Category Archives: Glenn Beck

The Great Tea Party Con

UN-believable. Anyone who gave so much as $1 to the Tea Party got fleeced in a well-orchestrated conservative con job:

“The arrangement was simply FreedomWorks paid Glenn Beck money and Glenn Beck said nice things about FreedomWorks on the air,” Armey, the former House majority leader, told Media Matters Friday. “I saw that a million dollars went to Beck this past year, that was the annual expenditure.”

Armey, who left the organization this past fall after a dispute over its internal operations, said a similar arrangement was also in place with Rush Limbaugh, but did not know the exact financial details.

Wow. So the Tea Party was basically a massive shake-down by the conservative media. Beck and Limbaugh get all the white folks in a lather about some invented Obama conspiracy they cooked up, then they tell everyone to donate to FreedomWorks to fight said manufactured horrible thing, and all the money goes straight back to Beck and Limabugh.

You know what gets me? That Dick Armey had nooo problem with this little scam as long as he was in charge of FreedomWorks. But he obviously knew the whole set-up was a grift, because he wouldn’t be spilling the beans about it now.

These people have no shame. Every damn one of them should be thrown in jail for fraud. The syndicators and networks who aired their programming were complicit in the fraud, and they need to be held accountable too. And finally, the MSM which decided the Tea Party was some shiny-sparkly political toy deserve to go out of business for their negligence.

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Filed under conservatives, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Tea Party

Kabuki Like A Fox

This is nothing new to a lot of us, but reading New York magazine’s “The Elephant In The Green Room” does reaffirm what we’ve all long suspected: that the cable news media is less worried about actual political reporting, about actual facts, about actual news, even about actual partisan ideology, than it is worried about its profits. And it is these profits which shape their partisanship, their reporting, their conflation of fact with fiction.

I know, I know: big deal. “Beale: We know this, already!” Yes, yes, and yes. But I think even I underestimated to what degree this cynicism has overpowered cable news. I mean yes, I knew Fox News’ politics is more about profits than any hardcore ideology but I guess I figured that there was a scintilla of conservative ideology in there. But really, Rupert Murdoch considered endorsing Obama before the presidential election? Really? And then there’s this:

By October 2008, Ailes recognized that Obama was likely to beat McCain. He needed to give his audience a reason to stay in the stands and watch his team.

And so he went on a hiring spree. By the time Obama defeated McCain, Ailes had hired former Bush aide Karl Rove and Mike Huckabee and went on to assemble a whole lineup of prospective 2012 contenders: Palin, Gingrich, Santorum, and John Bolton.

It was, more than anything, a business decision. “It would be easy to look at Fox and think it’s conservative because Rupert and Roger are conservative and they program it the way they like. And to a degree, that’s true. But it’s also a business,” a person close to Ailes explained. “And the way the business works is, they control conservative commentary the way ESPN controls the market for sports rights. If you have a league, you have a meeting with ESPN, you find out how much they’re willing to pay, and then everyone else agrees to pay the same amount if they want it … It’s sort of the same at Fox. I was surprised at some of what was being paid until I processed it that way. If you’re ABC and you don’t have Newt Gingrich on a particular morning, you can put someone else on. But if you’re Fox, and Newt is moving and talking today, you got to have him. Otherwise, your people are like, ‘Where’s Newt? Why isn’t he on my channel?’ ”

Fox also had to compete with CNN for pundits. In early 2008, then–CNN-U.S. president Jon Klein invited Mike Huckabee to breakfast at the Time Warner Center. Klein sold Huckabee on the benefits of CNN. “If you believe what you’re saying, you should try and convince the middle,” Klein told him. It was the same pitch he made later to Karl Rove and to Weekly Standard writer Stephen Hayes. All three turned down Klein and signed with Fox.

I mean, that’s just so cynical. Fox didn’t hire Rove and Huckabee and Palin because they believe in what they have to say, they hired them to corner the market on conservative punditry, the way ESPN has cornered the market on sports coverage.

