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Is Glenn Beck losing his edge?
March 10, 2011 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Is Glenn Beck losing his edge? David Carr certainly thinks so (NYT link). While Beck's numbers are still high in comparison to his rivals, he's lost around a third of his viewership, primarily younger viewers. Fox is even thinking about life without Beck.

What has led to the giant's decline? Is it because James Cameron called him a madman? A more likely alternative is that using cupcakes to explain inflation is just a tasty bridge too far. And, of course, it's possible that viewers are tired of dire, apocalyptic warnings and non sequitur rants, but I blame the cupcakes.
posted by willhopkins (34 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
More on Beck's dropping ratings.
posted by willhopkins at 11:26 AM on March 10, 2011


If you're going to run a show based on the allegation the sky is falling, at some point people tune out when the sky does not actually fall.
posted by GuyZero at 11:50 AM on March 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Some of the comments that follow the Business Insider article are deeply disturbing.
posted by juiceCake at 11:54 AM on March 10, 2011


Is it because the next election is well over a year away and conservatives only need to keep the base anger at "simmer" until summer 2012 and then turn up the heat?
posted by DU at 11:57 AM on March 10, 2011


If an effort to keep up with the cool kids and their trendy shows like The Wire and Seinfeld, I got cable TV for Christmas. One night a couple of weeks ago, during the Egypt riots, I was reading a book while my wife was flipping the channels on TV in a futile effort to find a anything that did not involve tattoos, hoarding, or cupcakes.

She landed on the Rachel Maddow Show. Maddow's show apparently has a segment where she mocks Fox News. On this segment she was running a clip from Glen Beck from earlier that day. I'm sort of half listening, but mostly reading this book I had just bought, when I suddenly hear Beck blurt out "This, friends, is the coming insurrection!"

My wife turns to me suddenly and says "Hey! But that's-!"

I simply look up at her and say, "Welcome to the Matrix."

The book I was reading? The Coming Insurrection.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:37 PM on March 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Heh. The blurbs on The Coming Insurrection include:
"This is quite possibly the most evil thing I’ve ever read."
— Glenn Beck, Fox News / Glenn Beck Program
I'd bet good money he had a hand in writing it. It reeks of fishy false-flag strawman. "Know your enemy! Buy this book!" Um. Okay. Sure.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:48 PM on March 10, 2011


The book I was reading? The Coming Insurrection.

Interesting. Quite by chance I caught about ten minutes of a movie with a similar title but with naked people in it and it wasn't an insurrection that was on the way.
posted by juiceCake at 12:49 PM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maddow's show apparently has a segment where she mocks Fox News.

Eh, not really. She has spent some time doing a bit of that kind of thing, but it's far from a regular segment or anything. And she's kind of backed off on the humor/mocking thing a bit since her interview with Jon Stewart where she tried to proclaim herself on his team and he pretty much told her that isn't the case at all.
posted by hippybear at 12:52 PM on March 10, 2011


So, Carr got this: Fox News officials are willing to say — anonymously, of course; they don’t want to be identified as criticizing the talent — that they are looking at the end of his contract in December and contemplating life without Mr. Beck.

Let me get a little Beckian for a moment. Beck's ratings are faltering a bit. So Fox News leaks anonymously to the (dirty liberal) NYTimes that Fox may be considering dropping Beck in December. The Beck base rallies to him to keep him safe from the ravages and slander of the NYTimes.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:53 PM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even if the blabbering idiot were to fall from graces completely (I don't know, have sex with Hillary Clinton while wearing an AFL-CIO button and praising true socialized medicine all while screaming "The Koch Brothers are un-American") Fox News will find some other uneducated loud mouth to fill his time slot.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:53 PM on March 10, 2011


Remember when Morton Downey Jr. was going to destroy the entire world with his talk show? Good times, good times...
posted by briank at 1:05 PM on March 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


GuyZero: "If you're going to run a show based on the allegation the sky is falling, at some point people tune out when the sky does not actually fall."

I dunno - Christianity's still kicking it after 2k+ years!

(and Alex Jones is still going strong, too)
posted by symbioid at 1:15 PM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


hippybear: "Maddow's show apparently has a segment where she mocks Fox News.

Eh, not really. She has spent some time doing a bit of that kind of thing, but it's far from a regular segment or anything. And she's kind of backed off on the humor/mocking thing a bit since her interview with Jon Stewart where she tried to proclaim herself on his team and he pretty much told her that isn't the case at all.
"

Stewart's not on my team, this is true.
posted by symbioid at 1:24 PM on March 10, 2011


The New York Times, with its inaccurate (hell, I'd call it lying) coverage of the Wisconsin Crisis (and its puff-piece on one of the Koch brothers - but hey, they sell paper, maybe the Grey Lady got a deal on newsprint), is no longer a reliable source, and very likely was happily fed this story by Roger Ailes himself.

