It appears the mainstream media is slowly catching up to the Glenn Beck phenomenon. This past September Time put him on the cover, last month Barbara Walters included him in her most fascinating people of 2009, today the Wall St. Journal’s online op-ed editor James Taranto has pubbed a longish interview with him. Seems like Beck may not merely be a (fascinating) side show much longer.
And for good reason; Beck’s 5pm Fox show routinely clocks the highest ratings on the network next to Bill O’Reilly. At five o’clock. If ratings are the coin of the realm than Beck is close to being king and that alone warrants some serious exploration, which didn’t necessarily happen in this interview, though interesting nonetheless. According to Beck “our footprint in a month”—the number of people he reaches in all media—”is about 30 million.” That’s a lot of people tuning in to hear about what Beck refers to as “the guy who debunked conspiracy theory.”
“There are limits to debasement of this country, aren’t there? I mean, it’s one thing to believe that our politicians are capable of being Bernie Madoff. It’s another to think that they are willing to kill 3,000 Americans. Once you cross that line, you’re in a whole new territory…I believe the conspiracies, quote-unquote, that are happening now are happening all out in the open. All you have to do is track their actions. Their actions speak louder than their words. It’s easy to throw out, ‘Well, he’s a conspiracy theorist.’ Why do you say that? ‘Well, because they say they’re not doing that.’ But their actions show that they are.
Also, apparently he takes his lead from Immanuel Kant:
Now I’ve made a vow to myself—it actually comes from Immanuel Kant, the philosopher: ‘There are many things that I believe that I shall never say. But I shall never say the things that I do not believe.’ . . . The minute I violate that, I’m back to the old drunk Glenn.
As for the Howard Beale comparisons Beck welcomes them but only to a certain extent.
The part of Howard Beale that I liken myself to is the moment when he was in the raincoat, where he figures everything out, and he’s like, ‘Whoa, whoa, wait a minute! Why the hell aren’t you up at the window shouting outside?'” Mr. Beck adds, “What the media wants to make me is the Howard Beale at the end, the crazy showman that’s doing anything for money. That I don’t liken myself to.”
As for his competition? Well I’m not sure anyone would include Charlie Rose in that group for reasons having little to do with ratings (though I once suggested the two would make for a very interesting interview), regardless Beck doesn’t seem too phased.
“You name the conservative that can do a full hour—a full hour—on Woodrow Wilson and the roots of modern liberalism—for an hour—and have high ratings with it. . . . I had like three really big eggheads on the show, and people watched it. Now, you could be Charlie Rose all you want, but nobody’s watching Charlie Rose.”
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