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In Glenn we trust

Glenn Beck’s remarkable journey from radio blowhard to one of America’s most influential political figures


 
In Glenn we trust

Benjamin J. Myers/Corbis/ Mark Peterson/Redux

Jean Richardson was in her mid-30s when Walter Cronkite debuted on U.S. national television. The 84-year-old Connecticut woman has since watched a pantheon of “most trusted newscasters” cross her TV screen—names like Brokaw, Jennings and Rather among them. They were all fine, she says, if you didn’t mind the affected solemnity of television’s bygone age. But Glenn Beck? Now there’s a man she trusts. “I know he’s a good person, I know he’s honest and sincere,” she says. “I can tell in the first 30 seconds whether I like someone, and I picked it up from him right away.”

Richardson is tall, with an elegance undercut only by the bottle of Coors Light trembling in her hand. Tonight she is waiting in the corridor of the Mohegan Sun Arena, a 12,000-seat auditorium in central Connecticut where the man she trusts is due to appear in person, alongside his fellow Fox TV host Bill O’Reilly. Tickets were $80 and up, and the arena is located at the centre of a vast, native-owned casino complex, meaning Richardson and her son Scott had to navigate a sea of slot machines on their way to the show.

Scott, who is 57, has recently fallen on hard times. A carpenter by trade, he’s had trouble finding work in New England’s flagging construction industry, and has taken a $10-an-hour job greeting customers at Wal-Mart. He’s got as much right as anyone to work up a rage, but he’s not here to protest. “I appreciate how he talks about history,” he says. “Glenn researches his topics and can back up what he says with historical fact.”

Broadcaster, teacher, performer, leader. Glenn Beck’s multiple personas have made him a confusing target for liberal critics, who have sought to brand him as everything from a loose cannon to a right-wing insurgent. Each night on Fox, and for three hours each day on his syndicated radio program, the 46-year-old former DJ serves up his unique stew of politics, paranoia, humour and faith, drawing new epithets from the “progressives” he says are ruining America. But what they can’t call him is a failure. In just under two years, Beck has gone from garden-variety radio blowhard to a political personality capable of filling Washington’s central Mall with adoring spectators who deliriously cheered his anti-tax, anti-government message of self-sufficiency.

In the process, he has shattered assumptions about what you can do on television. Beck’s nightly attacks on the Obama administration were so strident that establishment Republicans warned they would render the party unelectable, leaving only a rump of Tea Party radicals who share his ideas. Instead, Beck took Tea Party historical theory to a wider audience, building the electoral constituency the GOP brain trust feared would whither away. Online lectures he has dubbed “Beck U” include readings on the founding documents of the United States, and hammer away on his favourite theme: the founding fathers, inspired by God, equated big, central government with tyranny. In Beck’s world, Washington is the enemy of freedom.

That his version of U.S. history is at best selective, or that he never went to university, doesn’t much matter. Beck has resonated on a level no one predicted—least of all elders of the Grand Old Party. Victories for Tea Party-backed Republicans in many congressional races in this week’s mid-term elections helped return control of the House to the GOP, a resurgence for which even Beck’s most committed critics can’t deny him some credit.

Now, as once-safe Democrats stream out of Washington in stunned disbelief, Beck’s doubters have been left to ponder his role in the new political order. He’s emphatically denied interest in running for office himself. But his endorsement has played no small role in bringing Sarah Palin back to prominence, setting the vice-presidential candidate up for a run at the White House in 2012. There is Democratic blood in the water, and one suspects Beck has only begun to feed.

Say this for the man: he knows how to make an entrance. As the lights go down at Mohegan Sun, Beck strides from the arena’s southeast corner wearing robes, a golden crown and white tights. It’s the night before Halloween, and for this sedate, mostly grey crowd, the spectacle of their hero dressed as an 18th-century English monarch is all they need. “I told the people at the costume store to dress me like a progressive Democrat,” Beck says, arms raised. All 11,000 are on their feet.

He normally underwhelms with his physical presence—brush-headed and doughy, like a nerdy version of Biff from Back to the Future. So the king shtick serves as both self-parody and a portal to gags, as he falls into the character of prominent liberal foes who aspire to royalty: John Kerry is a drawling courtier demanding that you kiss his ring; George Soros is a megalomaniac secretly plotting world domination. It’s all-out vaudeville, drawing on mimicry Beck honed during his former life on morning zoo radio, broken only when O’Reilly takes the stage for his own much tamer segment of the show.

