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Glenn Beck: Clown Prince of Propaganda

October 2nd, 2010 · 3 Comments · Corporations and Industry, Culture, Media, Politics

There is always a question whether or not to give any kind of attention to the show-off–the kid who acts out in class because he doesn’t get enough attention at home. The kid whom everyone shuns either withdraws into his shell or becomes the one who disrupts things for others. Not necessarily the funny kid, but the kid who simply craves attention.

The adult version of that kid is Glenn Beck.

Beck is a television commentator who talks seriously or pretends to be serious about things like whether we should have another civil war which he calls the “civilest” war. He talks about whether the President is a citizen despite overwhelming evidence that this slight technicality is not true, has been repeatedly proved to be merely a lie by those who hang onto it for the publicity of continuing to claim it.

He carries on with a television show and claims not only to be serious but at the same time not serious. Despite the fact that his lunacy and wild commentary have lost him over 290 advertisers, he carries on with the support of the Fox News propaganda machine. He thinks Sarah Palin is not only qualified but has the right stuff to be President.

He somehow also continues to lose audience every day, some perhaps switching to a similar type of unreality program but a different format, say: “World’s Greatest Car Crashes,” or “Donald Trump Fires Someone,” or “Cops Doing Something to Someone—Anything.”

So why does Fox keep him on? Returning to the school child seeking attention analogy, Rupert Murdoch of Fox News Channel is not like the disciplinary teacher. He is more like that substitute teacher who comes in and lets everyone do whatever they want, particularly the act-out specialist, like Beck, because it diverts attention from how bad a teacher he is. Beck, however, has spent his life as a show-off, as you will see.

When you think of how weird Beck is, remember that before Rupert Murdoch bought the formerly prestigious WALL STREET JOURNAL, he had made a fortune selling sleaze. Murdoch was the slime king of English and Australian journalism. Still is. He is a despicable dirty old man on steroids, not some journalistic elder statesman. Beck fits right in.

Beck is an interesting case. He has always had the personality of a radio entertainer. The story of his winning a contest to be a radio disk jockey is well-known, largely because he promotes it. But it is true that he has dedicated himself to on-air radio. He has the characteristics: a glib style, short attention span, little scholarly interest, immediate gratification, a risk-it-all attitude and the willingness to be heard or be fired.

He wasn’t always a talk show host. The earliest indications that he might want to do that came after years as a top-40 format disk jockey. As far back as 1993, when things began to change in the radio industry and people began to buy up large numbers of radio stations, Beck was in Connecticut when his station was bought up by Clear Channel.

And they had a talk radio channel too. But Beck was far from making the change. He was a bad drunk and drug addict. He seems to have been one of those drunks that doesn’t put the lampshade on his head and tell bad jokes. As one colleague puts it, he used to treat people badly. “He used to take people to a bar and sit them down and just humiliate them in public. He was a sadist, the kind of guy who rips wings off of flies,”

Clear Channel by then was gobbling up small networks. They would eventually own more than 1,200. Beck was on the FM station but he did not fail to take notice of Rush Limbaugh on AM talk radio and his brash and iconoclast daily performances, lashing out at the Clinton Administration.

By 1995, Beck had sobered up, remarried, and made an all-out effort to emulate the Limbaugh style, catching on with a talk radio station in Tampa. During his rehabilitation phase, he had apparently learned to read. Consequently, he discovered an eclectic group of authors that included Alan Dershowitz, Pope John Paul II, Adolf Hitler, Billy Graham, Carl Sagan, and Friedrich Nietzsche.

Glenn Beck has been diagnosed with ADHD, which means that he has a great deal of difficulty concentrating on one thing. The types of rants that he conducts are quite consistent with that diagnosis, reaching for one thing and then another. And that reading list further confirms it.

Another example is that he talks vaguely about things. But for radio, he knows how to be suggestive and make all kinds of connections between to thoughts that have no real connection, either before or after he makes one. But he does it in an entertaining way. Of course the helots and the serfs and the peasants eat it up. He talks about “the darkness” for example, but has no idea what he means. The darkness, he said, “…doesn’t understand the light at all.” But we understand Beck. He’s nuts.

Beck says that we are in for a Civil War. Of course the only place that there is any kind of struggle at all is in his head or on Right Wing radio. So, he should get out more, even though we understand that he is afraid. He’s afraid of civil war and afraid of some unspecified “perfect storm” that is coming and afraid of President Obama and afraid of the People, who want jobs, and afraid of soldiers and cops and afraid of losing his water.

Yep. He’s a paranoid freak-out. At least that is his public persona and that is what it has been since the first day he arrived in talk radio full time. He understands radio and television. He sees it as entertainment that he can carry on all kinds of ridiculous accusations and pronouncements about never-to-happen events, knowing that his audience doesn’t really care. A lunatic is good entertainment until the car-crash programming comes on. Then his audience switches channels or stations.

