I Love Glenn Beck
by JAMES DELINGPOLE
April 8, 2011
So Glenn Beck is to lose his show at Fox. If you want to know why this is a bad thing for the world, forget what you may think of his sometimes over-the-top, lachrymose schtick and his tendency towards overstating the case. Concentrate instead on the unbridled joy and delirium Beck’s dethronement is already causing in left-liberal circles. The head of Glenn Beck on a platter is like Kwaanza come early for Keith Olbermann and George Soros and Barack Obama and CNN and CNBC and the New York Times and all the rest of that rag bag of Islamists, eco-loons, progressives, communitarians, and Gramsciites who would be so much happier if you didn’t know about their plans to steal your freedoms, take more of your money, swell the size of government and destroy your liberty.
Here, for example, is what that bastion of liberal values The New Republic has to say in a piece but barely able to contain its pant-wetting joy that the chief Warlock of Unreconstructed Right Wing Darkness has been defanged:
What happened? Beck built a following by making outlandish, conspiratorial claims—about ACORN, Obama, and so on. (Bizarrely, his extremism may have augmented the number of curious liberal viewers tuning in: A Pew Research Center poll from last September found that 9 percent of Beck’s Fox viewers identified as Democrats, and 21 percent as moderates or liberals.) But “anytime you have extreme stimulus,” says Alexander Zaitchik, author of the unauthorized Beck biography Common Nonsense, “you’ll have diminishing returns.” Beck, says Zaitchik, was caught “in a vicious circle”: To keep viewers coming back, he had to keep creating new, more intricate theories. Last November, in a two-part special that indirectly invoked anti-Semitism, he accused liberal Jewish financier George Soros of orchestrating the fall of foreign governments for financial gain.
Hang on a second. Is the New Republic trying to rewrite history here by telling us that ACORN isn’t a monstrously corrupt, hard-left organisation which, for example, has been shown on camera advising an alleged pimp how best to hide the illegal earnings of his underage tricks? And is it also trying to tell us that George Soros – the financier who, inter alia, made a fortune by betting against the British taxpayer over EMU*, and who is well known for his sponsorship of revolutionary left causes – is a lovable, grotesquely maligned figure of bounteous goodness whose critics only hate him because he’s Jewish. (The latter is a pretty rich charge coming from a liberal: doesn’t the world’s most vicious anti-Semitism come almost exclusively from the glibly pro-Palestinian, virulently anti-Israel liberal-left these days?)
Sure Glenn Beck has his faults but they are vastly outweighed by his strengths: his fearlessness in speaking truth to power; his gift for explaining political ideas in a way that galvanises the attention of Middle America; his sheer entertainment value. In Britain, we have no real equivalent of Beck and we could do with one. One of the reasons this country is so totally screwed at the moment is because of the shocking political apathy and ignorance of almost everyone outside Westminster and the media village: everyone has a vague sense that things are wrong, but almost no one has the vocabulary or ideological base to articulate what the problem is. Thanks to people like Glenn Beck, this isn’t the case in America. Beck has given them a voice; he helped make the glorious popular revolt against the political class – the Tea Party – possible.
My guess is that Glenn Beck is going to bounce back from this low in his career – and will return stronger and more popular than ever. And if you’re a conservative and you’ve ever nurtured doubts about Beck, just ask yourself this: if he’s really such a joke, why do you think it is that so many on the liberal-left so hate and fear him?