Beck will return after an intermission in jeans and a sloppy button-down—a costume that better reflects his blue-collar upbringing. His parents owned a bakery in Mount Vernon, Wash., but lost the business and divorced when he was in his early teens. Two years later, his mother, an alcoholic, drowned off Tacoma in what was ruled a boating accident but which Beck remains convinced was a suicide pact with a man she was dating, who died at the scene as well.

Shattered but determined to make his way, Beck found a home in private radio, taking DJ gigs in middle markets from Provo, Utah, to Louisville, Ky., while running on a treadmill of liquor and drugs. Cindy Civitello, a lifelong Republican from central Connecticut, remembers his run at WKCI in Hamden, Conn., where he eventually hit bottom. “He could be very nasty on the air, with the pranks and everything,” she recalls. Yet even then he showed an uncommon capacity to rally people for a cause, Civitello says, as when he and his morning crew launched a charity drive called “Stuff-a-bus.” Each Thanksgiving, listeners were invited to cram a school bus full of frozen turkeys and other donations for needy families. The campaign lasts to this day.

Beck’s addiction narrative follows the standard arc: after losing his wife and two kids in the mid-1990s, he woke up face down on the rug of his bleak, two-bedroom apartment (“the kind of place,” he recently told the New York Times, “where loser guys who just got divorced wind up”). So he began cleaning himself up, and after meeting his second wife, Tania, he converted to Mormonism. But his very public backstory has served to immunize Beck from the sort of dirt-digging to which so many sanctimonious conservatives fall victim. If someone’s going to take down Glenn Beck now, they’ll need more than his history with cocaine and Jack Daniels.

Meantime, Beck would find his métier in the talk radio format, earning a syndicated radio program and, briefly, a TV show on CNN’s secondary channel, Headline News. And with the election of Barack Obama in 2008, his life changed for good. He had just moved to Fox, and with mainstream Republicans wearing the stain of the economic meltdown, he helped fill a vacuum of opposition to key Obama initiatives, from the auto industry bailouts to the health care bill.

Beck quickly gained notoriety for ad hominem smears. “The President has deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture,” he said last year, in a remark that sent advertisers scrambling to get off his show. But he hit the mark when he aimed for the President’s Achilles heel, namely, the country’s dismal financial position. With government debt now about 90 per cent of national income, Obama’s continued spending has been nothing less than a betrayal of the founding fathers’ vision, says Beck—a socialist program that will deprive America of its independence. It is this idea that binds him to the Tea Party (he denies official links, yet happily plugs their candidates), and one he has filled out with the themes of far-right thinkers from the previous century, notably a Canadian-born Mormon named Cleon Skousen. Even McCarthy-era conservatives disavowed Skousen, who believed the founding fathers enjoyed divine guidance, and who sought to define America as a Christian nation rather than a secular republic. Beck wrote a new foreword to the writer’s key text, The 5,000 Year Leap. It soon hit No. 1 on Amazon.

And there is apparently a ratings motherlode in paranoid revisionism. Some two million people tune in each night for Beck’s TV show—astonishing numbers for 5 p.m.—where he has raged, wept openly and indulged in end-of-days prophesy. “If we do not put God at the centre of our own personal lives, and the centre of our country, we will not survive,” he told his radio listeners last summer. “The country will be washed with blood, and someone will have to start over, and God only knows how long that takes.” In July 2009, he ran a segment claiming the Obama administration was using a rebate website connected to its cash-for-clunkers program to spy on Americans through their home computers. “These are people who just think they’re smarter than us, and that they need to take care of things because it’s better for the collective,” he said.

To put it mildly, his words have landed like cluster bombs among established conservatives, who reality-check Beck even as he raises their electoral fortunes. Ronald Radosh, a historian and adjunct fellow at the right-leaning Hudson Institute, describes Beck’s historical theories as “political fundamentalism” based on incomplete reading and flawed interpretation of texts. “He doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about,” Radosh told Maclean’s. David Frum, a former speech writer for George W. Bush and a leading voice among mainstream Republicans, has launched a website dedicated to protecting the GOP from the sort of extremism the broadcaster represents. Beck and the Tea Party, he notes, have galvanized older, white voters, first around tax anger, and second, around fear that provisions of Obama’s health care reforms will curtail their coverage. That might have helped gain seats in a mid-term election, Frum says dryly, but it hardly suits the Republican message of fiscal probity. “Lower taxes and more medicare,” he says, “is not a workable formula.”

