The Conspiracy

Anti-Semitism and the Gospel of Glenn

Uproar abounds (again) as Glenn Beck says something sensational and reckless. Everybody and their bubbe are condemning Beck today, with the appropriate amount of moral indignation and outrage. Could it be true?! Is Glenn Beck an … (whispers) anti-Semite?

Let’s be clear. Glenn Beck is not a journalist. Glenn Beck is not a professor or scholar in any capacity. Glenn Beck is not an authority on … well, anything. But, Glenn Beck is not an idiot, and he is (likely) not crazy.

So, what is Glenn Beck? Glenn Beck is a capitalist. Glenn Beck is an entertainer. The man is selling a product, and he’s making out like a bandit. Dude made $35 million last year doing live shows, selling books … the usual. $35 million.

I watch Beck’s program on occasion. It makes my head hurt. There’s little in the way of rationality, sanity or accuracy. It’s the lowest of lowbrow, fear-mongering, proselytizing propaganda. It’s the gospel of Glenn.

Glenn Beck identified a niche, some disturbed desire among the American masses who tune into his show daily to have their unfounded paranoia about the liberal left (read: fascist, communist, socialist, elitist, Nazi, devil-worshipping, pure vindictive evil) validated, and he filled it.

So, I’m skeptical as to whether Beck himself buys into some of it. I go back and forth.

My fear is that many among Beck’s audience do buy into it. That they accept Glenn’s narrative as reality without a moment’s hesitation. I don’t think it’s unfounded.

On the other hand, John Stewart and Stephen Colbert rounded up more than twice as many people to attend their simultaneous rally to restore sanity than Beck did to his Rally to Restore Honor. Maybe, not all hope is lost. Maybe it just speaks to the political demographics of D.C. (which are not indicative of the country).

Regardless, I really wonder about all the allegations of anti-Semitism, Holocaust trivialization and Holocaust revisionism flying around this week. Does Glenn Beck buy into this or is he just being inflammatory because that’s what Glenn Beck does?

I didn’t watch the pseudo-intellectual George Soros “documentary” on Fox that was the source of the shouts of anti-Semitism aimed at goyishe Glenn. (No surprise that Abe Foxman has spoken out vehemently against the self-proclaimed “rodeo clown”). I don’t even know that much about Soros, to be honest.

So, I won’t try to reinvent the wheel. Check out Marc Tracy’s posts at Tablet or Michelle Goldberg’s at The Daily Beast. They both do an excellent job outlining the issue.

My question: Is this not exactly what Beck wants?

A friend of mine pointed out that Glenn is really performing to two audiences. There is the audience of the faithful (those that tune in daily to get a dose of the gospel). Then there are the rest of us who hear what Glenn Beck has to say and become riled up and infuriated.

Glenn Beck is trying to get a rise out of us. He knows we’re listening and he knows that he can elicit a reaction … all to his benefit. The man loves publicity. It’s all dollar signs.

The man is a distraction, at best, but can we ignore him? Should we treat him like a child and disregard his taunts and provocations? He works very hard to make the answer to that question “No.”

But if we continue to simply react to the (sometimes-horrific) statements Beck makes, do we continue to legitimize him and his skewed narrative of reality? Do we continue to allow him to frame the discourse?

I really don’t have the answer.

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5 Older Responses to “Anti-Semitism and the Gospel of Glenn”

  1. TLOS
    November 12, 2010 at 12:22 am #

    Let me guess… this “magazine” is funded by George Soros.

  2. David A.M. Wilensky
    November 12, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    TLOS, I see your scare quotes and raise you two: How on “earth” did you arrive at that “conclusion,” exactly?

  3. Ben Sales
    November 12, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    Also, TLOS, this magazine receives no funds whatsoever from George Soros. I also have no idea why you would guess that.

  4. Max Moncaster
    November 14, 2010 at 12:08 am #

    You said early in the article that Glenn Beck is not an authority on anything. But given that so many people listen to him and buy in to him, he is an authority. Opinion leaders like Beck who interpret the news for other people wield a considerable amount of influence over them. While I wish we could ignore him, the fact that a considerable number of Americans look to him means that he is not simply a “distraction.”

  5. Mayer Jacobovits
    November 19, 2010 at 3:12 am #

    First let’s get one fact straight; Glen Beck’s on the Mall audience was twice as large or larger than John Stewart and Stephen Colbert shindik.
    Second, there is no evidence that Glen Beck is anti-semitic, and he is a stron supporter of Israel, on the other hand…
    George Soros is not a supporter of Israel and many of his actions can easily be interpreted as anti-semitic, such as supporting anti-semitic organizations.

    Get over the “liberal” propaganda and concentrate on the facts. It will eliminate your confusion.

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