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The Beck Week That Was; Hooray For Hollywood

Reported by Guest Blogger - February 14, 2010 -

Guest blogged by Aunty Em

While a nasty winter storm paralyzed whole parts of the north east, The Glenn Beck Program decamped to sunny California for a week of misinforming and fear-mongering. The Beckereeno’s whole week was designed to teach us why California is a failed state, and, as California goes, so goes the nation. Oh yeah, and it’s all the Progressives fault.

♫ ♪ ♫ Hooray for Hollywood (Johnny Mercer / Richard Whiting)

That screwy ballyhooey Hollywood…. ♪ ♫ ♪

As the week dawned, even before Beck’s Californication began, reverberations over Roger Ailes’ lying defense of his lying ratings star were still echoing across the snooze media. Over at CNN, which ‘some people say’ is the reality news network, Howard “Howie” Kurtz, on Reliable Sources, hosted the ubiquitous Arianna “HuffPo” Huffington and Hugh Hewitt to continue the discussion. First Hewitt gave Beck cover for his use of the word “slaughter” by saying, “If you talk for thirty hours a week, you're going to use the word slaughter and you're going to use it sometimes without knowing it and I don't think we outta focus on it.” Then, as Crooks and Liars pointed out, Kurtz used a “false equivalency” to cover for Beck’s making fun of “retarded” people.

♫ ♪ ♫ ….Where any office boy or young mechanic can be a panic

With just a good looking pan…. ♪ ♫ ♪

For Beck, it’s all good. Whether he is the news, or is manufacturing the news, as long as he’s being mentioned somewhere for some thing, the Beck ego is being fed. Monday’s show began: “Welcome to the Glenn Beck program. Tonight, from California. In fact we’re going to be here all week unless they surround me with torches and pitchforks.” He can always hide behind his chalkboard, which he brought along in case there were none in the Eureka state.

First, he slammed NOW in his opening for its (misguided) criticism of the Tebow Super Bowl advert, “Why the hate from the National Organization of Women? I’m just asking. Why the hate? Why the hate?” as his voice trailed off into the opening theme.

And then he was off to a rollicking good week of smears. He began by attacking the President of the United States, Barack Obama, for the purchase of some Super Bowl ads for the upcoming census. After complaining about the cost of the census, The Beckteria played a clip of the president telling us, “When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don't blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you're trying to save for college. “

The clip ended and Beck took right up with, “Heh, heh, heh, heh. And you don’t buy ads on the Super Bowl. Oops! Do we really have to listen to this president preach to us about fiscal responsibility? Maybe it’s just me, but I think that’s a little like abstinence-only sex-education program taught by Tiger Woods. But what do I know?

A point to be made here. The words in normal type, above, represent the official transcript of Beck’s show as seen on the Fox News web site. The words bolded and italicized were actually broadcast, but left out of the official transcription. When comparing one of Beck’s official transcripts to the actual broadcast, one will note that much of the sarcasm is removed. They wouldn’t want the readers to get the mistaken impression that Beck is a sarcastic jerk.

As for the census Super Bowl ad: While I suspect Obama likes to micromanage, I’m pretty sure he didn’t personally make these Super Bowl ad purchases, which makes Beck’s whole argument specious…as usual.

♫ ♪ ♫ …. And any barmaid can be a star maid

If she dances with or without a fan…. ♪ ♫ ♪

As Beck’s biggest fan, I can tell you it’s been a while since Beck used the word “live” on air, as in he’s doing a “live” show and not one already in the can. I presumed these California shows would be canned, especially since Glinda didn’t use the word “live” right off the top of Monday’s show. That’s why it was so strange when he came back from the first commercial break saying, over a shot of Los Angeles and then cutting to himself, “Oh look how beautiful it is, the sunny skies of California. What you can’t see are the streets and potholes and everything crumbling. The wailing and gnashing of teeth. By the way, we’re in California all week. I have my red phone with me. As you can see we didn’t even plug it in because it’s— I don’t like being far from my red phone. But I have, actually, in the studio—Do you have Harry there? Can we show Harry in the studio in New York? There he is. Hi Harry. We just have him reading up on Mao, yannow, that way, in case they call, he’s got something to talk to them about. Yannow, we get something wrong, the administration can call. They have the number to the phone and we are manning it.”

Yet, oddly enough, he still didn’t use the word “live” until the 5:30 mark in the show (all times EST), when Fox News came back from the news break on the half hour. However, he corrected this oversight right at the top of Tuesday’s show and then, to reinforce the point, once again showed Harry back in New York. Even though he was watching Star Wars on one of Beck’s big screen tee vees, we were assured that Harry will mute the sound if the White House manages to call. It’s a hilarious segment, which you should watch if only to see Beck display his acting chops.