But there are reasons FoxNews never moved its second-highest rated show into a timeslot (Prime Time, baby), where it could have picked up even more audience: first, with all the advertiser boycotts against Beck, he was a loss-leader, pumping up the ratings without pumping up the revenue. Second, he's a loose cannon who wasn't reading Mr. Ailes' talking points, so if they ever find it 'safe' to dump him, they will.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:27 PM on March 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


symbioid == Rachel Maddow?

Welcome to MetaFilter!
posted by hippybear at 1:31 PM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


LOL!

To be fair, I don't fully consider her on my team either! :P
posted by symbioid at 1:32 PM on March 10, 2011


to get back on topic - that book looks interesting. how is it, pastabagel???
posted by symbioid at 1:36 PM on March 10, 2011


Why do we pay so much attention to these loudmouths anyway? They don't represent America. They rant on about how they are the ones who get America but run away from running for office and actually doing anything. They're just entertainers who get paid to make us laugh.
posted by Philosopher's Beard at 2:06 PM on March 10, 2011


Why do we pay so much attention to these loudmouths anyway? They don't represent America. They rant on about how they are the ones who get America but run away from running for office and actually doing anything. They're just entertainers who get paid to make us laugh.
posted by Philosopher's Beard at 4:06 PM on March 10

Walker is governor. I'm not laughing.

"they're just entertainers" is a wonderful sleight of hand to disarm us from focusing on the fact that their words have a LOT of power over enough people that they end up doing things like destroying the last vestiges of workers rights, stripping social programs and more, all while cutting taxes... Fear of the commie boogieman seems like a joke to us, but it isn't to them. It's not *him* that's the problem... it's his followers. And they are not laughing either.
posted by symbioid at 2:14 PM on March 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


to get back on topic - that book looks interesting. how is it, pastabagel???
posted by symbioid at 4:36 PM on March 10


I wouldn't bother with it. IF you are intersted in the kinds of things this books discussess, you are better off reading Hardt and Negri's Empire. I suppose TCI captures the attitude of the intellectuals who backed and organized the protests in Europe in the 2005-2009 timeframe, so it's instructive from that perspective. But it is more angry and less thoughtful, more reactionary and less progressive, and like much of this kind of writing, advocates a generic collectivist utopia whose details it utterly fails to define or even sketch.

The Coming Insurrection is also not at all instructive when trying to understand the middle east protests, because the context and frames are totally different. The Coming Insurrection represents a decidedly European viewpoint, in particular that one that equates capitalism with consumerism with America with bad. It advocates a violent reaction but in the context of European (in particular French) civil society--throw a molotov, gains some street and leftist cred, and the worst that will happen to you is you get some jail time.

In the middle east, the stakes are their highest, and their demands are actually the opposite. They want out of the poverty and into the "moderate" modern lifestyle that they feel their totalitarian leaders have kept from them.

That said, for Beck to cite the book in the context of the egyptian protests is telling for a number of reasons.

1. It reveals that both he and his audience are uneducated and anti-intellectual. Beck can completely characterize the book as some kind of jihadist manual--which is absolutely and quite obviously is not--because he knows his audience will never pick it up or spend the 2.5 hours it would take to read it. They would rather judge the book from the title and the publishers summary rather than invest the time to read it, because they know there is no way they'd get even the thinly veiled references to Hardt and Negri, Deleuze, etc. and they wouldn't understand them if they did.

2. It proves that other people are feeding Beck his topics. I don't mean he has writers, I mean he must be consulting with people who are telling him generally what topics to cover. There is no way Beck comes across this book on his own, and he obviously didn't read it. Someone else did read it, gave him some salacious out-of-context quotes, and he's repeating it. I suspect the people who did read it are the kinds of people that are more worried about the riots in Europe that are reactios to the austerity measures and less about jihad, but they must think that to stop the former, you stop the latter.

tl;dr: Glenn Beck is an idiot; his readers are morons; Beck is a puppet of other more influential people who are concerned more about a resurgence of collectivism in Europe but want to address that by conflating it with jihadism in the minds of the tea party rabble; skip the Coming Insurrection and just read Empire if angry leftism is your thing.

much tl;dr: Avoid all media for three months and just read A Thousand Plateaus.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:45 PM on March 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


symbioid: Isn't this thread supposed to be about Glenn Beck and such media types?
posted by Philosopher's Beard at 2:50 PM on March 10, 2011


(I don't know, have sex with Hillary Clinton while wearing an AFL-CIO button and praising true socialized medicine all while screaming "The Koch Brothers are un-American")

No, Beck shooting dope while announcing his gay betrothal to a socialist muslim who performs live-birth abortions while he wraps his head in a turban and then cuts to a commercial offering dollar-denominated savings bonds and then returns to a segment of lustily leading his studio audience in a chant of allahu akhbar, ALL DRY EYED.
posted by telstar at 2:57 PM on March 10, 2011


ALL DRY EYED

Crazy talk.
posted by GuyZero at 2:59 PM on March 10, 2011


Why do we pay so much attention to these loudmouths anyway? They don't represent America.

