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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Glenn Beck: A Savvy Fraud Who Knows Just How to Please His Audience of Conservative Suckers

Those who take a single drop of Beck's tears seriously need simply watch recordings of his stage shows. As he paces the stage, Beck switches the tear-ducts on and off like a switch, sometimes as many as six times in a single hour. He even chokes himself up for slick produced segments like the trailer for the stage show based on his bestselling (and ghostwritten) Christmas novel, The Christmas Sweater. Then there is the memorable Freudian slip Beck dropped on Fox in early February, while recounting the story of a missing girl. “Two years ago, I made the father a promise,” Beck says, choking up, “that I would not let this story dry — er, die….” Any doubts that Beck is just acting are more deeply buried by examining his turn guest hosting Larry King Live last summer. Watch that clip, and you will see a master tailor of on-air persona at work. He is in full-control and almost unrecognizable.

Nothing is sacred in Glenn Beck's business strategy to grow his company by stoking rightwing anger, anxiety, and paranoia. This is true even of those things he wants us to believe he holds most sacred. The poster for his upcoming comedy tour is the same Revolutionary War-era severed-snake symbol that Beck chose as the logo for his dead-serious “9/12 Project.” He just swapped the words “Laugh or Die” for the original “Join, Or Die,” then stamped it with his corporate logo.This fluid, self-serving, and multi-platform use of a hallowed symbol — from teary-eyed professions of selfless “9/12” patriotism to the promotion of his crappy observational comedy — is classic Beck.

So make fun of him all you want, but Glenn Beck is not crazy. He is a very wealthy and possibly visionary fraud, the Bernie Madoff of conservative anger and fear in the Obama era. He is laughing and crying in the plush backseat of his stretch limo right along with you, all the way to the bank.


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