♫ ♪ ♫ …. Hooray for Hollywood,

Where you're terrific if you're even good

Where anyone at all from Shirley Temple to Aimee Semple

Is equally understood …. ♪ ♫ ♪

Among Tuesday’s targets were the Obama Administration, the NYT, Oprah, and U2. Here’s how Glenn Beck the media star (not to be confused with Beck the Pop artist or Jeff Beck the Rock guitarist) dragged the rock band U2 into it, “Here's another example: In 1969, Ireland introduced a tax-exempt status for artists. When they decided, in 2006, to put a cap on that tax break — 250,000 euros — Bono, and a bunch of these other ████ ███████ celebrities who champion progressive politicians, promptly moved U2's business operations to the Netherlands.”

Gee, it would appear the official transcript has been redacted. What were those two words left out? Oh, yes. “Dope” and “smoking.” Therefore, what Beck actually said was, “…Bono, and a bunch of these other dope smoking celebrities…”

An extensive search of the innertubes could find very little linking U2 to marijuana use. Adam Clayton was busted in Dublin in 1989 for a small amount of marijuana. In 2007, the then Australian environmental spokesman Peter Garrett, the former-Midnight Oil bandleader, denied he ever smoked dope with Bono. Garrett even offered to take a drug test to prove it, after Silverchair’s Daniel Johns created the firestorm when he told a radio audience he’d been toking with Garrett, Bono and Natalie Imbruglia, Bono’s wife. Later, even Johns denied it happened. “At no time have I ever smoked a joint with Bono or Peter Garrett. They are both well known to be very anti-drugs so that’s why I assumed everybody would know I was joking when I made that comment. Clearly that wasn't the case and I feel sick that I might have caused embarrassment to two people who I admire so much.”

Why even go into marijuana use? It’s just another reckless smear by Beck, which appears to have no basis in reality, that was not part of the official record [which will hereafter be labeled OT, for Official Transcript.]

But the real fun Tuesday was when he argued that the Roaring Twenties was one of the greatest decades in this country’s history, when things were prosperous. You know, just after Woodrow Wilson and the Progressives sent the country to hell in a hand basket. Remember? It was the decade of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover—all Republicans—which didn’t lead to a Great Depression at all:

“Let me get back to what happened when they cut taxes in 1921:

“Automobile production was up 191 percent for the decade and while the elites bemoaned those wealthy fat cats and their automobiles, their appetite for driving created jobs. The demand for auto-related products skyrocketed: metal; lumber; steel; cotton; leather; paint; rubber; glass and of course, gasoline. Companies had to be created to meet the demand. This is real job creation. People had to be hired. Roads were being built. State highway construction spending increased tenfold between 1918 and 1930; did they fire all the cops and teachers?” [OT]

Beck spouts these statistics as if they really mean something and his audience just swallows it whole. Yet, without using Der Google, I can tell you that Henry Ford perfected the assembly line by about 1915. By the time the ‘20s rolled around, cars were far more affordable to average families, despite the fact that the Beckster wants you to believe this resulted in elites envying fat cats. In fact, it was the assembly line which led to cheaper cars, which fed the Average Joe’s demand to have one of those Tin Lizzies. And that led to increased demand for all those related products. The same thing drove, no pun intended, the demand for a better road system.

More silly talk about how prosperous it was back then:

“In 1920 there were only 5,800 passengers who had flown on a plane. By 1930 it was 70 times that amount.” [OT]

Just how many commercial airplanes were there in 1920, as opposed to 1930? Could that have something to do with it?

“Thomas Edison brought us movies in the 1880s, but in the 1920s the true modern-era motion picture arrived with Cecil B. DeMille and The Ten Commandments."[OT]

Having taken film way back in college, before the earth had cooled, that surprised me. Without question DeMille’s first “Ten Commandments," made in 1923 (he later remade it in ’58) is venerated in film circles, but the first “true modern motion picture”? This is the kind of thing that movie buffs will debate endlessly, so I’m not saying Beck is wrong here. However, “some people say” the true modern-era of cinema came four years later, when Al Jolson starred in “The Jazz Singer,” the first full-length “talking picture.” Others would argue that the true modern era of cinema came earlier, in 1915, with what is often called the first feature-length picture, “Birth of a Nation.”

More ‘20s prosperity: “A whistling Mickey Mouse was introduced to America by Walt Disney in 1928; the first cartoon with synchronized sound.” [OT]

♫ ♪ ♫ …. Go out and try your luck, you might be Donald Duck

Hooray for Hollywood …. ♪ ♫ ♪

And the Faux Noise cartoon with synchronized sound kept quacking, because it’s the only way to get us to forget the history he wants to rewrite. The facts are undeniable. All three of those Republican presidents during the Roaring Twenties—Harding, Coolidge and Hoover—all had a laissez-faire attitude toward regulating businesses. And that little stock market crash in ’29? Too small for Beck to mention.

