Independent’s Eye,Â By Joe Gandelman
Saturday August 28, 2010: Dear Diary: I’ve just watched part of Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally and realize how wrong I’ve been!
Here I thought that Beck was just another money-seeking talk show host, trying to get more attention than competitors, trying to build a synergistic empire of radio and television talk shows, books — even a university. Beck’s comments about Barack Obama being a racist who didn’t like white people made me think that Beck was a racist. I saw him as someone who became a multi-millionaire by delivering a big demographic for advertisers via polarizing and demonizing.
But watching Beck, political celebrity Sarah Palin, and the Tea Party-like crowd made me realize that if this had been the1960s they would have been in the front lines with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
How could ANYONE doubt that these folks would be sending letters to LBJ, clamoring for the Civil Rights Act’s passage and organizing to defeat anyone who didn’t support it?
I could envision Beck, Palin and the crowd, their chins thrust forward, arms firmly locked with Dr. King’s, bravely walking into spraying water hoses (perhaps screaming: “Hey, aim that water a little more to the right!!”) while singing “We Shall Overcome.”
I realized that if King was in the audience, King would be applauding, would buy Beck’s books and enroll in Beck’s university. I know J. Edgar Hoover would.
How could anyone watch that rally and doubt that Beck shares just as much a right to claim King’s heritage (or as Sean Hannity might eventually argue more, since Beck’s a Republican) than Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or Andrew Young? Or that the 2010 crowd had as much a right to claim King’s heritage as the 1960s crowd that included civil rights workers?
I mean, the Lincoln statue was the same. So more proof do you need?
I listened to Beck plead that we need to remove the “poison” from our dialogue, think more about God, more about American values, be more unified and realized: this man is an American moral and spiritual leader.
Monday August 30: Dear Diary: Oh what do I do now? Less poison, more unity-advocate Beck just criticized Obama’s religious beliefs. Beck told Fox News that “People aren’t recognizing his version of Christianity.” (Diary entry ends”¦)
The bottom line: Glenn Beck’s rally was theater ““ a movie set packed with extras to frame its star — the next opening salvo in a new synergistic piece for his empire.
Beck has now just-coincidentally-mind-you announced that he’s launching a new conservative, Huffington Post-like mega website The Blaze.
Beck is about product, image and ratings. He has stressed that his company is an “entertainment company” and has said he could “give a flying crap about the political process.”
Those who agree with him insist he’s far more than a talk show host. But he’d lose his ratings and audience if he made nice with Obama, Democrats, liberals, moderate Republicans and stopped pushing the fear and resentment hot buttons. He’d have ratings like CSPAN.
Meanwhile, the event spoke volumes: Beck got massive coverage, sparked lot of commentaries and had people seriously arguing that he and those in the crowd in fact had a real”¦authentic”¦no-joke..not kidding”¦claim on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s legacy ““ a terrific build up to Beck’s just-announced new major conservative website.
Copyright 2010 Joe Gandelman
Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the United States. He has appeared on cable news show political panels and is Editor-in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for independents, centrists and moderates. CNN’s John Avlon named him as one of the top 25 Centrists Columnists and Commentators. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and can be booked to speak at your event at www.mavenproductions.com.
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