Still, no one should misunderstand what Beck is doing, which is selling himself, says Greg Baym, who studies media and politics at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. “We have, as a culture, largely given up on the notion of truth with a capital T,” he says. “And in the absence of an objective sense of truth, there is only trust. Glenn Beck has an extremely committed audience that trusts everything he says.”

With trust comes a certain freedom to modulate the message, laughing off one’s own contradictions, Baym notes. He compares Beck’s style not to fellow ultra-conservative broadcasters like O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, but to the liberal TV comedian Jon Stewart, whose Oct. 30 rally in Washington aped the one Beck held in August. Like Stewart, Beck deploys hyperbole, mockery and melodrama, while spinning off the news of the day. As such, says Baym, he is “the newest version of a hybrid” political commentator, who builds credence by speaking as his audience might around a bar, or a water cooler.
Trust can also be good business. In the last two years, Beck and his production company, Mercury Radio Arts, have made the most of his celebrity, publishing two books while embarking on a gruelling series of road shows like the one at Mohegan Sun. His 2009 income has been estimated at $18 million, including $10 million for his radio show. Even O’Reilly—earning a reported $10 million-plus per year—has taken to ribbing him about his wealth.

With the rewards so high, it’s hard to imagine him leaving the studio, from where he is best positioned to influence the 2012 presidential race. Already he has given his message a strategic tweak, leavening it with suggestions that, for Americans, help is on the way. In Connecticut, he posits his personal tale of recovery and redemption as a fable for the U.S. body politic. “You won’t learn until you’re face down on the ground, and that’s where we are as a country,” he says to warm applause. “We will get back up again.”

With that, he leaves the stage, weaving his way through a forest of extended hands, basking in declarations of love as his velvet robes billow behind him. It might only be costume. But on this night the royal garb suits Glenn Beck just fine.


 

In Glenn we trust

  1. One suspects Glenn Beck is a uniquely American phenomenon. Only there do the conditions necessary for his ascendance exist: a national mythology of individualism, a tradition of religious belief, communications media largely without conscience, a failed educational system that has produced a populace ignorant of both history and science, and a cult of celebrity are some of the requirements.

    • "a national mythology of individualism"

      Interesting way to explain the most successful virtue the world has ever known…

      • According to Ayn Rand her cult followers.

        • According to the rational understanding of human nature.

      • You are both right.

  2. Canada's Glenn Beck will emerge one day. SunTV, can't wait until you're here.

    • Canada already has a version of Glenn Beck– Ezra Levant.

      • He's good, but he doesn't seem to have that personality that people rally behind. The man definitely has sound principles though, but just doesn't have that "it" factor that Glenn Beck does. Maybe it's just because we're Canadians though…

  3. "…He has shattered assumptions about what you can do on television." Um, sure, as long as you're completely ignorant, or comfortable feigning complete ignorance, of U.S. televangelism, that statement is pretty accurate.

  4. You know things are out of whack and tilted way to the right when David Frum is described as a mainstream Republican.

  5. You have it all wrong, dear author, it isn't "In GB we trust" it is "With GB we mis-trust."

    He has found a significant demographic profile whose core reaction to soceity is that they do not trust. Their loyalty (regular appriciative viewing) to GB isn't because what GB says is factual (because it is not), they watch him because he enacts their internal commentary of mistrust. (Note: mistrust is one of many possible interpretive reactions that arrise out of the folk idealized cognitive model: Financial transaction —- soceity)

    There are a number of other people that have grasped this method and are making quite a career of it, but are under the radar. If you ever get a chance to watch Chefro Dollar (the name is so richly ironic) you can see an organizing principle in action but based upon a different emotional theme.

  6. Dear A_Logician (Spock): Can you direct us to a successful atheistic society that stresses the collective over the individual, you know, one that would be the opposite of the United States? Are people trying to get into this society in the same way that they are trying to get into the U.S.? I wonder if a lot of Canada’s semi-professional left-wing demonstrators have that good an understanding of Canadian history, beyond a vague feeling that it’s horrible and reparations should be made to designated groups upon recommendation of an NDP sub-committee? Anyway, maybe Beck could work as a Community Organizer to prove his qualifications to be President. It has worked before, you know.

    Live long and prosper and all that.

    • Beck wouldn't dream of being a community organizer. Doing something in the public interest is against the Rand-bot creed.

      • I keep wishing the Rand fans would actually go on strike like their fictional heroes. My guess is hardly anyone would notice and their little mountain hideaway would never get built.

