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FROM STERN AND IMUS! Salon’s biographical series on Beck describes a long, massive dumbing: // link // print // previous // next //
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2009

From Stern and Imus down to Beck: A modern nation can’t run on dumb. That said, we strongly recommend Salon’s superb biographical series about kooky talker Glenn Beck. Click here.

Everything Beck says isn’t wrong (more tomorrow). But a great deal he says is exceptionally dumb, or just crazy. Salon’s biographical articles, by Alexander Zaitchik, help show where Beck’s brand of dumb comes from. In Zaitchik’s deeply depressing portrait, Beck is at heart just a drug-addled “morning zoo” jock, applying the dim-witted attention-grabbing techniques he learned on local Top 40 radio in the 1980s. Though you should also read this earlier piece by Zaitchik about “the man who changed Glenn Beck’s life.” This is what happens when dumb turns “political.”

Zaitchik’s articles place Beck in a context we have discussed before. At one time, there were rules about who was allowed near microphones, at least on the national level. During The Age of Murrow, you simply weren’t allowed on the air (on a national level) if you were exceptionally dumb, very nutty, or blatantly fake and phony. But then, the democratization of media! First, we let Howard Stern on the air, then we decided to make room for Imus. Now, the process of dumbing-down has extended all the way down to Beck.

He’s on the cover of Time—for good reason.

We once had rules, enforced by priests—by an elite comprised of people like Murrow. No, that wasn’t a perfect system. But now, the democratization of media has given us a loud, inane, morning zoo jock—a man by the name of Beck. And we have no national press corps which is willing to apply old standards to such low-grade practitioners. For many years, Time’s David von Drehle was a major figure at the Washington Post. To see him roll over and die for Beck, just read Jamison Foser’s piece. Just a guess at the motives behind von Drehle’s nonsense: Time wasn’t willing to offend new readers—new readers drawn to the magazine this week by their love for Glenn Beck.

Those articles at Salon are very important. But in the comments, note how many liberals insist that Salon shouldn’t be publishing them! If we’re going to call Beck dumb, what must we say of ourselves?

A modern nation can’t run on dumb. Your nation is in major trouble.

Special report: Liberals [HEART] race!

PART 3—Tomorrow: We didn’t like our results again. Part 3 tomorrow.