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News Media Last Updated: Oct 16th, 2009 - 00:16:11

Charge of the Beckerheads
By Sheila Samples
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Oct 16, 2009, 00:11

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I didn�t know Van Jones. I didn�t know Van Jones was a friend of mine -- at least not until the stench billowing from the Fox Hate Channel became so foul I was forced to take a closer look at this terrifying creature. No -- not Jones, whom President Obama wisely had hired as Special Advisor for Green Jobs at the Council on Environmental Quality -- but the sobbing, lying, deliriously insane Glenn Beck.

According to Beck, who began his assault on Jones in a July 23 disjointed rant, wherein he claimed Jones is not only �a communist-anarchist radical,� but a former black nationalist, avowed communist-anarchist radical. Or something. Anyway, according to Beck, Jones is really really dangerous -- a racist just like Obama, who has a �deep-seated hatred for white folks� and whose entire agenda is restructuring America into a land of reparations, social justice and jobs for minorities.

The appalling thing about the intellectually challenged Beck, like the Limbaugh-loon he so desperately struggles to impersonate, is that he is given a podium from which to spew his hate. Even more appalling is that he is allowed -- encouraged -- to do so with no reservation, no regulation, and no repercussion. Unless, of course, you consider the multi-million-dollar salary he receives for telling lies and for whipping paranoid masses of gun-toting racists into glassy eyed fury, then it�s easy to see Beck is hitting the repercussion jackpot -- over and over again.

As Alexander Zaitchik points out in his three-part Salon series on Beck�s background, Beck has always been desperate for two things -- attention and ratings. And he learned early in his career that nothing works as quickly nor as well with the media as personal insults, public humiliation and character assassination.

With few exceptions, the mainstream media fawn over him, laugh at his blatant lies, his death threats and his fake tears. Beck has long been obsessed with destruction -- even murder. In March 2001, he fantasized about killing Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) with a shovel as well as lining up several others and shooting them in the head. On his May 17, 2005 Glenn Beck Program, he chortled, �Hang on, let me just tell you what I�m thinking. I�m thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I�m wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong? I stopped wearing my What Would Jesus -- band -- Do, and I�ve lost all sense of right and wrong now. I used to be able to say, �Yeah, I�d kill Michael Moore,� and then I�d see the little band: What Would Jesus Do? And then I�d realize, �Oh, you wouldn�t kill Michael Moore. Or at least you wouldn�t choke him to death.� And you know, well, I�m not sure.�

And more recently, on his Aug 6 Fox program, Beck regaled at least himself by giggling about putting poison in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi�s wine . . .

Not a pretty picture. No, not Beck, who should have the FBI nipping at his heels like other �homegrown terrorists� for threatening the lives of legislators and sowing dissent within the government -- but the media, going all Hunter Thompson on us, curled up at Beck�s feet like so many chimps in a zoo cage, feverishly pumping out masturbatory praise for the low-class dirty trickster.

When Jones, rather than sink to Beck�s level, resigned his position over the Labor Day weekend, some in the media were ecstatic. NBC Deputy Political Director Mark Murray whooped it up in his 8 Sep �First Read�: Van Jones resigns: Speaking of distractions, Glenn Beck got his man -- Van Jones, who resigned from the administration over the weekend. And judging by how Beck responded to the news of the resignation of the mid-level staffer, he won�t be satisfied with this scalp. Beck made it sound like he might even have a list of �Who�s next,� which will embolden defenders of the administration to start focusing on Beck and others. [ . . . ] As for Jones, clearly, that 9/11 stuff made him indefensible and does call into question the White House�s vetting process. The irony in all of this: Beck never lost his job for calling Obama a racist, but Jones did . . .�

Time Magazine, a partner of CNN, has led the charge to cover Beck�s every move, every word, every teardrop in a desperate effort to get a piece of Beck�s attention and ratings action. See here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Then, of course, there�s Time�s photo gallery and the much-heralded Sep 17 cover story wherein author David Von Drehle takes 3,598 words to debunk his own headline, �Mad Man: Is Glenn Beck Bad for America?� and to paint Beck as nothing more than a feisty, lovable -- albeit controversial -- little whippersnapper: Glenn Beck: the pudgy, buzz-cut, weeping phenomenon of radio, TV and books . . . The old American mind-set that Richard Hofstadter famously called �the paranoid style� � the sense that Masons or the railroads or the Pope or the guys in black helicopters are in league to destroy the country � is aflame again, fanned from both right and left. [ . . . ] No one has a better feeling for this mood, and no one exploits it as well, as Beck. He is the hottest thing in the political-rant racket, left or right. A gifted entrepreneur of angst in a white-hot market.

