The real problem with Glenn Beck’s Norway comments

beck

Glenn Beck has become America's right-wing sweetheart. The boisterous, overly emotional faker has captivated dim-witted audiences for years, and has ventured into the "non-fiction" and fiction realm of print, and even had the audacity to publish a children's book. Although on the surface his anger and positions may seem sincere, and have surely mobilized a new generation of right-wing nut-jobs known as the "tea party," Beck has admitted that he only looks for two things: money and fame. And he will do whatever it takes to get it.

Shortly after the news of the Norway bombing and massacre was released last Friday, Beck called the idea of having a politically-oriented summer camp "disturbing" and likened those attending to members of the Hitler Youth, the Nazi Party's youth wing.

"There was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like the Hitler Youth, or whatever," Beck said. "I mean, who does a camp for kids that's all about politics? Disturbing." You can hear the clip here.

What Beck did not mention is that his political cadre - the 9/12 Project - held several summer camps including one in Tampa, Florida ... disturbing, but not uncommon for this snake.

In the same show, Beck tied Anders Behring Breivik, the man who confessed to carrying out the two-pronged massacre, to supporters of "big government."

"He is doing the work of a madman. He is doing the work of what all people who want big government always do, and that is commit terrorist acts," Beck said.

If Beck had taken the time to read the manifesto, or even skim the thing, he would realize that this is the opposite of what Brevik urged. An ideological ally of Beck, albeit one who is actually willing to put his hateful words into hateful actions (unlike Beck who just wants to see the money), Breivik was a Christian, anti-Muslim, anti-Marxist, small government, right-wing, lunatic. Sound familiar?

Getting into every household

Having been mostly a morning shock-jock failure, by 2000 Beck began to devote more and more time, and eventually the entire program, to his political ranting. Taking pointers from Limbaugh and Hannity, Beck combined his over-the-top style, which got him fired from nearly every job he held previously, with his simplistic and largely incorrect political and historical rhetoric which made him incredibly popular, and incredibly rich. By April of 2010, Forbes Magazine said "Glenn Beck has managed to monetize virtually everything that comes out of his mouth."

The same article revealed that Glenn Beck Inc, made $32 million between 2009 and 2010. In an interview Beck admits to being nothing more than an "entertainer," and said he does not "give a flying crap about the political process." In February of 2010 he told USA Weekend that "you'd have to be an idiot" to "not notice the temperature change" caused by global warming, and that he thinks mankind may play a significant role in the phenomenon. Beck has previously described himself as "a rodeo clown" and conceded, "If you take what I say as gospel, you're an idiot."

The missing Beck of the Left

The plain truth is that the idiots are out there, and they are listening. Glenn Beck epitomizes how the ruling elite can - through the right mouth, on the right face and with the appropriate amount of disinformation and theater - dilute and confound the working class. Playing off fears of Nazism and communism (Beck's two favorite misunderstood fetishes) and compiling a completely incoherent historical framework, Beck has - along with his Fox News compatriots Fox News and Rush Limbaugh - bamboozled working people into believing that they have the same interests as Rupert Murdoch and the wealthy elite.

What Beck shows is that with the right amount of charisma and elitism, people will swallow just about any pill, no matter how bitter. The left, and certainly the radical left, has been unable to muster someone like him. Partially because of the dedication to truth-telling (something Beck does not worry about) and the inability to present said truth in a Beckist type of way, the ability to reach people in nearly the same way as Beck is completely lost on the left.

We need a Glenn Beck for the working class, and so far they appear to be waiting in the wings. However, in the age of watered-down online content and the tall and strictly controlled totem pole of cable news anchors and pundits, the ability for a thoughtful, truthful and reasonable Beck of the Left to come forward is retarded by the interests of the elite who own newspapers and cable stations. This is also why Beck has been so successful. Those of us who wish to challenge the elite and their interests are not given the opportunity to do so because of modern censorship. Therefore, we must reach people through unconventional means, and perhaps if the owners of cable news networks see a buck in it, they will give us a chance.

A longer version of this article appears at Kevin Gustafson's blog.

Photo: David Shankbone // CC 2.0

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  • For most of my adult life I have been a member of the NRA. It was part of a long family tradition but like many traditions we wake one morning and find that we were given a load of garbage.

    You know its garbage when the NRA has to enlist the help of Beck, Palin and Gingrich to advance any cause, legit or not.

    The Second Amendment is important but no so important that I need to be in circle of friends that includes the likes of Beck or his minions.

    I like what George Carlin said about patriotism.
    "I'm tired of having a big red and white(blank) shoved up my (blank)..."

    Essentially, thats all you'll get from Beck.

    Posted by Mike Greer, 08/01/2011 3:28am (3 years ago)

  • I'm no right-winger, but I'm pretty sure most every paragraph of this article would fail the basic standards of warrant and backing, required for critical thinking.
    You don't have to prop up the truth my friend.

    What a wonderful world it would be if everyone who disagreed with my politics suffered from mind-numbed idiocy?

    Posted by wyatt, 07/30/2011 1:37pm (3 years ago)

  • Okay, let's say that someone is found?

    Within hours, there'd be so many people in line for "royalties" you'd have to think the heirs were ubiquitous; of such phenomena.

    "Time for these jackboot-heels to be wandering?" In other words, spikes are a jones; if whatever isn't doggie do smears the consciousness.

    Posted by Robert Jastad, 07/29/2011 1:32pm (3 years ago)

  • Well, of course, the last paragraph in the article begins to explain why there is no "Glenn Beck of the left". It is because the capitalists who own the radio networks and radio stations are not going to provide a forum for such a person, nor will any deep pocket corporations spend money to sponsor such a program. Case closed.

    Posted by John Whiskey, 07/28/2011 10:29pm (3 years ago)

  • Beck associates socialism and the left using nazism as justification. The one and only reason for this is because the word nazi is derived from national socialist. The far right associate themselves with nazism today because of its racial prejudice/preference. Whereas the far left is more commonly associated with marxism. Beck would have you believe that nazism and marxism go together or have join forces or something equally retarded. Beck doesn't care whether what he says makes any sense, only that impressionable people follow him and make him rich.

    Posted by Jamie Reilly, 07/28/2011 1:50am (3 years ago)

  • Glenn Beck and most of the political class from our world is aiming for the money. They aren't here to defend our rights or even make a better world. Or are they? Probably they make a better world for them but forget about the others.

    Posted by weekreviewmovie, 07/28/2011 1:08am (3 years ago)

  • I am not sure that the use of the terms "dim-witted audiences" and "the idiots out there" is appropriate for a progressive publication that is at the heart of the working class, peoples movement.
    Most people do not have the opportunity or inclination to follow progressive media, be it on radio, in print, or on-line. In most places in the United States people have little chance to access sources that are out of the mainstream, which is so dominated by the Right. I agree that it would be nice if there were someone on the Left who had the support of a Glenn Beck.
    But just because Glenn Beck stoops to idiocy to promote his ideas does not mean that his listeners are at that level too.

    Posted by David G., 07/27/2011 7:46pm (3 years ago)

  • We don't need a Beck telling people what to think, and a "thoughtful, truthful and reasonable Beck" is an oxymoron. There are plenty of thoughtful and reasonable people of all walks of life - we just need a platform.

    Posted by Paul Carmody, 07/27/2011 3:11pm (3 years ago)

  • Why am I NOT surprised that Beck would come to the defense of the neonazi terrorist in Norway?

    Posted by Thomas Mc, 07/27/2011 2:28pm (3 years ago)

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