The problem is, politics is not the same as pro sports. Peoples’ lives aren’t affected depending on who wins the Super Bowl or the World Series. You can turn NBA basketball and even college basketball into a commodity and it really doesn’t matter much. But when you’ve turned news, information and politics into a commodity, packaged and sold like so much laundry detergent, well, there are repercussions. This stuff actually affects peoples’ lives. When you take down ACORN because you’re trying to boost your network’s profits, it affects real people who depended on those services. When you start a war to boost your network’s profits, real people die. Real people are affected by the failure to create jobs, close GITMO, tackle climate change, or to fund women’s health clinics. These are stories which were manipulated on Fox News not because they believed them but because Roger Ailes wanted to make his network more profitable in the Age of Obama so he tacked hard-right and scooped up all the hardcore talent who were and are conservatism’s political stars.

And CNN and MSNBC all did the same thing. Hell, they all do it, to some degree or another. If you wonder why a liberal can’t get booked on a Sunday morning rountable show, it’s because it’s not profitable. And the really tragic thing about it is, information matters! It really, really does! But it’s not being treated responsibly by the people in charge. It’s just academic to them. It’s just a point of profit.

Once upon a time, the network’s news divisions were loss-leaders. They didn’t make money but they gave a network credibility, and the money was made on “The Brady Bunch” and “Adam 12″ and “Charlie’s Angels.” But those days are long gone. The networks no longer have credibility, certainly not the ones on cable, which are wholly for-profit ventures.

Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote this post about Glenn Beck being a GOP liability? Even I wasn’t entirely sure I was right. But damn, I hit it on the money, didn’t I? Remember when we wondered why Glenn Beck would debunk James O’Keefe’s NPR “sting” which was endlesslessly flogged on Fox? Turns out that was just another little squabble in the Beck-Fox News family fight. I mean, never mind that actual policy decisions were being made based on this stuff. For crying out loud, the U.S. Congress very nearly defunded NPR based on the public manipulation resulting from Fox’s internal fights.

And this is the danger which viewers and people in Washington need to get, and get fast: it’s all Kabuki Theater. It’s all manipulation. None of it is real. Don’t make any policy decisions based on what you see or hear in the media. Don’t even base your vote on what you hear or see in the media. Because it’s completely unreliable. Every bit of it could be a lie or manipulation designed wholly to boost the profits of the corporation which owns the broadcaster.

Information is crucial to making informed decisions, but we can no longer trust the messenger. Where this leaves us, I don’t know. We certainly have to work three times as hard to get a clear picture about what’s going on in our world.

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Filed under FOX NEWS, Glenn Beck, media, Rupert Murdoch

>Glenn Beck, Union Man

>[UPDATE 2/25/11]:

Chris Balfe, president of Beck’s production company, says Beck is not an AFTRA member. Woopsies.

————————

I’ll give Glenn Beck props for one thing: he’s been one of the few people in the media talking about the massive rallies of union workers and union supporters happening this week in Wisconsin.

People are protesting Gov. Scott Walker’s extremist anti-union legislation which would eliminate collective bargaining for public employees. There are reports of 30,000 protestors descending on the state capitol yesterday, and today’s rally looks to be as big.

Glenn Beck and the rest of the Fox fools have been whipping up the fear, because liberal rallies are always bad things and full of terrorists and terrorist appeasers and verging on violence (as opposed to conservative rallies which are Patriotic and Free Speech and Constitutional and Freedom and Liberty and yada yada.)

Anyhoo, yesterday Beck told the protestors their unions “are anti-western way of life,” which is the kind of thing people like Beck say: it’s just an insult attached to a group they don’t like (Nazi, communist, terrorist, leech, etc. + liberals, Democrats, Muslims, the poor, etc.), then regurgitated without any thought whatsoever. It’s intellectually lazy, but it gets the job done, and frankly with their audience, no more is required. “This group = bad thing.” Whatever. It’s boring.