Because they put voice to what becomes the belief system for a lot of Americans. Like it or not, they have mastered the "perception becomes reality" distortion field that allows them to do things like convince some of the poorest people in America that they have more in common with the Koch brothers than equally destitute liberals and should therefore do anything possible to protect one and destroy the other.

For a lot of people, repetition becomes truth, and when you have your own channel and powerful communications discipline, you can keep hammering viewers with the same message over and over again, and it doesn't matter if it's an outright lie. They will eventually fight to the death to prove to others that it's reality.

So no, they may not represent America, but they're doing a pretty good job of shaping the narrative for about half of it.
posted by quin at 3:00 PM on March 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Beck responded, "David Carr? That guy couldn't complete a pass to save his life these days. Who's he to talk about someone else losing their edge?"
posted by legion at 4:04 PM on March 10, 2011


Pastabagel: "
That said, for Beck to cite the book in the context of the egyptian protests is telling for a number of reasons.
"

He actually railed against the book when it was first published a couple years ago. Back then, it was the game plan for radical leftist/eco-terrorist types. I guess now it's just his go-to scare book.

because he knows his audience will never pick it up or spend the 2.5 hours it would take to read it.


They might not read it, but they've certainly been buying it. Semiotext(e) hasn't (to my knowledge) released the actual numbers, but its far and away their bestselling title by a huge margin. It's quite hilarious actually, because if you go to the book's Amazon page the "Customers who bought this also bought" section is full of ridiculous conservative shit like Beck and Ayn Rand and Dinesh D'Souza.
posted by fryman at 4:18 PM on March 10, 2011


Avoid all media for three months and just read A Thousand Plateaus.

For a long time I've wanted a t-shirt that says "Who the fuck is D[eleuze] & G[uattari]?"
posted by octobersurprise at 4:47 PM on March 10, 2011


> And she's kind of backed off on the humor/mocking thing a bit since her interview with Jon Stewart where she tried to proclaim herself on his team and he pretty much told her that isn't the case at all.

It doesn't detract from your original point, but wasn't it essentially the other way round? She was endeavouring to say that Jon was "on her team". But Jon's point was that he wasn't becoming a journalist, and that if she thought so, then perhaps it was because journalists were becoming more like him, and perhaps that was to our collective detriment. I'm a regular TRMS viewer, so I am pleased that she seems to have taken this gentle rebuke at on board. A bit anyway. :)
posted by adamt at 7:52 PM on March 10, 2011


adamt: Perhaps I misunderstood the thrust of the exchange, but I recall that Maddow was trying to draw equivalences between her show and her humor/schtick moments and what he does on his show, and Stewart was pushing back hard against her, saying that she is a journalist and he's a humorist and that she really shouldn't be even trying to be doing that kind of thing on her show.

But yeah, either way, that conversation seems to have moved her back a bit from trying to do schticky things during her news commentary show, and I think it is for the better.
posted by hippybear at 8:00 PM on March 10, 2011


Yeah, I've got Empire and 1kP and Anti-Oedipus.

WTF is up w/ D&G (sorry, that pomo shit is great for inspiring music, but making sense... not so much, LOL).

Empire? Seemed pretty staid and traditional from what little I got out of it (couldn't read the whole thing it seemed to bore me... I should try again?)
posted by symbioid at 10:28 PM on March 10, 2011


Glenn Beck these days reminds me of Andy Kaufman in his sad last years.
posted by nj_subgenius at 4:45 AM on March 11, 2011


Did Glenn Beck Just Blame the Japanese Quake on 'Radical Islam'?
posted by homunculus at 12:01 PM on March 15, 2011


Glenn Beck's theory is that some kind of higher entity sent an earthquake to Japan because of "that stuff we're doing," which "really suck[s]." And some of that "stuff" may involve "radical Islam in America" and not following the "ten rules of thumb."...

He has the "answer," he says. And the "answer" is: "Buckle up. Buckle up, 'cause it's going to be a bumpy ride."


Please, please let the bumps in the road be because we're driving over him...
posted by quin at 12:19 PM on March 15, 2011


Is including Gaia in this his way of getting the weirdo conspiracy theory hippies on board? Cuz it seems like it'd piss off his traditional Jesus-loving crew. Strange.
posted by symbioid at 12:27 PM on March 15, 2011


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