21 Sep 2009

Frank Rich on Glenn Beck

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Apropos of my recent email exchange with Glenn Greenwald, I found this paragraph from a Frank Rich column (HT2LRC) interesting:

“Wall Street owns our government,” Beck declared in one rant this July. “Our government and these gigantic corporations have merged.” He drew a chart to dramatize the revolving door between Washington and Goldman Sachs in both the Hank Paulson and Timothy Geithner Treasury departments. A couple of weeks later, Beck mockingly replaced the stars on the American flag with the logos of corporate giants like G.E., General Motors, Wal-Mart and Citigroup (as well as the right’s usual nemesis, the Service Employees International Union). Little of it would be out of place in a Matt Taibbi article in Rolling Stone. Or, we can assume, in Michael Moore’s coming film, “Capitalism: A Love Story,” which reportedly takes on Goldman and the Obama economic team along with conservative targets.

Rich’s discussion is particularly ironic, since Greenwald had quoted Matt Taibbi himself, explaining why all the tea party and town hall protesters were morons for ignoring the big-business influence in DC.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that Glenn Greenwald has listened to Beck’s radio program about as much as I listened to Al Franken’s. I know some of you are astounded that I even listen to Beck, because you’ve sampled Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh, and thinks it’s the same thing.

But no, it really isn’t. Now as I finally admitted to myself by this post, it’s all an act. (Or let’s say, 98.6% an act.) But the act is pretty interesting, for such a mainstream program. Yes, Beck spends a lot of time ranting about ACORN. But how GG can refer to it as the “ACORN ‘scandal'” (i.e. with “scandal” in quotation marks) is beyond me; have you actually seen the video?! It’s unbelievable. It’s like when people flipped out about tax dollars funding that “art” of a crucifix submerged in urine. It’s true, that artist didn’t get as much money as defense contractors. But you can understand why taxpayers would flip out about that, and it would be ridiculous to accuse them of hypocrisy for doing so.

Back to Beck: Yes, he spends a lot of time ripping ACORN, and part of the reason (besides the comedy) is that ACORN is quite obviously an organization that will mobilize to elect Democrats in 2010–and Beck quite proudly says he opposes their agenda. (In other words, Beck’s not making a secret of taking measures on his show to prevent the advancement of the Democratic leadership’s agenda. Nothing hidden on that front.)

But Beck also spends a ton of time ripping Goldman Sachs (remember this?) and General Electric. In fact, anytime he mentions GE, they play a jingle that says, “GE…we bring e-vil to light.”

And yes, GE owns Fox’s competitors, duh. But Greenwald and Taibbi simply do not know what they’re talking about, when they say Glenn Beck focuses his listeners’ ire at poor minorities instead of big corporations.

Last point: What do I mean when I say Glenn Beck is not Sean Hannity + self-deprecating humor? Well, recently Glenn Beck was telling his listeners that it was getting close to the time when they should seriously consider engaging in mass civil disobedience, to go in the streets to protest the takeover of their government by special interests (which included big money guys like Soros, it wasn’t a “codeword for black people”), but that it was essential they do it peacefully like Gandhi. Now OF COURSE you can say, “Oh he’s just saying that for ratings.” Right. But isn’t it interesting that that’s the way he is trying to get ratings, by telling people there comes a point at which they need to start breaking laws? This isn’t the Excellence in Broadcasting Network.

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