      • I think you are not reading Rand correctly…

        Rands whole notion is that those who better themselves through selfishness, benifit society as a whole and they are much more of a benfit than those "forced" to help society (i.e. through high taxes) … think about it for a while, she is right.

        • I AM think of it and the only thing that comes to mind is Enron <shudder>

          • No brooster, you are not thinking. f4hq is quite accurate. And for every Enron (which you somehow equate with Rand) I can tit for tat you with a counterpart in socialist engineering who has slaughtered millions. Human nature is individualism (for we are all individuals within a larger group) inextricably tied to empathy, a natural human trait. It is the basis of the golden rule, do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Without the ability to empathize, you become supremely unaware of yourself as an individual. Morality stems from this.

        • For such a skilled critic of the text, you sure can't spell for sh*t.

          • Writing clearly so that others can understand what one is trying to communicate, 1) makes it more difficult to tell people they've misunderstood the text as written, and 2) isn't selfish enough.

      • And I bet the community that Barack Obama used to organize is now a model of peace and prosperity, not sure why the media does not visit there more often to show us the post-Obama progess. I guess they're busy with other stuff.

    • "I wonder if a lot of Canada's semi-professional left-wing demonstrators have that good an understanding of Canadian history"

      They couldn't have a more simplistic understanding than you evidently have.

  7. I'd love to have Canadian version of Glenn Beck.
    We need a counter ballance for left-wing biased CBC paid with tax payers $$$

    • Unlikely to happen. No significant history of religious dissenters. The ones we do have, don't want to talk to you (common Canadians) anyways.

      Why don't you have a go at with your own YouTube channel? It is harder than it looks.

    • Have you concluded for yourself that CBC is left-wing biased, or did someone tell you that? If it's just something you heard from someone else, then whoever it was, start calling them Glenn Beck, and there you go!

      • Oh craigola, that was pathetic.
        CBC is biased towards left wing. It is biased and it does not present things the way they really are.

        Do you remember protests at the Parlament Hill for- and against same-sex marriages?
        We had tens protesting "for" and hundreds protesting "against". CBC did not show both demonstrations,
        CBC shown only those tens who protested "for" and they added commentary "all Canadians supports same-sex marriage".

        Another beauty: CBC spent 2 days talking about Harpers spending of $200K on Canadian-promoting tourism adds in foregin media, but they did not say anything about $2B blown at the same time by McGuinty on non-existing eHealh system !!
        Problem with CBC is that while they are biased and left-wing twisted they pretend to be objective and neutral.
        When they presents an opinion they claim (and prehaps really believe) that all Canadian has excactly the same opinion!!
        And all that madness is run by tax-payers $$$ !!!

        At the same time Fox or Sun do not pretend to be neutral and objective, they openly state that thery are
        right-biased and that what makes them a more reliable source of information then libtards from CBC.

        Just listen to Newsbridge when he talks about other TV stations espacuially right-wing biased!
        He publicly stated that "Canada does not need TV such as SUN or Fox" !!!
        And that was said by liberal dude who supposed to defend right to speech! Dude who supposed to nourish freedom of expresion and diversity of opinions!! He tells Canadian what they can or can not watch!!

        I would not mind if CBC was left-wing twisted while not pretending objectivism and not ssucking tex-payers $$$$.
        But they are left-twisted and they live in denial!!

        • You sir are obfuscating and exaggerating. The CBC did indeed cover anti-SSM protests on the Hill. Also, please provide a link where the CBC actually said "All Canadians support SSM". Granted, money was wasted developing eHealth, but you casually doubled it in your statement from 1B to 2B. That's the Fox way– play loose with facts as long as the ideology is rigid.

          • I was watching Peter mansbridge commentary on SSM protests that time.
            …and about McGuinty: even this $1B wasted on eHealth is a huge pile of cash: http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20

            Typical liberal way of portraiting reality is picking on semantics.
            Now we will have another scandal: McGuinty is blowing pile of cash ion contract with Korean wind-mills producer.
            Well…..Ontariens were so stupid to vote for this dude and now Ontario has higher debt per resident than Californa.

    • Well, unfortunately for you, SunTV seems to have bailed on its plans for now because it couldn't get the government to guarantee a revenue stream. Or maybe Quebecor wants to focus on getting government money to bring the Nordiques back to QC.

  8. Glenn Beck reveals the pathology of typical left-leaning, interventionist government run by or influenced too much by 'progressives', that's why so many people in media, academia and politics hate him so much but have a hard time attacking him – because they know deep down that he has a point.

