The Glenn Beck Apology Tour

When married, there are things that one does to keep peace in the household. If you’re married, you know how that is. For me, one of those things was to watch Glenn Beck. It’s not one of my prouder accommodations.

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The memories are foggy. I know that Obama was President, and some of us were displeased about it. The sounds, the smells…teeth gnashing, hair aflame…you get the picture.  Really, what better way to greet the new President than with the Gift of Beck? Well, that’s not entirely fair. Beck’s prior TV-gig was at CNN, where he was trailing Nancy Grace, as was most of the network. I’m sure that the media-blogs and critics weren’t exactly lit-up with predictions of his success (Right now, CNN could plug him in at nine, and embarrass the entire network. I think they did just that, a few weeks back. But I digress.)  Upon moving to Fox, he started out as all such shows do, as a chance. A hoped-for success.

The banality that most-likely preceded the point at which Glenn Beck became The Show That Our Family Must Watch has, unfortunately, slipped from memory. But oh, I remember the chalkboards. I remember the conspiracies. These two elements, all by themselves, combined almost effortlessly into the most fantastic, byzantine linkages. It was like a family tree on acid. The multiple boards with their multiple elements, people and places, but a single conclusion. I’m not entirely certain what that conclusion was, but it was really really bad. What’s fabulous is that people believed it! At some level, I believed it.

What I always said about Beck is that about 80% of what he says is right on. Problem is, you have to figure out which 80, on a daily basis. This is the appeal of conspiracies to an ideological person. I once watched a John Birch Society meeting on C-SPAN. For the life of me, I could not figure out what the problem was. I mean, they were right down the line, far as I could tell. Then they pull out the charts and graphs, and start talking about the Jews and the Conspiracy. Hmm. It’s seven o’clock..Frasier’s on!  I may have been sharper in ’96 than during Beck’s run.

Now, he’s having second thoughts. Fair enough, but second thoughts about what? I’m not hearing a whole lot of specifics in his “apologies”, if that’s what they are. Is it the conspiracies? Which one? Perhaps the fact that he caused a significant number of conservatives to be written off as nutjobs, was that it?  It’s not clear. Thing is, I remember when people would criticize him at the time, and he ripped them to shreds. I mean, it might have been entertaining, but he savaged them. It’s a wonder Joe Klein could leave his house, what with that bite taken out of his ass. Even some conservatives criticized him, and we can easily imagine what they were called. It’s what we’re all called, when we dare to question what that network feeds us.

The thing is, he seems like a nice guy, which actually makes it worse. I have to wonder how much of it he really believed.  It’s easy to forget the full-blown conspiracy-theories that he was selling, but I was there. It’s the whole picture, not just a few memorable bits.  There’s just so much that Glenn Beck did (and profited from) that was unacceptable. To give a general “My bad” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

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Conservative. Not beholden to a network or a media complex. Not that anyone's asked. ;-)

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