[ . . . ]

�Beck is 45, tireless, funny, self-deprecating, a recovering alcoholic, a convert to Mormonism, a libertarian and living with ADHD. He is a gifted storyteller with a knack for stitching seemingly unrelated data points into possible conspiracies � if he believed in conspiracies, which he doesn�t, necessarily; he�s just asking questions. He�s just sayin.� In cheerful days of yore, he was a terrific host of a morning-zoo show on an FM Top 40 station. But these aren�t cheerful times. For conservatives, these are times of economic uncertainty and political weakness, and Beck has emerged as a virtuoso on the strings of their discontent.�

Not to be outfoxed by her peers, on Sep 22, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric premiered her new one-on-one high-profile online interview show �@katiecouric� with Beck, whom she introduced as a �one-man cottage industry.� Beck fielded Couric�s painfully shallow questions, such as, �Do you feel that you�re . . . you�re kind of being divisive?� with sly grins and winks. �Let me see, here,� Beck said, giggling and rolling his eyes while tapping his forehead, �how can I answer that? You�re just trying to make some news -- you just want me to give you a sound byte . . .�

But the most interesting -- and entertaining -- take on Beck comes from Fox News� Chief Beckerhead Chris Wallace, who boasts that he �is on the Glenn Beck bandwagon,� and insists that �Beck is a meteor here at Fox News.� Wallace was taking the irrepressible Shepard Smith to task for not giving Beck the proper respect; even accused Smith of being jealous of Beck�s fame. �Oh no,� Smith proclaimed, fighting back fake tears. �We are here to celebrate, worship and adore . . .� You gotta watch this.

Most mainstream media -- if they acknowledge Beck�s attacks -- present them as news, such as the czars fiasco, the fake Fox ACORN videos, etc. However, there are some, even on the right, who are concerned enough about the damage being done to sound the alarm.

The New York Times� David Brooks writes, not only about Beck, but Limbaugh, Hannity and others whose lust for power (attention and ratings) knows no bounds: �For no matter how often their hollowness is exposed, the jocks still reweave the myth of their own power. They still ride the airwaves claiming to speak for millions. They still confuse listeners with voters. And they are aided in this endeavor by their enablers. They are enabled by cynical Democrats, who love to claim that Rush Limbaugh controls the G.O.P. They are enabled by lazy pundits who find it easier to argue with showmen than with people whose opinions are based on knowledge. They are enabled by the slightly educated snobs who believe that Glenn Beck really is the voice of Middle America.

�So the myth returns. Just months after the election and the humiliation, everyone is again convinced that Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and the rest possess real power. And the saddest thing is that even Republican politicians come to believe it. They mistake media for reality. They preemptively surrender to armies that don�t exist.

�They pay more attention to Rush�s imaginary millions than to the real voters down the street. The Republican Party is unpopular because it�s more interested in pleasing Rush�s ghosts than actual people. The party is leaderless right now because nobody has the guts to step outside the rigid parameters enforced by the radio jocks and create a new party identity. The party is losing because it has adopted a radio entertainer�s niche-building strategy, while abandoning the politician�s coalition-building strategy.

�The rise of Beck, Hannity, Bill O�Reilly and the rest has correlated almost perfectly with the decline of the G.O.P. But it�s not because the talk jocks have real power. It�s because they have illusory power, because Republicans hear the media mythology and fall for it every time.�

Like Chris Wallace says, they are all just meteors exploding across this nation�s sky. Perhaps someone should remind Wallace and others in the media that the shining streak they�re hanging onto is nothing but a trail of gas, and when it enters Truth�s atmosphere, it will disintegrate -- taking the Beckerhead Bandwagon with it.

Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.

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