Glenn Beck (born February 10, 1964) is a right-wing American talk show host and a dick. His nationally syndicated three-hour radio show, The Glenn Beck Program, is heard daily on 260 stations and the satellite radio service XM. He also has a nightly hour on CNN’s Headline News channel, making him yet another arrow in the crowded quiver of CNN dicks that also includes Larry King, Wolf Blitzer, Nancy Grace, and Lou Dobbs. If you were so inclined, you could spend over 16 percent of each weekday in the company of Glenn Beck.
Beck is credited as the author of two books, The Real America: Messages From the Heart and the Heartland and An Inconvenient Book, which spent a week atop the New York Times bestseller list. He is also the editor of Fusion, which fancies itself a conservative comedy magazine. This, like “jumbo shrimp,” is an oxymoron.
Beck also tours twice a year with a one-man stage show that combines alleged comedy with so-called inspirational speaking. His last tour was called “An Inconvenient Tour.” Either Beck really loves the word “inconvenient” or he thinks he’s making fun of Al Gore by using it.
Beck talks about his life all the time, so even the most casual listener or viewer knows that he grew up in the Seattle area with a serious case of attention deficit disorder, and his mother drowned herself when he was 13, and one of his brothers committed suicide, and another brother died of a heart attack, and he was a major pothead and an alcoholic who downed a gallon of Jack Daniel’s a week, all of which cost him his first marriage.
After his divorce, Beck met his second wife, Tania. As a condition for marrying him, Tania said that she and Beck would have to jointly find a religion that suited both of them. They picked Mormonism, an odd choice considering that it’s the kind of religion where you feel sorry for those poor kids who are born into it and can’t imagine anyone joining it voluntarily
Radio and TV
Beck did the traditional radio bounce-around, doing deejay duty in Washington, Corpus Christi, Baltimore, Houston, Phoenix and Hartford. His career was undistinguished until he subbed for a talk show host and “suddenly realized I’ve been in the wrong format.” In January 2000, he landed on WFLA-AM in Tampa, where The Glenn Beck Program combined right-wing talk with a form of humor, one example of which is: “Hezbollaerobics…because no one fears a tubby terrorist!”
Okay, you’re not laughing, but the show started out in 18th place and went to #1 not long before September 11, 2001.
Beck, like Rep. Gary Condit (D-CA), whose sex scandal story evaporated in the heat of the 9/11 flames, was a direct beneficiary of the planes flying into the buildings, since the result was that jingoistic and xenophobic talk show hosts were suddenly in higher demand. The Glenn Beck Program was nationally syndicated and quickly found a very large audience of people eager to believe that ignorant criminals were not running the country.
Newly empowered as a nationally syndicated right-wing radio dick just as White House dick George W. Bush was drumming up support for what would turn out to be the most humiliating, reputation-trashing fiasco in the nation’s history, Beck organized pro-Iraq War “Rally for America” events in 18 cities for his Bush-buddy bosses at Clear Channel.
Beck used the forum of the people’s airwaves to go after the Dixie Chicks, who’d had the effrontery to share with a London audience their shame at what was being done in America’s name. He also felt compelled to weigh in on the Terri Schiavo case, leading the charge of rant radio against letting the poor woman die.
In May 2006, Beck’s empire expanded into television when he began hosting the eponymous prime-time hour Glenn Beck on CNN Headline News. Not long after, he declared himself to be “sick of this whole global warming thing.” Beck claims it takes generations before we can tell anything about climate change, so what we should do now is just go about our lives in a business-as-usual fashion and not worry so much about finding out later that we’ve destroyed the planet.
In November 2007, Beck signed a five-year deal with Premiere Radio Networks said to be worth $50 million.
In his 2007 Washington Post profile of Beck, David Segal wrote, “Listen to a few of Beck’s shows and what strikes you most is the enormous ratio of words to substance – how Beck can monologue for minutes at a time and leave behind almost nothing except the impression of great vehemence.”
In the spring of 2009, Beck will depart CNN for Fox News. The move will provide more money and even lower journalistic expectations making it a win-win for Beck, but a lose-lose for people who like information. Though, as some have noted, this will leave a gaping hole in CNN’s “department of embarrassing conservatives we keep around to help us appear unbiased,” insiders expect that other irritable commentators will continue to step up in this area.
“Prove to me that you are not working with our enemies”
In November 2006, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim U.S. congressman, appeared on Glenn Beck. Beck told him, “I have been nervous about this interview with you because what I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.’” This prompted Jon Stewart to comment, “Finally, a guy who says what people who aren’t thinking are thinking.”
The incident earned Beck a spot on the alternative weekly Buffalo Beast ’s list of 2006’s most loathesome people. The paper wrote, “It’s like someone found a manic, doom-prophesying hobo in a sandwich board, shaved him, shot him full of Zoloft and gave him a show.”
Botched Hemorrhoids Operation
Beck started out 2008 as the victim of a botched hemorrhoids operation when what should have been a routine outpatient procedure sent him to the hospital for five days. In the hospital, the serious painkillers he was on led him to contemplate suicide. A video of Beck, unshaven, disheveled, bleary-eyed and with his head propped up on a pillow as he told his fans about his disastrous health care experience, became a YouTube sensation in early 2008.
* “Every night I get down on my knees and pray that Dennis Kucinich will burst into flames.” (2003)
* “I’m thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I’m wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it.” (2005)
* “When I see a 9/11 victim family on television, or whatever, I’m just like, ‘Oh shut up’ I’m so sick of them because they’re always complaining.” (2005)
* “The only [Katrina victims] we’re seeing on television are the scumbags.” (2005)
* “Let me tell you something, there ain’t [nothing] better than looking at a hot, naked chick.” (2006)
* On August 9, 1988, Jessica Hahn parlayed her role in the Jim Bakker sex scandal into a tryout for the woman’s slot on The Y-Morning Zoo, on KOY-FM (“Y-95”) in Phoenix. Beck was one of the three gentlemen who made up the rest of the team.
* Beck’s fans are often referred to, and happily refer to themselves, as “Sick Twisted Freaks,” thereby embracing an irony that is nonexistent.