Glenn Beck: “If I Could Do Things Over Again I Would Be More Temperate On Everything That I Said”
MacNicol: When you talk about the tea party scene, the moment when Noah gets up on stage and pulls aside the guy with the T-shirt [it said “Jew-S-A”] and says, ‘this is why you aren’t being taken seriously,’ it reminded me of your CPAC speech.
Beck: Exactly right. That speech was again difficult to write. It could have been a whole book. It would have bored the snot out of people because there are so many points in there that I thought needed to be made from several different angles and it was, when he steps up the microphone and says that, it was the CPAC speech in a way. The problem is a lot bigger than you think it is. And part of it is, ‘you’re the problem.’ And in part of that, I’m saying to myself too.
“One of the things I don’t think Washington understands yet and New York doesn’t understand either is that people have been marketed to their whole life and they’re onto it. The marketing tricks don’t work anymore. They know. That’s why things don’t feel right in America, because it’s focus group and test-marketed. What people want is something that’s genuine. ”
Krakauer: There was another part, when Danny reflects on how some people took his words and have misconstrued them, and taken the negative elements of it. It seemed like there was some identification there too.
Beck: As our situation in our country becomes more and more serious, I think you’d have to, if you’re a responsible human being, I have taken inventory of my words over the last five, eight years. And if I could do things over again I would be more temperate on everything that I said only because, you know, people will misunderstand, or I will misspeak, or I will just say something stupid, or people will take out of context and twist. And that’s kind of what Danny was, part of the problem. And I think that’s true for all of us. We’ve all been part of the problem in one way or another. We just have to recognize that now and then do the right thing.
Krakauer: There’s some interesting takes on the PR world in here, specifically Noah’s walk through his father’s trophy case of PR wins. It seems you feel the world has a lot of power, but sometimes cynically so. I’m curious if this comes from any sort of experience you’ve had.
Beck: No, really I was looking for a place for a villain to be. It comes from Walter Lippmann, when he says there’s no such thing as public opinion, public opinion will be made. Basically – tell them what they want. I wanted to keep him away from Washington. One of the things I don’t think Washington understands yet and New York doesn’t understand either is that people have been marketed to their whole life and they’re onto it. The marketing tricks don’t work anymore. They know. That’s why things don’t feel right in America, because it’s focus group and test-marketed. What people want is something that’s genuine. And I thought the best way to go there and be able to point out the outside forces on Washington would be to go to a PR person as opposed to what, an evil banker? I didn’t want it to turn into an episode of 24.
MacNicol: I’m curious why you chose to set it in New York. New York is almost an extra character in the book, and it seems at times you have a love/hate relationship with New York City. So I’m curious, why place it here?
Beck: I’ve read that you have…said that. You guys are like the only people really that I read about me – everybody else is so boring and trite. My love/hate relationship with New York is puzzling to me because, doesn’t everyone have a love/hate relationship with this city? It is absolutely the best city in America and simultaneously a block away, someone is being stabbed to death. It is simultaneously the best city and the worst city in America. You can get the best of anything and worst of anything here. So, while I go through periods of uber-frustration in the day with this city, and mainly on a business level, whenever I get away from this city I love it. I just love it. My wife and I have talked about moving out west, and as much as I would love that, I’ve said to her we’d have to have a landing strip somewhere by us because I’d have to come back to New York. It’s just a great city, and simultaneously drives you out of your mind nuts.
(This has been edited for length and clarity.)
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