When rumors first emerged that Glenn Beck was likely to lose his perch on the Fox News Channel, he responded with the confidence of a Messianic warrior saying “I will find another way to get my message out on a platform that will be a thousand times more powerful!”
Well, the rumors proved to be true and Beck was cast off of Fox and hurled into the cacophony of the Internet. Since then he has frantically stumbled around searching for an identity and grasping at phantom opportunities to keep his movement humming. He began by launching GBTV, a subscription Internet video blog that he delusionally described as a television network. Despite his assertions that it was a huge success, he submerged it into his web “news” site The Blaze.
Now Beck is making another u-turn with the announcement that he is re-branding his entire operation as a “global Libertarian news network,” whatever that means. He claims that he will be opening three foreign bureaus in cities that are “important to America” (presumably that nixes Paris, Caracas, and Beijing), and will relocate his staff to a new facility in Manhattan that “will piss everyone off” (He must have found space at 30 Rock between MSNBC and Chuck E. Cheese).
Beck, one of the most hostile and divisive characters in modern media, now says that he wants to distance himself from the left/right squabbles of cable news saying that “We’re not gonna play in that crazy space.” Apparently he has a whole new crazy space that he’d like to pioneer. But it’s hard to see where he would fit in the Libertarian realm. With his overtly evangelical appeals to religion, he is more aligned with theocracy than the secular oriented individualism of Libertarians. And after spending the last several years bashing liberals as “a cancer on America,” it’s unlikely that a rational, centrist audience is going to find him credible.
It is telling that Beck says that “I’m a lot closer to Penn Jillette than I am to Chuck Hagel.” So Beck is confessing that he is more like an entertainer whose specialty is to create illusions, than he is like a mainstream Republican legislator and veteran.
Beck has had so many public personalities it is difficult to keep track of them all. When the Tea Party was new Beck introduced his own version that he called the “912 Project.” Then he attempted to recruit followers to join his “Watchdogs.” Then he unveiled an ambitious bit of lunacy he called “The Plan,” a 100 year blueprint for the restoration of an America. Then there was his pitch for political activism, “In or Out 2010,” aimed at lobbying the politicians in Washington he had previously dismissed. And there was something he called the “Refounders,” an homage to America’s founding fathers whom he had elevated to the status of saints. And who could forget his “E4 Solution” that he promised would “chart a course boldly into the future.” All of these excursions were launched with a glorious fanfare, and all were later abandoned in the trash heap of discarded publicity stunts.
So now Beck is dressing up in new costume that, like all the rest, is designed to capture media attention and boost his publicity and bank account. If he is able to scare up any support from Libertarians, it will only be those of the most shallow (and gullible) variety who aren’t put off by his insistence that all rights are granted only by God, and that Armageddon is upon us so ye had better purchase over-priced gold coins from his sponsor. However a more likely scenario is that, when this scheme fails, he will ditch it and get out the trumpets to announce another re-invention in hopes of drawing in few more suckers.