It speaks measures of you when a renowned horror novelist of all people — Stephen King — calls you “Satan’s mentally challenged younger brother.” Former Fox News television host (read: rodeo clown) Glenn Beck has revealed that he has regrets about how he misled America:
“I remember it as an awful lot of fun, and that I made an awful lot of mistakes, and I wish I could go back and be more uniting in my language. Because I think I played a role unfortunately in helping tear the country apart. And it’s not who we are. I didn’t realize how really fragile the people were. I thought we were kind of a little more in it together. And now I look back and I realize if we could have talked about the uniting principles a little bit more, instead of just the problems, I think I would look back on it a little more fondly. But that’s only my role.” ~ Glenn Beck
The part that resonates in my head is this: “I didn’t realize how really fragile the people were.” “Fragile” is a severe understatement; Racism, antisemitism, sexism, islamophobia, are ALL part of the dog whistle politics the conservative GOP keeps in their playbook and continue to use. How “fragile” GOP’s base is has been mentioned before. More than once even. He was a big fan of the political theory called the Overton Window, which holds that you can radically move the parameters of political debate by pushing talk to the outer limits long enough so that ideas that were extreme suddenly became normal. He was a huge fan of the Godwin fallacy as well. On top of that, you have his nonsensical insurrectionist talk as well as his paranoia-fuel conspiracy theories, which may have incited violence. So we have a couple of questions on our hands: Is he actually going to change and point out more Fox News bullshit? Should Glenn Beck be off the hook? Making money off of extreme controversy and then stopping when it’s convenient… is that acceptable?
“I’m just a rodeo clown. It takes great skill.” ~ Glenn Beck, New York Times, Mar. 2009
Let’s take a look at a few facts. First, Beck is cognizant of the fact that the more idiotically insane he got, the more he drove advertisers away. He drove away approximately 300 advertisers. Beck learned a painful, supply-and-demand lesson: Ratings are good to have, but advertisement revenue is fundamental. Fox News lost approximately 40 million dollars due to the incendiary content of Beck’s relentless name-calling and deranged conspiracy theories. Second point would be the fact that he has his own media identity, The Blaze, and he needs to be able to reach more than just that “conservative base” that everyone keeps talking about. He has to diversify to survive. So, his motives might not necessarily be from a moral, honest standpoint.
If you take what I say as gospel, you’re an idiot. ~ Glenn Beck, New York Times, 29 March 2009
Should it be allowed? While some may feel a certain way about a guy who used massive controversy to get comfortably rich and then change tone, it might not exactly be fair to infinitely condemn someone forever. I believe that one should be able to change for the better, but at the same time be held responsible for the damages caused. As silly as it sounds, there were people who took his word as gospel. Based on how “fragile” his base is, I cannot support the notion that he’s 100% off the hook, and will not until he takes direct action in reversing the damage he caused. It will probably take 30+ years to fix the conservative base, to disassociate it from frenetic nonsensical conspiracy theories and largely anti-American insurrectionist speak. While it’s certainly not fair that a man can actively own controversy and then flip the script when he’s made enough money fooling people, I rather allow that man to cut the bull and just simply be a better person In the end.
“You know, we all have our inner demons. I, for one – I can’t speak for you, but I’m on the verge of moral collapse at any time. It can happen by the end of the show.” ~ The Glenn Beck Program,” Nov. 2006
So overall, will we see him slide towards the center in political media? Or will he keep his bag of dirty tricks to use it anytime in the near future? Unfortunately all we can do is speculate.