Defending Glenn Beck

Defending Glenn Beck:

Quite simply, at a time when conservatives find themselves so far out of power that all they can hope to do is stand athwart the Obama administration’s attempt to remake America yelling “stop,” no one has been more effective. “What I find striking is that if Beck were of the Left, taking down (or helping to take down) Bush appointees—with the same bombast and success—he would be hailed as the living reincarnation of the great Muckrakers of yore,” Jonah Goldberg rightly observes. “He’d be the working man’s I. F. Stone, the TV heir to Michael Moore (which is a good thing to the Left). If he explored the roots and idea animating conservatism the way he has with progressivism, he would be a vital service to the education of the nation.”

As another conservative friend of mine says, “Why should we play by the rules laid down by NBC or the New York Times, anyway? Where’s their distress about the incivility at MSNBC or the Huffington Post?” The Left has what most sensible souls would call more than its fair share of over-the-top types—and one of them was just elected to the Senate from Minnesota.

I admit to being unsure what to think about him but he gets results and upsets the right people.

16 thoughts on “Defending Glenn Beck

  1. Dan

    that piece is a disgrace to real muckrakers who stand by facts. Glenn Beck is not a muckraker. He is an entertainer. He says so himself. He says we should not be taking him seriously. Why is he, therefore, the leader of the conservative movement? An entertainer? I mean, I know you guys like your actor presidents and all, but seriously, take yourselves more seriously and your ideology more seriously. Glenn Beck will destroy conservatism. Already the Republican party is only liked in the South. Everywhere else, it is utterly disliked.

    Glenn Beck and his ilk ought to be shunned by reasonable, rational conservatives rather than heralded as the savior of conservatism. I’ve said again and again, though, that the conservative movement has gone off the deep end.

  2. jfc

    Dan, you get around. You are the typical Libral with the talking points, so of course you are going to say stuff like this. I’m a conservative, love the constitution, love this country and can’t stand to see to it ruined by this Hope and Change LIE. Same old corruption and just getting worst!! Thanks Goodness someone has the courage to stand up and point this out. GO Mr. Beck!! No I’m not from the south and I am a reasonable and rational person. And I KNOW a whole lot of people who are and agree that enough is enough!!

  3. Jed Sundwall

    Glenn Beck is a cynic and a fool, and conservatives would be wise to not let him speak on their behalf—just as liberals should have better spokesmen than John Stewart and Michael Moore.

    I have yet to hear anything from Beck that makes him “courageous.” And I have no idea what he’s so afraid of.

  4. David H. Sundwall Post author

    Dan –

    I don’t think Beck will destroy conservatism anymore than Keith Olberman or Michael Moore will destroy liberalism. He has his place and serves a function. He’s over the top and bombastic and I don’t enjoy listening to him all that much but he was the only one in the media with sufficient influence to cover Van Jones and ACORN.

    Bloggers did most of the legwork but he brought those stories to a larger audience. Even with the newspapers and networks ignoring both stories, the White House, Census Bureau and Congress took the issues seriously and reacted. I don’t if that would have happened without Beck.

    So Beck is doing pretty well for an entertainer. I wouldn’t say he’s “courageous” or the leader of the conservative movement but he’s filling a void. If Beck was the only conservative speaker out there then maybe you would have a point and conservatives would be in trouble. But there are all kinds of conservative thinkers and leaders that we can rely on. Fortunately, the President is also doing his best to galvanize conservatives to get their acts together.

    jfc –

    It sounds like we mostly agree but its best not to respond to talking pints with just your own. I’m sure Dan loves his country too but he obviously has a very different perspective from ours.

    Dear brother Jed –

    I cannot defend all of what Beck says but just point out the double standard that Stewart and Moore are generally lauded by the media and taken seriously (Stewart does have his moments like his takedown on the media’s complete surrender on ACORN).

    On the other hand, conservative pundits like Limbaugh and Beck are constantly imputed to have bad motives and harmful to our country, unlike their lefty counterparts. That’s where I think it’s worthwhile to back off the Beck bashing.

  5. Hillary H

    I think Mr. Beck deserves an award for his ability to do what the rest of the loser media won’t do, (Their job). He may claim to be an entertainer, but I find him to be much more influential and on target than most entertainers today. Those who dismiss him, shouldn’t be so arrogant. He is an amazing American and one who deserves our gratitude for having the courage to say the things that no one else will. You may not agree with all that he has to say, but Beck is asking questions and standing up…is anyone else??

  6. Jed Sundwall

    The fact that the media laud Stewart and Moore does not sway my belief that Beck and his ilk (including Olberman) are buffoons. To be honest, Stewart makes me laugh and I usually think he’s on point (and actually courageous in his criticism of the media), but I don’t like the bitterness he brings to the discourse.

    If you’re happy with Beck’s ability to sway public opinion to meet the GOP’s agenda, that’s fine. But that’s about as far as any defense should go. He’s only “good for America” or “amazing” or “courageous” as far as you agree with him and his motives. He may be useful to the GOP, but I haven’t encountered anything honorable about him as a journalist, reporter, analyst, or thinker. Perhaps it’s because I’m not very impressed by the GOP these days.