Oh, and when not rewriting history on Tuesday, Beck was attacking Joe Klein…again.

♫ ♪ ♫ …. Hooray for Hollywood

That phoney super-Coney Hollywood …. ♪ ♫ ♪

The phoney super-Coney Beckerwood began Wednesday’s show with an “Al-ber Alert,” his cute little denial of Climate Change, saying Al Gore’s been missing since the big paralyzing snowstorm and people are worried about him. Then The Beckereeno took off after MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan, calling him a “Global Warming nut,” for rightly pointing out that big snow storms and other weather events are predicted by scientists’ Global Warning Theory. Ratigan, who seems to understand satire, took to his show to explain, in simple words, and using a chalkboard of his own, why Beck has it all wrong…again. However, not-to-be-suppressed Beck feels that Climate Change scientists should commit ritual suicide.

Thursday’s show was another of Glenn’s patented Wankfests, which was deemed more important than actual news. As I describe a Wankfest, it’s when Glenn has on guests so he can ask as many variations of the question “In how many different ways do you think I am right?” as he can frame in an hour. In this case guests Niall Ferguson, Damon Vickers and Brian Dohterty didn’t disappoint and proved to Beck all the ways he is right. Alex has taken an extended look at this B.S. so I don’t have to.

Three small points about Thursday’s show. First: Niall Ferguson was introduced as History Professor at Harvard. But, doesn’t Glenn usually make fun of intellectual eggheads like him?

Secondly, there’s also something very strange going on at the 3:54 mark in this segment. You won’t have to look very closely to see a noticeable edit after he introduces Ferguson and before he introduces Vickers. While there’s no way of knowing what was excised, it’s clear that it must have been funny as hell because everybody’s still chuckling as Beck restarts his introduction of Vickers.

Live shows cannot be edited, of course, and Glenn never claimed the show on Thursday was live. In fact, it was only the Monday and Tuesday shows this week that had the “live” disclaimer.

Lastly, all other news networks were covering former-President Clinton’s heart-scare. While it all turned out alright, it clearly wasn’t important enough for Fox (Not)News to cover live, preferring a prerecorded Wankfest with a crawl at the bottom of the screen mentioning Clinton’s heath problems.

♫ ♪ ♫ …. They come from Chillicothes and Paducas with their bazookas

To get their names up in lights,

All armed with photos from local rotos

With their hair in ribbon and legs in tights …. ♪ ♫ ♪

To get his name up in lights (or is it tights?), whether it’s making the news or manufacturing the news, Glenn Beck has unerring timing for creating controversy where none previously existed. On his Radio Drama Theatre he hosted Debra Medina, a Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate. In the middle of the interview about Texas politics, Beck said that he had been hearing Medina was a “9/11 Truther.” It clearly came out of left field and had Medina chuckling when she said she hadn’t heard that before. But Glenn, always concerned for the voters in Texas, asked straight up, “Do you believe the government was in any way involved in the bringing down of the World Trade Centers on 9/11?”

And, Medina booted her answer. “I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard. There are some very good arguments, and I think the American people have not seen all of the evidence there, so I have not taken a position on that.”

After Medina left the studio Beck said, “I think I can write her off the list.”

Medina knew immediately she had screwed up and put out a strong backpedaling statement that said, “I was asked a question on the Glenn Beck show today regarding my thoughts on the so-called 9/11 truth movement. I have never been involved with the 9/11 truth movement, and there is no doubt in my mind that Muslim terrorists flew planes into those buildings on 9/11. I have not seen any evidence nor have I ever believed that our government was involved or directed those individuals in any way. No one can deny that the events on 9/11 were a tragedy for all Americans and especially those families who lost loved ones.”

With that one “gotcha” question, and Medina’s silly answer, Glenn Beck sunk the leadership hopes of Debra Medina, and created news which will be washing in the next few news cycles.

This story may have legs, because Medina supporters are fighting back, or fighting Beck as the case may be. The Cypress Times, in Cypress, Texas, published an article by John G. Winder in which he defends Medina and takes Beck to task. Furthermore, Winder quotes several readers’ comments, many similar to this one: “I agree. Beck lost me as a watcher too. If the question was actually relevant, that would be a different story. I think more people will realize, like me, that Glenn's time has come and gone. Unfortunately, I kinda liked him too. I'm still likely to vote for Medina.” The fight in Texas will continue.

♫ ♪ ♫ …. Hooray for Hollywood

You may be homely in your neighbourhood …. ♪ ♫ ♪

Friday’s show was so much fun because it was so revealing of Beck’s entire shtick in a short 48 minutes. If you watch only one show this week, it should be this one. How can you not like a show that begins:

I feel like I'm becoming my grandfather: ‘You kids today! You just don't get it. We used to sleep on razor-wire beds and eat nails for breakfast. And we liked it!’

