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Glenn Beck's Savvy Fraud

Reported by Ellen - April 27, 2009 -

There's an excellent article on AlterNet about Glenn Beck called Glenn Beck: A Savvy Fraud Who Knows Just How to Please His Audience of Conservative Suckers. The author, Alexander Zaitchik, concludes that Beck may well be the Bernard Madoff of conservative anger and fear in the Obama age.

The article begins:

Fox News host Glenn Beck has done all the necessary spadework to position himself at the center of a brewing and increasingly paranoid right-wing insurgency. From challenging Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison to prove he isn't working with Al Qaeda, to taking tearful stands against Barack Obama's Democratic Reich, the self-described “rodeo clown” is pushing his televised tirades and skits closer to the angrier, more unhinged fare of his daily talk radio show, now ranked third nationally, where he has been honing his confessional Molotov-throwing shtick for a decade.

Zaitchik notes that Beck's molotov-throwing confessional schtick has served Beck's purse very, very well:

Beck is not a lifelong conservative who happened to make a lot of money in the capitalist system he loves. For most of his adult life, he was, in his own words, “a bitter, hopeless [drug-using] alcoholic who hated people.” He long ago started putting money before country, and there's every reason to believe that he still does. His metamorphosis into a right-wing values-crusader matches up neatly with the birth of his Wellesian/Limbaughsian dreams of national talk radio fame and entertainment empire. He understood 15 years ago that the way to own a sprawling mansion estate in New Canaan, Conn., is to rant about the sprawling Malibu estates of Hollywood liberals. His on-air persona is a product of his own reinvention, even if he calls it "redemption."

...For Beck, the End Times shtick is literally pure gold. The precious metals dealer Goldline, whose fortunes rise on anxieties of social and economic collapse, has hired Beck as a spokesman and is one of his biggest sponsors. His website is also sponsored by Newsmax (another right-wing media fear-monger whose ad offers a “free emergency radio…[for when] terrorists attack.”) and a company called Survival Seeds, which warns of imminent food riots. It fits that Beck's new corporate logo resembles nothing so much as a radiation symbol.

...So make fun of him all you want, but Glenn Beck is not crazy. He is a very wealthy and possibly visionary fraud, the Bernie Madoff of conservative anger and fear in the Obama era. He is laughing and crying in the plush backseat of his stretch limo right along with you, all the way to the bank.

It's well worth reading in its entirety.