Patricia McGuire
University president

Patricia McGuire

President of Trinity Washington University.


Unconscionable TV

Question: Not everyone at Fox News is celebrating the success of the cable channel's fastest rising and most controversial star. Is internal sniping inevitable when someone in an organization suddenly attracts attention or wins acclaim? How much criticism or jealousy from colleagues typically accompanies success?

Answer: What has Glenn Beck ever done to enjoy the adulation of millions of television viewers and the millions of dollars he's raked in as a result? He has fomented hatred, vilified social justice, glorified wingnut behavior as good citizenship. True conservatives should rise up in outrage against this made-for-TV cariacature who has twisted a legitimate political ideology beyond recognition. Too bad Barry Goldwater is no longer with us because the Arizona Senator who put "conscience" back into "conservative" might have some choice words for Beck's unconscionable bastardization of real conservatism.

Beck's problems at the network arise from more than petty internal bickering. Beck's real problem is that he has quickly become for political commentary what Lindsay Lohan is for serious acting -- a sideshow that could be hilarious or pathetic were it not about deadly serious issues for American society.

Political commentators of all stripes push the envelope, of course --- finding the outer edge of American tolerance for outrageous political statements is a blood sport made even more vicious in the Internet age. No comment made on television ends there; thanks to YouTube and blogs, every word, every slur, every half-truth and outright lie lives forever.

Beck's attack on economic and social justice as being tantamount to communism or Nazism --- he urged people to "run as fast as you can" from any church that uses the "code words" economic and social justice --- was the final straw for many other conservatives. The attack goes to the heart of many faiths, most notably, Christianity. I suspect that Fox television executives might be worried about losing some market share among fundamentalist Christians whose pastors are now urging them to boycott Beck.

True conservatives know that our precious freedoms are not absolute. True conservatives promote the idea of ethical self-governance and restraint in order to stave off governmental interference in the rights of individuals.

By ignoring the fundamental ethical imperative to speak the truth and to accord other human beings some modicum of respect even while disagreeing with them, Beck betrays his ideology and clearly exposes himself to legitimate questions about his judgment and professionalism.

By Patricia McGuire  |  March 21, 2010; 2:45 PM ET  | Category:  sniping Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Don't like him?
Don't watch him!

Posted by: SeniorVet | March 24, 2010 12:59 PM
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LOTTAACTION wrote: He's no more "out there" than Keith Olberman from MSNBC. But you never here Olberman being criticized by the media(except Fox News).


I submit to you that the reason you don't see or hear Olberman "criticized" like Glenn Beck is because Olbeman speaks directly to, and comments directly on tangible evidence. You never see Olberman rant about imaginary events. Olberman picks a topic, proves it happened, then sets forth to critique it on its merits. His wry insight makes it a debate one can have for real.

Beck on the other hand, foments fear and boogey-men, ones he himself dredges up from his own thinking process. You never see any video clips or statements to back up what Beck says on the air. You hear and see edited, out of context snippets that he can twist to make his "points". And very often, Beck simply takes a one-sided argument which has made it viral on the internet and uses it as fact to start a rampage, whether or not the argument has nay merit.

The name Joseph McCarthy comes to mind when comparing Beck. With Olberman, you get Samuel Clemens being channeled. I would far, far rather have the wit and intelligence of Olberman's Mark Twain cynicism over the sociopathic fear-mongering of another Joseph McCarthy like Glenn Beck.

Posted by: swatkins1 | March 22, 2010 5:49 AM
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The fact that Glenn Beck is not saying anything different than a lot of people who post here is not saying much. I have read a lot of stupid, angry, hateful statements by commentator here. Beck with his tears and bizarre conspiracy theories is far from the mainstream. Some conservatives like to say that he is no worse than Olberman. The advertiser seem to think differently. It is Beck's show that they do not want to be associated with. Beck is reduce to selling gold and "survival seeds" to people afraid of black helicopters and reeducation camps.

Posted by: exbrown | March 22, 2010 2:20 AM
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People who take Glen Beck for anymore than what he is, a bimbo, are so uneducated it really is sad.

Posted by: tuttlegroup | March 22, 2010 12:52 AM
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He's no more "out there" than Keith Olberman from MSNBC. But you never here Olberman being criticized by the media(except Fox News). It's funny to me how the media continually accidentally expose their leftist ideology but are so blinded by opportunism to take a shot at the right they don't realize they've done it until it's too late.

It's even better when like-minded readers froth at the mouth to join in the character assasintation. Glenn Beck is no more different than any poster on the Post website except that he has the guts to show his face when he speaks his mind. Everyone else hides behind the "submit" button.

Posted by: lottaaction | March 22, 2010 12:26 AM
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Richard, Beck's ideas about FDR being a Communist come directly from W. Cleon Skousen, a radical right anti-Communist Mormon was big on the far right speaking circuit in the 1950's. He got so far out that far right organizations all but disowned him in the 1960's and he sank into relative obscurity. In the 80's he wrote a book called The 5000 Year Leap which Beck apparently thinks is holy write. He's been pimping it non-stop on his show and it's now a best seller. Skousen was a paranoid McCarthyite and historical revisionist, and a Christian Nationalist with a Mormon twist, though even the Mormon Church had pretty much disowned him by the time he died. Among the ideas in his book is that the US Constitution owes more to the Old Testament than to The Enlightenment. He's a quak conspiracy theorist, and Beck is his acolyte. Like other Christian revisionists he pushes the idea that history as we know it has already been revised and he's setting the record straight. The true tragedy is that Americans are so poorly educated about their own history that they don't know any better. It's somewhat heartening that he's finally pushed the envelope so much that mainstream Conservatives are turning against him.

Posted by: Chip_M | March 21, 2010 10:42 PM
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I've watch a little Glenn Beck TV lately and I've come away with a real sense of outrage at what this sorry excuse for a political commentator is getting away with. I won't get into the nonsense he put out on the term "social justice" since it has already been covered. My outrage at him comes from his spectacularly stupid attempts to rewrite American History. It's bad enough that conservative broadcasters of his ilk have dubbed our President a socialist and a marxist. Beck wants to go one better and go back into history to paint Franklin Delano Roosevelt as a socialist who cavorted with communists. FDR is probably among the top five of U.S. Presidents. Rather than a socialist, he was the savior and champion of the free enterprise system. He left our free enterprise economy in a far better condition than he found it, converting our country from a second rate economic basket case, to a military and economic world power. Then this dim-wit Beck, who isn't qualified to teach grade school civics, comes along as a self appointed historian and rewrites history for all the dim-wits in his audience who are gullible enough to believe his blabber.

Posted by: rcairo | March 21, 2010 9:38 PM
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Two words: Elmer Gantry. I am afraid that Glen Beck is intelligent but he is too smart for his own good. I believe he knows what exactly he is doing as he has an agenda just as Elmer Gantry did. Where Gantry lusted after a woman, Beck lusts after fame and celebrity. Gantry and Beck have the gift of persuasion and the ability to read people however both use it for personal gain when it could and should be used toward the greater good of society.

Posted by: enchantingrrl | March 21, 2010 7:51 PM
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Frankly, I'm not all that concerned about Glenn Beck. .

My real concern centers on the audience he attracts. What does his program say about their intelligence, emotional or otherwise?

Posted by: danh2027 | March 21, 2010 6:48 PM
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You have it right. I don't know how this nut ever got a show, beats me how many people listen to him, scary to think there are so many crazies out there, he is one big joke, but he is with the one network that employs crazies, and I am sure there is a lot of IN fighting going on because they all think they are wonderful.

Posted by: audrey2010 | March 21, 2010 5:50 PM
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