There have been too many bizarre events in the past year to keep track of. This election is going to provide material for a whole library worth of books and analyses. And one of the subsections of the collection is going to have to cover the metamorphosis of Glenn Beck.
When the campaign season began Beck was reluctant to choose a candidate. It was an embarrassment of riches with several of Beck’s favorite wingnuts in the running. However, as the roster whittled down he eventually decided that Ted Cruz was God’s choice for president and Beck took up the Lord’s cause.
Unfortunately for God, Cruz was bested by a reality TV game show host. Donald Trump tagged him as Lying’ Ted and cast him into the Lake of Fire. Throughout it all, Beck remained firmly opposed to Trump. At every opportunity he blasted The Donald as unbalanced and unfit. It was jarring to see Beck taking a position that was in alignment with many progressives, at least so far as NeverTrump was concerned. But he still wasn’t on board with Hillary Clinton.
Nicholas Schmidle of New Yorker magazine has noticed Beck’s descent into Bizzaro World as well. He writes that Beck was recently impressed with a speech by Michelle Obama. You know, the wife of the guy that Beck once said had “a deep seated hatred for white people.” On his radio radio show Beck described the First Lady’s speech as “The most effective political speech I have heard since Ronald Reagan.”
Continuing, Beck said that “If you’re a decent human being, those words were dead on.” Although you would still have to wonder what Beck knows about being a decent human being. He has spent most of the last decade condemning liberals to hell and prophesying the end of civilization. But according to Scmidle:
“That was the old Beck, he insists: ‘I did a lot of freaking out about Barack Obama.’ But, he said, ‘Obama made me a better man.’ He regrets calling the President a racist and counts himself a Black Lives Matter supporter. ‘There are things unique to the African-American experience that I cannot relate to,’ he said. ‘I had to listen to them.'”
Of course, Beck has had revelatory transformations before. There is no more reason to believe that this one is any more sincere than the others. It’s often just a scam to attract more media attention. But it is kinda fun. Especially when when he goes after Trump saying that “This guy is dangerously unhinged. And, for all the things people have said about me over the years, I should be able to spot Dangerously Unhinged.” That’s actually pretty funny, and suggests some measure of self-awareness. As does this:
“So much of what I used to believe was either always a sham or has been made into a sham. There’s nothing deep.”
That may be the truest thing that Beck ever said. He is tacitly admitting the fallacy of his whole career as a demagogic broadcaster. Although he isn’t quite admitting that he was responsible for creating the sham.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
Time will tell if this incarnation of Beck lasts for more than a couple of ratings periods. But it’s gonna be interesting to watch how his fans react to this transformation. We may already have a hint of it as Beck worries about recent death threats he’s received from Trump supporters. He’s now saying about some of the folks who used to follow him like a prophet that “These people scare the hell out of me.” Me too, Glenn. Me too.