Archive - Mar 6, 2009

Glenn Beck: Threat Or Menace?

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I don't understand journalism sometimes. The LA Times did a story last night / this morning* profiling Glenn Beck and Fox News in the Era of Obama, because Fox's ratings are -- surprise surprise -- up. And if it's not obvious to the reader WHY Fox's ratings are up, the LA Times reports this exchange that Glenn Beck had with Fox News chief Roger Ailes:

"'I wanted to meet with Roger and tell him, "You may not want to put me on the air. I believe we are in dire trouble, and I will never shut up, ' said the conservative radio host.

"But before Beck could say anything, Ailes shared a message of his own: The country faced tough times, he said, and Fox News was one of the only news outlets willing to challenge the new administration. 'I see this as the Alamo,' Ailes said, according to Beck. 'If I just had somebody who was willing to sit on the other side of the camera until the last shot is fired, we'd be fine.'" - Matea Gold, Los Angeles Times.

Here's why I don't understand journalism sometimes. If I were Matea Gold, and Glenn Motherfucking Beck spun this yarn at me about Roger Ailes and the Alamo and shots being fired, I would have three questions that I had to answer before this story saw publication:

  1. Is this guy shitting me?
  2. If he is shitting me, what does this mean?
  3. If he is NOT shitting me, what does that mean, and isn't it worse?

This isn't about the ideology thing or the right-left thing. This is about what it means when a cable news host whose audience you could fit in a Prius along with their luggage tells you he and his boss see an hour of punditry as a noble, but ultimately doomed, last stand against the forces of, um, the Obama administration's metaphorical Mexican invasion? The fuck?

Gold just lays it out there, matter-of-fact, like it's no big deal, before going on to discuss Fox's ratings boost and matter-of-factly interview other Fox on-air talent. And while I can understand the desire of any human being to not spend too much time figuring out Beckian motivations, lest she go mad, do not take the job if you are not going to do the job.

Beck could be full of shit. He could be trying to boost his image and come off as what his new, larger, crazier audience wants to see: a superhuman Average Joe standing against the impending socialist apocalypse. There are millions of people in this country who got whipped into a frenzy by John McCain's desperate attempt to win the presidency, and Fox has been courting those eyeballs since the final election tallies rolled in. So Beck paints this ridiculous picture of himself, afraid he's simply too damn honest and anti-Obama for Fox News; and Ailes, a kindred spirit in the fight.

That's a fucking story, right there. You've got Beck and Hannity on Fox, Cramer and Santelli on CNBC, Limbaugh and everyone else on the radio, all running wild with the hysterical theme that America is doomed, brave souls must stand up to fight Obama's socialist oppression, in a desperate bid for ratings and relevancy to a bunch of dead-end wingnut fucks who think a few dozen of them throwing teabags into bodies of water is an act of bravery and not a retarded mishmash of barely understood mythological American history. But hey, the numbers are up, so it's working!

And then again, Beck might not be full of shit. Maybe Roger Ailes really thinks the election of Barack Obama is what's bringing about the tough times in America. Maybe he actually sees Fox News the way crazy basement bloggers see their daily posts - as a paramilitary commando squad armed with God's Own Motherfucking Truth. And that Glenn Beck is the mightiest new recruit in Ailes' army, willing and able to carry out his master plan of yelling and yelling until we return to the glory days of capitalism circa 2007.

That is also a fucking story. That one of the top-rated news organizations in America is run by a complete fucking psycho, and in addition to fucking psycho O'Reilly, fucking psycho Cavuto, and fucking psycho Hannity on the payroll, his fucking psycho A-Team now has it's even more fucking psycho Mad Dog Murdbeck, willing to say and do things even the other three think are a bit nuts.

One of these stories is true, but neither of them were told to us by the Los Angeles Times, for journalistic reasons I simply cannot comprehend.

*Dated today, showed up online yesterday. Print is stupid.