citizens at town-hall meetings.
Yes, some of these “town-hall meetings” were staged media events, meant to use peer pressure to get other conservatives to jump on the anti-health care reform bandwagon. It worked – people got very, very angry – but it ultimately didn’t stop reform because the grass-roots resistance was mainly hot air. Hence “Astroturf.”
Beck’s “grassroots support” is really corporate advertising money and viewers who are too lazy to check Beck’s facts against what 99 percent of the rest of the media reports.
Beck’s “Astroturf” allegations were uttered while multiple boycotts were occurring outside of his studio. Nearly every media outlet on the planet spends time correcting his factual errors or rebutting his lies. All the comedians who miss teasing former President Bush have found a new comedic touchstone in Beck. Is this “Astroturfing”?
Even the reporting staff of Fox News itself supposedly loathes Beck, having to defend him publicly while privately they see him rehearsing his crying fits (you can see these rehearsals on YouTube). While Beck’s viewership is undoubtedly still large, and his corporate support from the Fox big-wigs is unwavering, it sounds like most of the planet still thinks Beck is a total jackass.
On April 7, Beck took to the stage to prepare a defense, but his mask of sincerity was slipping:
“But I want you to know, America, I’m going to come clean to you. This boycott has been devastating to me. It’s been hell. It’s been hell.
“In fact, you might read all about the devastation coming out on Friday. I’m on the cover of Forbes magazine.”
Forbes was preparing a special issue about Beck that he seemed very, very nervous about on April 7. Among other things, they detailed how Beck’s circus show makes him an average of $32 million annually, while MediaMatters.org reminds Forbes that over 200 companies are running anti-Beck ads.
“My career is in a wreck,” he went on. “I have no problem being capitalist and making money. It’s weird how many people do nowadays. I’ve just always thought if I make a good product and I’m honest in all of my business dealings, I will be successful. But that boycott is sure devastating to me.”
Really, Glenn? You think it’s weird that so many people have a hard time with capitalism these days? Hmm, maybe it has something to do with the recession. During that time a lot of people “had a hard time” being capitalists.
I truly believe that Glenn Beck is insane and should seek psychiatric help. If the pressure of all the negative media is getting to him, he should quit and recover. To a certain degree I sympathize with him: his backstory is a troubled one, he and I both spent part of our childhood in Bellingham, WA, so I know first-hand how all those rainy days can effect one’s sanity.
Beck is also reportedly inspired by a film from the 1970s, “Network,” which also happens to be one of my favorite movies. It was one of the great muckraking black comedies, about a newscaster who turns his suicidal despair into a fearless diatribe on the air and earns a loyal following. The network executives cynically market it for shock value and, lo, a “mad prophet of the air waves” is born. I think Beck may have missed the point of the movie, which does not have a happy ending.
Next time you feel like watching the Glenn Beck show, try renting “Network,” instead. See if you still have an appetite to watch his show after that.
This editorial does not reflect the opinions of Rogue Community College or its affiliates. Please address your comments to the editor and send them to email@example.com.