Today, I received an email from Media Matters for America, David Brock's watchdog group. Now, don't get me wrong: I like what MMfA does, and I consider them worthy of support. One certainly can't begrudge their right to crow about Glenn Beck's decision to "transition" away from Fox News.
But Brock seems to take credit for Beck's exit:
With your help, we've been able to make the case that Beck has a dangerous impact on the national conversation -- and we've been able to ensure that Fox's promotion of Beck has had real-life consequences for the network's credibility and its advertising dollars. Beck's show has lost nearly 1 million viewers in the last year, and more than 300 advertisers since its debut.
No-one other than David Brock says that Brock is the Beck-slayer. By all means, donate to MMfA -- but not for that
So why did
Beck leave? The Guardian thinks that Beck's show -- which is still quite successful -- has damaged the image
of Fox. NPR
hints at squabbles with management.
My own guess? Beck would shriek at anyone who called him an anti-Semite, and his cheerleading for Israel matches that of any other Fox newser. But the fact is that he draws many of his conspiracy theories from conservatism's more scrofulous ghettos, where the ghosts of Father Coughlin and Gerald L.K. Smith still prowl and howl. Beck's chief inspiration is Cleon Skousen, an old-school Jew-hater who, like many other Jew-haters of his era, found that he could sell his paranoia more easily if he subjected his texts to a search-and-replace, taking out the word "Jew" and putting in the word "Communist." Perhaps Beck has been pulling the same trick all along. Perhaps Beck's loud support for Israel was simply a shtick, a dance he had to do in order to achieve the position he now holds.
Glenn Beck is, in short, close kin to the folks who want you to take the Protocols of Zion
seriously. I wouldn't be surprised if one day he drops the petticoat and shows what's underneath. With a guy like Beck, you've always gotta wonder when he'll have a Mel Gibson moment.
The Republican party -- and let's face it: Fox pretty much is
the Republican party these days -- probably understands that the time has come to moderate the act, at least to some
degree. In 2010, Harry Reid would have lost if he had faced anyone but Sharron "shoot-em-up" Angle. The GOP got the message.
But Beck didn't. The guy is uncontrollable, and he won't support anyone who isn't as wacky as he is.
The closest thing to a moderate that the Republicans have is Mitt Romney -- who, like Beck, is a Mormon. But Beck has denounced Romney as a "socialist,"
on the grounds that Obamacare resembles Romneycare. Which it does. A team player wouldn't have mentioned the similarity.
Thus, Beck leaves the team.Shed a tear:
When Glenn Beck wept on air for the first time, pundits presumed that he had torpedoed his chance at celebrity. Instead, he became the second-most popular on-air personality, after Oprah. It eventually came out that he uses Vicks Vaporub
to achieve that lachrymose look.
What does this phenomenon say
about America? When I was a boy, cheap ploys of this sort were out of the question. What has happened
to my country, to the land that I love so much?Sniff.
You'll have to excuse me. I'm having a Vicks moment.