First: a confession. I have not been a particularly diligent media reporter where Glenn Beck is concerned. In fact, I don’t think I have ever watched an episode or even a few minutes of his 5 p.m. Fox News program since its debut in 2009. My only experience with Beck, other than reading about him, was back in 2006 when I caught a couple of episodes of his HLN show. I was on vacation in Hawaii from Australia, and, struggling with the time differences, taking a decent amount of Ambien to regulate my circadian whatnots. Early every evening, the previous night’s dose would turn me into a smiling zombie and I would lie on my spinning bed—I swear it was—as Beck held court on the hotel room TV. The strange man made me giggle.
This morning I watched the first bit of Beck I’ve seen since those halcyon Hawaiian days and not much has changed, except I didn’t need the drugs for the spinning to start. The bit was a segment from last night’s show in which Beck “explains” the allegedly very mutual and amicable decision to
leave the network “transition off” Fox later this year.
A lot of smart enough stuff has been written about Beck’s leaving. I tend to agree with Salon’s Alex Pareene that it’s probably a mutually beneficial thing—Beck makes more money off the air than on, and he’s a fast-falling commodity for the network. My favorite line among all the Beck goodbye analysis, though, comes from The New York Times, always looking to take a rather too erudite tone with stories like this: “Critics loudly condemned him for living with his own facts ” Let’s call a spade a spade. The guy was doing more than “living with his own facts.”
But for the best insight into why Beck will be leaving Fox’s hallowed halls sooner than later, just watch Beck himself tell you why. There he was last night, next to his famous blackboard—featuring a map of the world marked with dollar signs and stars and crescents—and in front of some ladders, naturally, explaining that he never really wanted the 5 p.m. show and that “I avoid confrontation like nobody’s business.” As to why he’s moving on, Beck explains: “Paul Revere did not get up on the horse and say, ha, I’m going to do this for the rest of my life.” No, says Beck, “He got off the horse at some point and fought in the revolution. Then he went back to silversmithing.”
Later he looks into the camera and
warns assures his viewers, “We will find each other.”
I have little idea of what Beck was trying to say—maybe I needed a pill to help—but the segment helped explain why this guy has lost his place on TV.Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor. Tags: Fox News, Glenn Beck, New York Times, Salon, The Blaze