I just want someone to ask Beck one thing: aren’t you a member of a union? AFTRA? American Federation of Television And Radio Artists? The same AFTRA campaigning to save Public Broadcasting? Beck’s name is listed on the Los Angeles chapter’s June 2010 ballot under “newsperson.” Maybe there’s another newsperson named Glenn Beck, to which I have to say: dude, I feel sorry for you.

If Glenn Beck is a card-carrying AFTRA member, then he needs to either tear up his union card or STFU about how unions are anti-Western civilization.

Just sayin’.

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Filed under Glenn Beck, unions

Time To Play Glenn Beck Off?

I don’t think this from the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol is a random piece of conservative opinion:

But hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.

Bill Kristol is one of those intellectually dishonest neocons of whom I’ve said, repeatedly, that he’s been wrong about everything since forever. I happen to think if Bill Kristol had an original thought it would die of loneliness, by which I mean, he doesn’t come up with these ideas by himself. I think some serious seeds are being planted within the Republican Party to shove Beck out the door.

Why? Well, I have long suspected Glenn Beck would become a liability for conservatives, sooner rather than later. He was a very useful tool in rallying the partisan base for the midterms, but a presidential election requires an appeal to more mainstream voters. That requires a less divisive approach and in that regard, Beck is a liability.

Last week I saw this item about Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who has a 7% stake in NewsCorp. Al-Waleed bin Talal is the billionaire Saudi financier who is nephew to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. I guess he’s been able to overlook all of the Muslim-bashing Beck and other FOX News folks have been engaged in all these years. But now it appears he’s getting a little nervous about his investment. In the U.K. a Murdoch-owned British tabloid is embroiled in a major phone-hacking scandal which took down the Prime Minister’s director of communications and threatens a major deal to acquire BSkyB; Stateside, Beck’s increasingly unhinged rantings offend American rabbis and tarnish the NewsCorp brand:

Those familiar with bin Talal, who has given tens of millions of dollars to charities seeking to bridge gaps between western and Islamic communities, say he will have been dismayed by any whiff of controversy threatening his business interests.

“He is an incredibly intelligent man and deeply honourable; you can only speculate about what he must be thinking now,” said an acquaintance.

Coming at a time when News Corp wants regulatory approval to take over British satellite broadcaster BSkyB, both the phone-hacking scandal and the row with the rabbis are damaging not only to the company’s reputation but its bottom line.

[...]

Worryingly for Murdoch, who is used to his investors taking a back seat, the prince is a far from passive backer. As a sizable investor in bombed-out banking giant Citigroup, bin Talal has been vocal in calling for its management to improve the firm’s fortunes, warning its chief executive last year that the “honeymoon was over”.

I have to think that Beck is far too big a liability for both Republicans’ political aspirations and Murdoch’s business aspirations to hang around much longer. It will be interesting to see if I’m right.

I also find it curious that the U.S. media has done so little coverage of Rupert Murdoch’s UK woes, considering what a navel-gazing bunch our American media is. Anderson Cooper gets bonked on the head and it’s headline news from coast to coast. And you know darn well if MSNBC were in this kind of trouble, FOX would be all over it.

Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if Beck’s fortunes took a sudden turn south. And when that happens, I’m sure liberals will get the blame — some cockamamie story will be concocted to allow conservatives to continue to demonize the left and keep the anger and rancor alive.

(h/t DougJ at Balloon Juice.)

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Filed under FOX NEWS, Glenn Beck, NewsCorp, Rupert Murdoch

My Last (I Hope) Gene Cranick Post

I’ve been really impressed with the discussion on my Gene Cranick threads here and here. You guys have raised some really good issues, and it’s stuff like this which makes me glad I have a blog.