    The sneering author of this article mocks Glenn Beck and especially his listeners in an attempt to prevent anyone from even considering what Beck has to say, coming from a narrow-minded pro-government elitist, that is expected. However, since it's become quite obvious that big government is a failure, ordinary people don't want to wait until it ends, instead they want a limited constitutional government that takes into account the moral intincts of ordinary people.

    • Care to provide a few quotes where the "sneering author of this article mocks Glenn Beck and especially his listeners in an attempt to prevent anyone from even considering what Beck has to say?" The article is right up there, so it shouldn't be too hard.

      • You'll have to re-read the article, pretend the article was targeting liberals instead of mocking Beck and his listeners, then it will become obvious. Perhaps replace Beck with Al Gore and listeners with environmentalists, that should be easy to understand. And you're welcome!

        • aka "no"

        • Weak. Why even post, Philanthropist?

          • You should actually read the article, it's not that long.

          • I did read it, again, you are the one making claims about the article. Come on, one quote. One itty bitty quote.

            "Both of you know I cannae read a word."

            Was this your great grandpappy, genius? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnhM0uDIcxA

          • Obviously you have no counter argument to make, you're just here to smear the walls. Nice try.

          • Still nothing, eh? You can't scroll up to a single offending quote from the article and copy and paste it here? Really?

            Seriously? I mean, really? You can't be bothered? And your response is presumably likening my reasonable request to smearing feces on the walls?

            Weak. You should be ashamed of yourself.

          • Your joking is tiresome, but here I'll give it one more try. Replace 'Beck' in the article with Michael Ignatieff and his listeners with the term 'Liberal sycophants'.
            Being a liberal smart aleck is easy, try thinking for yourself, outside of your box once in a while, you might find it refreshing.

          • You're an idiot who can't back up his posts. Fine for the internet, but sad for you. You said, "The sneering author of this article mocks Glenn Beck and especially his listeners in an attempt to prevent anyone from even considering what Beck has to say, coming from a narrow-minded pro-government elitist, that is expected."

            But, when pressed, you can't give me one sentence from the article. I thought the article was kind of pro Beck. I now understand why you haven't registered. You're a joke. Here's my laundry: do it. Better luck next time, clown.

          • You'll never get a fact based/reason based argument from Philanthropist. He simply a) spouts an assertion about "leftists" then b) repeats (a) when asked to back up said assertion.

    • I can tolerate libertarian critics of the existing political order and I believe there's a valid place for their viewpoint.

      However, I'd prefer them to have more than a passing acquaintance with facts and a lot less zeal for smear tactics and self-righteous religiosity.

      Beck is a demagogue.

      • Here's a question for Beck fans: how can you be so frightened of Islam and embrace a high school dropout Mormon as the arbiter of everything you understand about the world? Is it because you understand neither Islam nor Mormonism?

        • Because he's not flying planes into buildings nor blowing up subways and busses,Trains,nightclubs,Churches.

          • He's not doing much of anything except cashing big checks, but SOME Mormons have a horrible record of repressing rights and abusing children.

            I wouldn't join either faith, but Beck picked that one as an adult.

          • Dear bumblast, your narrow-mindedness is showing again, you should cover that up, it embarrasses you.

          • neither do muslims

          • But Christians DO firebomb federal buildings, so why the double standard?

    • Uhh, who has trouble attacking Glen Beck?

  9. People hate Glenn Beck because he is a hate-mongerer and liar whose only real skill is crying on cue. Personally I think every time Glenn Beck is made to "cry" by someone on the Left an angel gets it's wings http://sherrytalksback.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/m

  10. Just so we're clear, you don't like him, but anyone else who also doesn't like him, is a leftie loon and their umbrage gives you a big laugh?

    I feel like I might just burst into a big ol' ugly cry, Kevy. I'm afraid for my country because I can't dislike Glenn Beck without being a leftie.

  11. Why is Glenn Beck considered such a problem by the media while unapologetic Communists and Socialists surrounding Barack Obama are ignored? A good example would be Van Johnson who's position in the Obama administration was I believe, exposed by Glenn Beck. We're encouraged to worry about someone watching Glenn Beck on TV and adopting his beliefs in smaller government, more individual freedom, etc. but we're discouraged from questioning what kind of Socialist/Communist ideas are promoted by people close to Obama and how much of these desctructive beliefs he has made his own. Take a brief look at the history of the past century and tell me which is more of a problem: Glenn Beck's conservative beliefs or the Socialist/Communist ideas of so many of Obama's friends, associates and colleagues. Isn't it interesting how the Left is always so interested in stifling debate?

