The fall and rise of Glenn Beck?

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Posted 07 Mar 2011 in Politics

Following on from Dan’s article about US conservative radio (although I’m not implying there was a connection) it’s interesting to note from today’s Guardian that speculation is rife that, when his contract runs out later this year, Fox News may decide against renewing the delightful Glenn Beck’s contract. I find Beck oddly, grimly, fascinating – he’s obviously nuts, but there is some truth in what the Guardian notes in today’s article; that amongst a ton of desperately simplistic commentators on Fox, there is a certain intellectual rigour about him, although it’s applied chaotically, sporadically, and often in the service of pure menace. When he stands in front of his blackboard, apeing a professor, he asks his viewers to engage in a way most talk show hosts don’t.

But each time I see him on the air he reminds me less and less of the political commentator he once was and more and more of a kind of religious preacher – he’s operating further and further outside of the conservative mainstream; and there are two interpretations. One is that he really has gone mad, and I say that in comparitive seriousness. He’s a kind of paranoid conspiracy theorist, convinced he can take people with him on his strange and deeply misleading semantic journey. The other is that’s he’s transitioning towards a more lucrative, more influential career – in the world of religion rather than the world of politics. The truth is that the he’s just too odd for Fox News, and yet as a religious leader? Well, it worked for L Ron Hubbard and Jim Bakker.

Here’s Beck at his oddest and most interesting – launching into a long, largely incomprehensible chalkboard rant. This is mainstream, peak-time TV, remember. Bizarre.

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