Here’s an interesting profile, by James Taranto of the WSJ, of “The Man Second to Rush Limbaugh Whom Liberals Love to Hate.” It’s Glenn Beck of Fox TV.
Glenn Beck didn’t always believe in what he was doing. “When I was young, I used to hear people say, ‘He’s a golden boy. Look at that guy. Can you imagine what he’s going to be like when he grows up?’ Well, I unfortunately bought into that. And I hadn’t even found myself. Quite honestly, I was running from myself. But I knew how to work Top 40 radio.”
“Golden boy” was no exaggeration. “I was in Washington, D.C., on the morning show, by the time I was 18, programming a station by 19, No. 1 in the mornings. I think I was making, I don’t know, a quarter of a million dollars by the time I was 25,” he tells me in his midtown Manhattan office, a few blocks from the Fox News Channel studio where he now broadcasts his eponymous program every afternoon.
A drinking problem helped plunge Mr. Beck into personal and professional crisis: “By the time I was 30,” he says, “nobody would work with me. I was friendless, I was hopeless, I was suicidal, lost my family—I mean, it was bad. Bottomed out, didn’t know what I was going to do. I actually thought I was going to be a chef—go to work in a kitchen someplace.”
Instead he found a calling in talk radio. It was late in the 1990s: “I did one of my first shows at WABC [in New York]. I was filling in for somebody. . . . I used to have to write everything out and keep copious notes on everything. I overprepped everything. And I got to the end of my first hour, and I looked down at all the notes, and I hadn’t touched the first piece of paper. It was all off the top of my head. It was me being me. That’s when I knew: This is what I have to do.”
Mr. Beck, 45, has many detractors, but there’s no denying that he has made a success of himself. In addition to his Fox show, he hosts “The Glenn Beck Program,” syndicated on radio, publishes a magazine and a Web site, and has written seven books. “Somebody told me that our footprint in a month”—the number of people he reaches in all media—”is about 30 million,” he says.
His politics are libertarian. “I really kind of dig this whole freedom thing,” he says. “I’d like to pass it on to the kids.” But he is pessimistic about the prospects for doing so: “I’m a dad, and I no longer see a way for my kids to even inherit the money that I’m making, let alone go out there, have an idea, and create it in their own lifetime.”
Mr. Beck blames a political system that he describes as corrupt and out of touch, a sentiment that is widely shared: “People in Washington . . . not all of them, but a lot of them, are not men and women of honor anymore,” he says. “I just saw a poll today that said 25% of Americans now believe that their government officials will, for the most part, do the right thing. Only 25%. It’s the lowest number ever recorded.”
…Cheerful and affable, Mr. Beck responds good-naturedly, even eagerly, when I ask him to respond to his critics. It’s a far cry from the liberal stereotype of an angry hater. But his worldview has a dark side: “I don’t believe our government officials will do the right thing. They will do the right thing for special interests and for some sort of agenda that they’re not bringing me in on.”
…”I believe the conspiracies, quote-unquote, that are happening now are happening all out in the open. All you have to do is track their actions. Their actions speak louder than their words. It’s easy to throw out, ‘Well, he’s a conspiracy theorist.’ Why do you say that? ‘Well, because they say they’re not doing that.’ But their actions show that they are.
“TARP, stimulus—a stimulus package that makes no sense whatsoever. No sense whatsoever! TARP, stimulus, health care that is behind closed doors, where they’re giving Medicaid free to states, where they’re saying, ‘We’re going to pay for it by reducing the cost of Medicare while we expand Medicare.’ When you look at all those things, and you know that the people who are in and around the planning of those things believe in [welfare activists Richard] Cloward and [Frances Fox] Piven, believe in ["Rules for Radicals'" author] Saul Alinksy—that’s not a conspiracy. That’s a pretty good educated guess.”
To read the rest of this Wall Street Journal article, CLICK HERE.