"Maybe I'm getting old and grumpy, but kids are stupid. I mean, we've all been there. Come on, think of yourself when you were eighteen. You would have joined the Save Tibet club if you knew it would help score chicks. [OT] [continues] Am I right? Yes I am. Because I know it’s true because you also would have joined the bomb Tibet club if the chicks were there. You didn’t care, you just went where the chicks were." [Unofficial transcript]

It’s moments like this, when Glenn Beck reveals his inner soul, that make his show worth watching on a deeply spiritual level. Here he’s telling us exactly what he was like as a teenager, that he’d say anything—do anything—to dip his wick. This is the most revealing he’s been since the day he cried when he related an incident in the third person that was clearly him riffing down memory lane:

“America! We’ve been at a party we weren’t supposed to be at. The two kids that were driving us there. They said, ‘Oh, Don’t worry. Nothing’s gonna happen. You’re not gonna get caught. And, you had a moment there where you wanted to obey your parents and you were like, ‘Okay’ ‘cause everyone’s doing it. And then you’re there and you were supposed to be, they promised you that we would leave by midnight. They promised you that. And now it’s almost 2 o’clock and you find yourself at the party, where you haven’t really done anything, but you smell like pot and your friend spilled beer all over you. You’re way out way past curfew and you don’t know what to do any more. You’re going to get your butt kicked. We’re facing the same choice now. Do you remember what our parents said? ‘Just come home and tell me the truth. We’ll get through this.’”

Another fun moment occurred at the 8:53 minute mark of the opening monologue and it certainly made me laugh. After all this loud and crazy histrionics, Glenn got quiet and you could clearly hear the unmistakable sound of an AOL IM door closing. I can understand. I’ve shut the door in the face of a few Mormons myself.

♫ ♪ ♫ …. But if you think that you can be an actor, see Mr. Factor

He'll make a monkey look good …. ♪ ♫ ♪

Speaking of monkeys looking good: That Freudian slip and the sound of doors closing were not what made Grumpy Gus’ Friday Funnies so memorable, however. It was his choice of two very unlikely targets. First up? Come on down Meghan McCain. What did she do to fall into The Beck Shredder™? Megs had the unmitigated audacity to “hold to the truth,” and “speak without fear,” to ask a “question with boldness” about the Teabagger Movement. [All three quotes are slogans from The Glenn Beck Program, used in the opening since going on the air.] McCain merely stated the obvious, paraphrased, that Teabagging doesn’t appeal to her demographic because it’s seen as racist. “Revolutions start with young people, not with 65 year-old people talking about literacy tests and people who can’t say the word ‘vote’ in English,” she added, taking a clear swipe at Dan Tancredo’s opening Tea Bag speech, which steeped the pot in jingoism and xenophobia. Ellen has a pretty good run down on that train wreck, but suffice to say that Beck was able to link his criticism of McCain to Progressives, Karl Marx, and, of course, Barack Obama. Neat trick, that.

Yet this tirade against Meghan McCain didn’t attack her point of view. Beck was not bouncing ideas around the marketplace, leading to informed debate. It’s the same MO he always displays: shred the opposition with vicious personal attacks. Beck never wants to debate a point of view. Why else would you title a book “Arguing With Idiots?” You’ve already started the ad homenim attacks with the very title.

Yet another of his Friday targets was simply hilarious. The Becketeer put on his Save America Uniform and decided that Michelle Obama is evil. Why? The First Lady of the United States of America believes it would be a good thing to teach the country’s children about nutrition, hunger, and obesity. Of course, to Beck, this naturally leads to government control over all aspects of out lives.

"So now, going all out to have government limit the food choices available at our kids’ school, to make sure that grocery stores pop up in what they are calling — and I’m not kidding you — food deserts. There’s no salad bars; it’s a food desert. Then we are going to put the grocery stores instead of fast food businesses.

They’ll limit what we can watch on TV, what ads we can run and how long we can watch. No doubt we’ll start mandating certain kind of activities as part of this wonderful government campaign."

Let me ask Beck a simple question. When was the last time you saw cigarettes advertised on tee vee?

Only The Beckster, who keeps telling his audience that he’s just trying to educate us on the history that’s being erased, could come out against the education of our youth over healthy eating. And as the sun sets on The Beck Machine in Commie California, let’s all just sing along…

♫ ♪ ♫ …. Within a half an hour you'll look like Tyrone Power

Hooray for Hollywood …. ♪ ♫ ♪

With all my love,

Aunty Em

P.S. There are a bunch of great Hooray for Hollywood clips out there: Check them out here, here, here and here.