I really haven’t focused much on the moral issues at play here but I do have something to say about that. To me, focusing on why Cranick didn’t pay that $75 fee is almost — almost — as mean and heartless as focusing on how the fire started. Fires get put out whether they were caused by a lightning strike or a kid playing with matches or someone burning their trash in the backyard despite a statewide fire advisory (and let me say, this is the first I’ve heard there is a statewide fire advisory. The governor’s office might need to do a better job of getting the word out.)

Sure, if the family were indigent and couldn’t afford the $75 fee then that would reveal yet another flaw in the county services. But really to say “he’s a freeloader and loser trying to get something for nothing” the way Glenn Beck and a few anonymous folks over here did is just another way of piling on someone who obviously made a mistake.

What, you people never made a mistake? Ever? You’re the only ones, then. It’s safe to say Mr. Cranick has learned his lesson the hard way, and has paid a terrible price for it. So shut your yaps.

On second thought, don’t shut your yaps. The Glenn Becks of the world who sanctimoniously (though accurately) claim that Mr. Cranick should have known better and whatnot prove the point we Dirty Hippies have always made: yes. There will always be people who don’t do what they’re supposed to do. That’s correct. Thank you for admitting that. Now the question is, what do we do about it?

Is it best for the community as a whole to let the man’s house burn down, possibly spreading the fire to the homes of neighbors who did do what they were supposed to do? And add a homeless family to the community’s burdens? I mean yeah you can feel all self-righteous that you were right and they were wrong and perhaps that makes you feel better but then what? Does you feeling better benefit the community more than making sure everyone has a home?

And we can take this example across a wide array of social problems. Food stamps, education, you name it. Yes it annoys the hell out of me when people come over here and blithely say “those people should just get a job!” when in case you haven’t noticed, there are no jobs. But that’s really irrelevant. There will always be people who don’t work, even as there are people who can’t. It doesn’t matter, because it’s still an issue we need to deal with.

One of my more clueless commenters claimed that, “there was a time when if you were hungry, you went out and worked to get food. Fish, plant, forage. If you didn’t, you starved.” Actually, as any student of anthropology knows, that’s utter bullshit. Every culture around the globe, modern to prehistoric, has developed a way of dealing with those in the community who aren’t doing their fair share. Even those people who inhabit harsh environments — the Inuit and the !Kung bushmen, for example — do not let their people starve. They deal with their freeloaders in other ways: public shaming, for example. And perhaps our right-wing commenters like Glenn Beck are serving a valuable community role in this respect as being the public voice of scorn. They sure seem to have that shaming thing down. So, there’s that.

Tough noogies might make some people feel better and it might have a role to play in keeping a big chunk of the population in line but it’s not the basis for an effective social policy nor does it build community. There needs to be something else in place, too.

The silver lining in all of this is that we are at least having a national debate about an issue that gets at the heart of what ails America today. Taxes, infrastructure, the role of government, privatized services, etc. I had hoped we could talk about this a little more but our media appears happy to just hit the highlights. Oh well, it seems the conversation has continued on blogs and in other media. This is a good thing.

I’m actually feeling pretty positive about all of this. And I’d like to thank Gene Cranick for — no pun intended — sparking a serious conversation about an important issue.

For those of you who don’t lack a cooperative gene a fund has been set up for the Cranicks. Keith Olbermann spread the word about it here.

For those of you who lack that cooperative gene, you can feel all warm and toasty that you did the right thing by paying your bills (you have, right?) and the Cranicks did not and nyah nyah nyah.

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Filed under Glenn Beck, moral values, taxes, Tennessee

>The Liberal Media’s Guide To Covering A Tea Party

>1- Shamelessly promote the event for days in advance, including repeating event organizer’s wildly inflated claims about expected attendance and completely unsubstantiated claims that any unsavory elements at previous rallies is the doing of dastardly “Democrat” activists.

2- Use the event to again ponder “who is the Tea Party?” while observing that despite organizers’ claim for racial diversity, those in attendance are “overwhelmingly white.” (Extra points for ignoring irony of main speaker’s claim that nation has “walked in darkness for too long.”)