He wants you to buy gold, to buy a short-wave radio (nothing good on short-wave radio) and to buy water, apparently. It has been reported, by the way, that his gold sponsors are being investigated for defrauding the public.

So, he wants you to stock up on gold, water, short-wave radios, buy land with water rights (but if there’s a panic over water, maybe also an automatic weapon or two?)

Beck says to let the cops and soldiers know that you are a law abiding citizen. Why would you have to do that? He knows. That’s how his mind works. It implies a coup, a takeover, martial law. He doesn’t care that it makes no sense. He’s happy if someone believes him.

Now Beck has really gone into full-blown paranoia. He wants veterans of the Viet Nam war to “come out of retirement” to fight “hippies.” Here is a guy who is stuck in the 1970s who was never in the 1970s. Not only that but he wouldn’t know Port from Starboard or which end of the gun to fire. He would last about one day in boot camp and about three minutes on the obstacle course.

Beck doesn’t understand what serious Viet Nam vets have long known that LBJ, Nixon and the whole damned lot of them figured out pretty soon after we were in Viet Nam that it was a mistake. It turned out that Viet Nam was not a crucial hinge in our world wide defense against Communism. But, Beck, it ain’t that easy to wind down a war…beware.

It was a Civil War and there was no Robert E. Lee or Abraham Lincoln over there to end it peacefully. So no one is going to go back and fight that war or the hippies who were right or the Viet Nam vets who were patriotic and courageous. Beck is looking for more gold sales and more rating points on the backs of people he thinks he can fool into getting into another scrap.

There’s no crusade. It is pure Beck, and it has been the same all the way back to his days in early radio. He doesn’t care about the people who listen to him at all. Here’s an example.

When he and a partner were in Baltimore, they invented an amusement park. They scheduled an opening and a large-scale promotion. Then, without telling anyone that they were joking, they allowed the interested people of Baltimore to drive around and around, looking for the amusement park, which did not exist. Very funny.

When Beck was in Louisville, he spent a very large part of his time mocking one of his competitors and making fun of the fact that she was overweight. He even spent time ridiculing her in the days leading up to her marriage. Very funny.

Before his first wife left him, in Phoenix, another one of his road stops, he took the time to call the wife of one of his radio competitors, and one of his wife’s friends, to ask her—on air—how she felt about her recent miscarriage. This is the “funny guy,” the guy who thinks it is funny to be the kind of guy who—what was it they said about him—“tears the wings off flies?”

This is the almighty hero of the Right Wing, the brilliant, never-successful disk jockey, who switched to playing tricks on the poor unsuspecting hicks. Now he thinks it is funny to lie to them about their Social Security and Medicare. If Beck succeeds in getting the Republican Party a victory in this fall’s elections, these poor people will lose everything.

Beck has proved that he cares about no one but himself. These Neocon supporters, Tea Baggers and Republicans may be ignorant and some of them may be racists, but his lies fuel their animosities. His encouragement, with false information, will not only result in disaster for them when they vote against their own best interests, but it will affect tens of millions of other people as well.

It’s all about money for Beck and getting the message out for Murdoch, the Koch Brothers and big international corporations. He has found his own way to riches and it has nothing to do with ratings or sponsors any longer. He discovered the pot of gold.

Remember this. Beck has lost over 290 sponsors for Fox News Channel. That is hundreds of millions of dollars for NewsCorp and Fox News Channel, which is the only network or channel that will let him on the air. Not just because national advertisers will begin to cancel, but because Beck continues to lose his audience.

Becks’ audience dropped by a third last year, which in most media is sufficient for quick termination. But not when big, Right Wing supporters will pony up money to Murdoch in other ways to keep “their boy” on the air. Same goes for radio advertisers. Truth? Forget it. This is about Right Wing propaganda.

This is all hidden from the public but not hard to understand. Very large corporations are doing things and making outrageous profits on the backs of the American people. In almost every industry—oil, television, retailing, pharmaceuticals, health care, telecommunications, airlines—every industry, only a half-dozen huge corporations dominate each market. They control markets, employment and pricing.

They make huge profits from this and they do not want any insurgents from the Democratic Party to be elected and start making them pay taxes, bring jobs back to the U.S., create low-cost, high-quality health care, and stop polluting the air and water.

The handful of large international corporations in this simple non-criminal conspiracy make more profits now than at any time in the history of our country, and certainly in a match-up with the Gilded Age, the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, they have far surpassed, Vanderbilt, Carnegie and Rockefeller.

We don’t realize it because of people like Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh and others who are good at simply telling lies and creating controversy that moves the discussion away from what corporations are doing to us. Radio is controlled by a handful of large corporations like Clear Channel, Infinity, Citadel and a couple of other Right Wing, oil-company-affiliated groups.