    Or perhaps I’m not watching enough.

  7. Dan

    where is this “media” that lauds Stewart and Moore? What fantasy world do you live in Jed? Show me examples of the “media” lauding Stewart and Moore.

  8. Dan

    This was written in 1998, but is spot on.

    The Republicans are too conservative: Their deference to their southern base is persuading much of the country that their vision is a sour and crabbed one. But they’re too liberal, too, as their all-out retreat from shrinking the government indicates. At the same time, the Republicans have passed none of the reforms that ingratiated the party with the “radical middle.” The Republicans’ biggest problem is not their ideology but their lack of one. Stigmatized as rightists, behaving like leftists, and ultimately standing for nothing, they’re in the worst of all possible worlds.

    That’s why the Republicans spent months waiting for a Clinton scandal to blossom. Like the Democrats of the 1970s, they are now the party with a stake in institutional disruption and bad news. And their resemblance to the corrupt dynasty they overthrew does not stop there. Their party is now directionless, with only two skills to recommend it: first, identifying and prosecuting the excesses of its opponents; second, rigging the campaign finance system to protect its incumbency long after it has ceased having any ideas that would justify incumbency. The Republican Party is an obsolescent one. It may continue to rule, disguised as a majority by electoral legerdemain. But it will be a long time before the party is again able to rule from a place in Americans’ hearts.

    It is a zombie party, led by Glenn Beck. “Institutional disruption and bad news.” There are no better words to describe what Glenn Beck does best. For conservatives and Republicans to survive, they must purge the Glenn Becks of the party. They must remove them from their position of power and influence. If they cannot, the party is done for.

  9. sam

    To quote John McEnroe: “You Can’t Be Serious.” If you honestly think Glenn Beck is some kind of journalist or engaged in anything noble or good or upbuilding, you are beyond help. He is a sleazy hatemongerer. Nothing more, nothing less. And if you think he is good for conservativsm, you are really off the deep end. Sam Tanenhaus, author of “The Death of Conservatism,” himself a conservative, says that when people like Beck and Limbaugh become the intellectual pillars of conservativsm, you know it is dead. I agree with the above post wholeheartedly. If the Republican Party ever wants to be a ruling party again, it must purge the party of the cooks and crazies and get back to serious political discourse.

  10. David B

    The thing that amuses me most in discussions like this is the argument over the claim that the media loves Stewart and Moore but hates Beck. Well, *sure*! It’s completely true–but only for *some* *parts* of the media. There are other parts of the media that love Beck but hate Stewart and Moore. (There are also other parts of the media that hate them all, and others who are just into the fighting and love all of them.)

    I guess what i’m saying is: Would everybody please just get off the “we’re persecuted” nonsense? I don’t know why, but all sides in political debates nowadays seem to be feeling this strange urge to prove that their side is being persecuted. Well, you’re wrong–nobody’s being persecuted in this. There are parts of the world where journalists are actively hunted down and killed–now *that’s* courageous people being hated and persecuted by others. Stewart and Moore and Beck? Controversial, sure, but there’s no proper hatred there.


  11. David H. Sundwall Post author

    I don’t think anyone is being persecuted, but many in the Bloggernacle seem mightily embarrassed by him being a member.

    I just heard a 2 hour interview w/ Sam Tannehaus and he doesn’t call himself a conservative. Conservatives and the GOP have taken a beating in recent elections but its cyclical and I think any analyses predicting conservatives doom is ignorant of political cycles and wishful thinking.

    Not having listened to Beck much, I can say he isn’t my cup of tea. But I think having a part in exposing a self-proclaimed communist, 9-11 truther who worked in the White House and how corrupt ACORN is good for the country, not just a particular party. So for that kudos.

  12. David H. Sundwall Post author

    I forgot to add that I agree that kicking out the (really) crazies is important to any party. The right did it in the 60’s when they kicked out the Birchers and Rand-ophiles.

    And fortunately, it looks like some of that happening again. CPAC announced that they won’t be letting Birthers speak at the conference next year which is a good sign.

  13. David B

    Agreed on the good sign for the party thing. Good for the nation, too, IMO–i’d like to see a healthy multiparty system (think Germany), but i’ll take two healthy parties quite happily. Right now we don’t have that–and even though i agree with the currently healthy party more than the currently unhealthy one, i’m uncomfortable with a lack of an opposition strong enough to apply the brakes.

    (Which was an issue the other way in 2002–sometimes the cycle can run amazingly quickly.)

  14. Aaron

    It’s not “liberals” who think Beck is dangersous. Check out what well-known conservatives like Joe Scarborough and David Frum have been saying about him lately. This man is a menace.

  15. John

    For what it’s worth, check out David Brooks’ column in the Oct. 2 New York Times. Here’s another conservative who thinks Republicans are nuts to believe that the talk show noisemakers have anything good to offer the party.

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