3- Cover every possible aspect of the rally, including the media’s coverage of the rally.

4- Finally report actual attendance, without noting it is far less than organizers’ claims.

5- Continue to discuss, ad nauseum, the rally’s impact on upcoming elections, including lame online survey.

6- Rinse. Repeat.

Look, I don’t want to get into the particulars of Whitestock or the ridiculous carnival it represents or how offensive it is that a bunch of white people would gather to reclaim some civil rights they never lost. What I want people to remember is that hundreds of thousands of people marched against the Iraq War in 2003–part of a global action I might add–and it got barely a passing mention by the mainstream press. There were no days of coverage leading up to the event, all-day coverage during the event, interviews of people at the event, followed days of analysis post-event. Not even a lame online survey asking your opinion of the event. There was nothing.

For this I will never, ever forgive the national news media nor will I ever again trust it. My message to the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, CNN and the rest is this: At a time when the nation needed you people to do your job, when it really mattered, when peoples’ lives were at stake, you guys bailed on us. And now, in some kind of pathetic attempt to appear “not liberal” you cover every fart and burp issuing forth from conservative partisans, when it’s completely irrelevant to the grand scheme of things. We are not talking life and death here. We are not sending hundreds of thousands of our kids into battle. We’re talking some whiny-assed titty babies pissed they lost an election to a black man.

Shame on you.

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Filed under Glenn Beck, media, Tea Party

American Morans, Glenn Beck Edition

Via Attaturk:

(Original American Moran here; more American Morans here.)

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Filed under American Morans, Glenn Beck

>Weird Crap I Read

>I think listening to Karl Lagerfeld on climate science must be akin to listening to Glenn Beck on theological matters.

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Filed under climate change, Glenn Beck, Sojourners

>Glenn Beck: Parody, Or Insane?

>Once again we must ask the question.

HuffPo’s Jason Linkins was tasked with determining whether Glenn Beck has a Twitter account and sadly, he has discovered that yes, Glenn Beck has a Twitter account.

It appears the man doesn’t have much to say:

I like fish
about 6 hours ago from web

And then:

I’ve been thinking about it more, so I wanted to clarify. I don’t LOVE fish, I just like it.
about 4 hours ago from web

Okie dokie. I happened to remember that Beck announced a comedy tour back in April, so I suspect his Tweets are a lame attempt at showcasing his comedic skills.

Well, let’s hope that’s what this is.

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>Is Glenn Beck Insane Or Just Hungry For Lunch?

>Glenn Beck ranted on about fried chicken and hamburgers yesterday and we’re having a good time trying to make sense of it.

Here, give it a try:

And this is the argument that we have. We have two choices between Kentucky Fried Chicken and Popeye’s. What a lot of Americans want is a hamburger. Kentucky Fried Chicken, if you will, took the hamburger choice away. They started calling themselves Kentucky Fried Hamburgers and so now people are saying, you want a hamburger? Well, you should be over here having chicken. No, no, no, you’re eating chicken, too. “No, I’m not. I’m eating a hamburger, and we make the best hamburgers ever.” And then pretty soon Popeye says, “We’re making hamburgers as well.” No, that’s chicken, too. That’s just called a chicken tender. “Nope, it’s a hamburger and ours is flame broiled.” No, it’s not. You put it in oil. This is clearly fried. “No, that’s Kentucky Fried Chicken.” No. Neither of you guys are serving hamburgers! I just want a hamburger, please. This is what’s happening. We’re arguing about chicken places. When the real moment of revelation is when America steps back and goes, “Wait a minute. My gosh, it is chicken. Soylent Green! It’s chicken!

As soon as somebody stands at the counter and says, “Where’s the beef!” Then we’ll be able to have an honest conversation in America about Arlen Specter.

Huh? Was Beck channeling Lyle Lovett?

Glenn Beck: ANALOGY FAIL.

(h/t, tiimbitz4786 at Kos.)

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