    • Communists and socialists… blah blah blah. Beck doesn't give a sh*t about smaller government. Watch, the new Republican House majority will have it's pet spending projects and Beck will cheer them along.

  12. Isn't it intersting how the right doesn't shut up?

    • I'm for anything that annoys the left….

      • Seconded

  13. America's rise to world superpower was fueled by technology and science. Conversely, their downfall will be led by uneducated blowhards like Glenn Beck. It is almost like we are seeing the beginning of a new dark ages. Just as a thousand years ago, when the church burned books and destroyed a millennium worth of knowledge from greek and arab sources, we are seeing history repeat itself.

    Your faith is your own business, but when religion is used to control and stir up the uneducated masses bad things happen. It is no different then what is happening in many arab dictatorships. Control, control control. China is slowly taking over the technological lead from the US. That will only hasten America's slide towards third world status.

    The parallels between this blowhard today and a certain one in Germany in the 1920's are striking. Back then the cult of Nazism was the religion of the day. We saw a declining superpower taken over by uneducated thugs preaching their own gospel to the masses. Ain't no different then today. The only question is will enough Americans say enough is enough? Or will they, as did Germany, wrap themselves in the flag and god…pound their chests…and believe they are the chosen ones. WW111 anyone?

  14. Why so much hostility, folks? I find it ironic how easily we Canadians, who pride ourselves on diplomacy and look down on aggresive American-style political discourse, slip into the same pattern of hyperbole name.

    To those of you who believe Beck and his followers are raving lunatics – leave the fools be! Why get so upset over a bunch of idiots beating their drum? If they are indeed lunatics, then rational debate is not possible – therefore, trying to engage them in one is futile, and only serves to give some level of credence to their ideas.

    To those of you who think the left-wing liberal elites are lunatics, who can’t stand Beck because he is a voice of reason – see my previous comment. Such Extremists cannot respond to reason; why waste your time trying to refute them?

    To everyone else: To be sure, Beck is a polarizing figure. But we as Canadians need to rise above the politics of division, refuse to stoop to the level of childish insults, and protect our culture of civil tolerance… before it is lost forever.

  15. Hitler preached his ideology in the 1920's.
    It's almost a hundred years ago.
    Will history (Hitler) repeat itself?

    • The history its repeating already…unfortunatelly..
      We have growing islamo-fascism that is a threat to civilized world.
      If we do not take strong firm action we will end up with another Hitler – this time in muslim world.

  16. Glenn Beck is a secular version of the cry-on-command histrionic 1980s televangelist. Being a demagogue can be profitable, no surprise here.

  17. Glenn Beck is playing a character with a personality and a style that is laser focused at the souls of an intended audience. It doesn't take many minutes of viewing his television show to see that he's mashing up the most effective and successful aspects of Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones and '60s Bircher author Cleon Skousen, and filtering it all through the performance techniques of a televangelist. Listen to any random monologue by Glenn Beck and then watch some clips of televangelist Jack Van Impe. Both are master manipulators and (crazy aside) riveting speakers. They each nail their audiences with rapid-fire barrages of nonsense presented as dramatic fact — so twisted and obscured that it begins to seem real and anything that might not seem entirely plausible, just have faith. After all, there are complicated drawings on a blackboard! Oh, and he cries. So he must be serious

  18. What a snarky biased article about Glenn Beck.. Glenn has a better graso of history than the Constitution trodding Democrat Party. And WTF does that panty waste Frum know – the sell out from conservatism

  19. but to the liberal TV comedian Jon Stewart, whose Oct. 30 rally in Washington aped the one Beck held in August. This statment is just not true and i have scene it written by other left wing writers,Stewart got maybe 100,000 people and Beck had close to 800,000 people attend his rally.It really doesn't matter much but i really hate it when the left lie like this to try and make a guy like Beck look less poperular then he is because he obviously scares the hell out of them.Which actually back fires on them everytime, the more they try to put Conservatives down more people move in that direction.I truelly hope someone starts a simlar movement here in Canada,its the right time people have had it with these left wing nuts,when TO elects a conseravtive as mayor we know something good is happening to our country.

    • Not by any means an official source; however, one can gather the relative sizes of the two rallies by the amount of space each took up.

      It's not perfect, but the estimates are such: http://i.imgur.com/AoxXh.jpg

      Glenn Beck's rally did not (by any means) come close to 800,000 attendees.

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