Saturday, April 10, 2010

For all of the Glenn Beck devotees out there

Glenn Beck really exposes his true motivation in an interesting interview in Forbes magazine:

With a deadpan, Beck insists that he is not political: "I could give a flying crap about the political process." Making money, on the other hand, is to be taken very seriously, and controversy is its own coinage. "We're an entertainment company," Beck says. He has managed to monetize virtually everything that comes out of his mouth. He gets $13 million a year from print (books plus the ten-issue-a-year magazine Fusion). Radio brings in $10 million. Digital (including a newsletter, the ad-supported Glennbeck.com and merchandise) pulls in $4 million. Speaking and events are good for $3 million and television for $2 million. Over several days in mid-March Beck allowed a reporter to follow him through his multimedia incarnations, with one exception, his 5 p.m. daily show on Fox News, which attracts just under 3 million viewers.

Beck is about the money and the way he makes it is as an entertainer. People like Beck and Rush and Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter are no different from people like Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore and the erstwhile Senator from Minnesota Al Franken. They are entertainers, first and foremost, and in it for the money. That is understandable, after all as a conservative making money makes sense but the motivation here is important to understand.

Treating Glenn Beck as a serious political voice is like treating Joel Osteen as a serious theologian. Beck and company are great for sound bytes and overheated rhetoric. For actual substantive conversations? Not so much. Too many conservatives follow and defend Beck without question. Rush, O'Reilly, Hannity and Beck are fine for entertainment but always remember that they are entertainers above all else. I think this quote captures Beck perfectly:

"I don't necessarily believe that [what Beck says] is reflective of his own personal politics--I don't even know if he has personal politics," says Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers, a trade magazine devoted to talk radio. "I see him as a performer."
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