The programming is syndicated and there is often no real competition. When you travel around the country, often the only program you can get on a car or truck radio is the one with Rush Limbaugh. He isn’t rich because he is popular. He is rich because the networks that carry him can, and often do, own the competition. With hundreds of stations each, this Right Wing programming literally represents 90% of all on-air commentary in this country. So they own the detestable, lying radio hosts and they own the means of delivery.

Corporations don’t need to collude any more. It’s automatic. The leader raises prices and the others happily follow. The Obama Administration was elected by the People. That is why the Supreme Court, pushed by Justice Scalia and followed by his lap-dogs, Roberts, the titular head, Alito and Thomas, the ultimate Right Wing lackey decided to reach out for the Citizens United case.

Beck is on 500 radio stations, through Premiere, his syndication service, which is a subsidiary of Clear Channel, which has had as many as 1,200 radio stations. These radical Right Wing commentators are heard on as many as 5,000 stations and there is no Liberal or Progressive competition. We are headed for Totalitarian Republican government where the media and the military are controlled by the corporate interests who own the politicians.

Every day we read of some new insult to our Democracy. The wealthiest 1% each day grab a little bit more than the 64% of all corporate stock they presently own. Every day the richest 1% tightens the noose around the neck of the average citizen. Every day literally tens of thousands more fall out of the Middle Class, lose their jobs, homes and cars…and the rich get richer. And only the Democrats can change it.

Rush Limbaugh makes a guaranteed $40 million a year. Sean Hannity makes a guaranteed $20 million a year. And Glen Beck makes something like $30 million a year. Sarah Palin, in only one year of becoming an attack-dog (or more accurately an attack-bitch) for the Republicans and the corporations…selling out…has made over $12 million and the year isn’t over.

Now that corporations can spend as much as they want on political campaigns, the flood gates are open. According to the Democratic Party, many candidates are being outspent already by a 6 to 1 ratio. This is what the corporations wanted from the Supreme Court.

When the Neocon Supreme court team had the chance to serve their masters, the big sponsors of their Party, they took the case and quickly ruled that corporations, being “people” have the right to spend as much as they like on political campaigns, thus destroying our elective process. With unrestricted money and unlimited, unregulated messages on television, large corporations can literally buy an election, demonize a candidate and take over Congress.

Beck is a never-ending source of idiocy. His paranoid delusions know no bounds. For example, he has said recently that “economic terror” is coming our way. But, as always, there are no specifics. There are never any specifics, or if there are they are tenuous connections that only Beck sees. The President says something and in 1954 someone said something and in 1975 someone died and then there was 9/11 and now disaster looms. None of the connections are really connected and fall apart on the very first bit of research.

This all comes from Beck’s lifelong obsession with radio, with the wall between him and the audience. And it comes from his disk jockey background, from the age of 18 until the age of about 35 as a top-40, FM, radio jock and from his non-stop publicity stunts.

Beck was fired or left stations from Provo, Utah to Washington, D.C. to Corpus Christie to Phoenix to Houston to Baltimore to New Haven, from one rock and roll FM station to another, with his crazy voices and his silly stunts, even dressing up as a Banana on one occasion.

His self-promoting game was like the amusement park stunt…playing tricks on unsuspecting people. He once put a gerbil in a bank vacuum tube and sent it to a bank teller who was known to be phobic about rodents. A sadistic, clown. But in his own dealings with others, considered not funny, but an arrogant asshole.

As he began to do more and more AM radio, Beck’s character began to take on a political tone, He remembered how effective he had considered those broadcasts of Rush Limbaugh he had listened to earlier in his career. Now he decided that the same kind of propaganda, wedded to his knack for making up lies for publicity would serve him well.

The problem with Beck is not only that he is spreading false information on behalf of very sinister forces. When he creates some phony-patriotic scheme based on half truths and vaguely sinister notions to promote a rock and roll station, that is one thing. But when he is paid to do it for a hugely wealthy corporation to cut the unemployment payments of his million listeners, that is another thing entirely.

Causing people to wander around for an hour looking for a non-existent amusement park is one thing. Persuading unsuspecting people to vote for Senators who will take away their health care or their Social Security is another.

So when Glenn Beck falsely accuses the President of being a “racist” and says that we are headed for a “Civil War” then his words are causing serious damage to society. Society cannot function with people like Beck and Hannity and O’Reilly and Limbaugh and literally hundreds of others paid by Neoconservative organizations to spout false information over radio and television networks day after day.

If this continues, we will have another Third Reich, right here in the United States. And then we will have a civil war. You can count on the fact that all these draft dodging, pudding-brained, ex-disk jockeys and gossip columnists…and probably their current leader, the immigrant Rupert Murdoch, will not stay around for the bloodshed.

We have already been thrown into one war for no reason except oil company greed. That cost the United States 4500 lives and 30,000 additional casualties. Not to mention that it was a violation of international law.

We need to find a way to totally de-fund people like Beck and Limbaugh before their reckless comments get us all killed.

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