The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

15 January 2008

AP: Glenn Beck's Hospital Video Fuels Movement


Beck Uses YouTube Success To Attack Hospital Care

After the unexpected smash success of a bizarre YouTube clip filmed from his hospital bed, Glenn Beck is heading a new "crusade" against indifferent patient care.

After receiving what he considers substandard treatment, Beck talks about having considered suicide. Since then, the syndicated talker / CNN-HN host has told listeners he was there for haemorrhoidal surgery.

And thanks to the 800,000 views his video generated, the mainstream media is taking notice, including the AP:

Beck's Bad Hospital Visit Fuels Crusade


NEW YORK (AP) — The video of a disheveled, unshaven Glenn Beck talking about a hemorrhoid operation gone wrong feels like one of those late-night, partying-with-your-friends pictures posted — to your eternal regret — on Facebook the next day.

The whole world can see one of your worst moments. In Beck's case, it rapidly became an Internet sensation, fueling the CNN Headline News host's new crusade against health care practitioners who don't care.

"I didn't realize why this was a story until recently, and that's because everyone knows that this is true," he said. "Everyone has gone through this."

Beck made the seven-minute video for his fans, posting it on his Web site. The intention was to explain why he wasn't coming back to work until last week, but it took a detour into the truly weird.

His eyes look bleary and he has a week's growth of beard. His head is propped on a blue pillow. He says he has "some stories that will melt your brain."

What was expected to be an outpatient procedure put Beck in the hospital for five days, with doctors offering a medicine cabinet's worth of drugs to ease his pain. The drugs made him hallucinate and briefly suicidal, Beck said.

"By Saturday night if they had come into my room with a handgun and said, `OK, we can give you some more medication or take this gun and blow your head off' ... I would have honestly taken the handgun at that point and ended it," he says on the tape.

Later in the story,
Bauder tries to turn this into a partisan issue, despite the fact that some of Beck's critics are on the right:

As a conservative talk show host, Beck has his share of enemies. The tape was ripe for parody, and critics have jumped in. One man posted a tape online where he cried like a baby, his head placed in the camera at a similar angle to Beck's.

Cenk Uygur, a commentator for the liberal Air America Radio, said he felt like going by Beck's hospital bed and tossing him some bootstraps.

"I feel bad because he went through some really bad stuff," Uygur said. "But he came out with this epiphany — the health care system in America is broken. You don't say!"

The story derails here for two reasons: Uygur's Air America show was cancelled and the use of a common conservative phrase does little for his credibility. When a libtalker utilizes language such as "bootstraps", should we insist he apply it to every issue?

It is true, however, that the clip begs to be parodied, so it's no surprise to read that it has already occurred.

But the main point has somehow been missed: how do we know the whole thing wasn't a stunt? If you were having this kind of surgery performed, would you want the whole world to know about it? And if you'd had bona fide thoughts of committing suicide, would you so casually mention it in a video clip and have it posted to YouTube?

Has anyone bothered to ask Beck which medications he was given and whether suicidal thoughts are a common (or even occasional) reaction? Or does this clip represent a more general cry for help?

We do know he was there for a procedure, since one of the hospital's administrators has confirmed that. Beyond that, Beck is either crackers, or this was some kind of crazy ploy that has unexpectedly generated headlines. Which is it?

Yes, substandard hospital care does exist in this country, but you're still better off getting sick here than just about anywhere else. While a "crusade" against medical malpractice might be needed, Glenn Beck is one heck of a strange poster child for this fledgling "movement".

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  • I'm no Beck fan. But his interview with Neil Cavuto on FBC was entirely persuasive to me that this is genuine.

    Beck went into great detail as to the narcotics he was given, and the resultant respiratory distress. He was completely forthcoming about his addictions, too.

    He was given multiple opportunities to name the hospital in question, and/or the name of the administrator who seems utterly clueless about the problems in his hospital. Brian, the Beck I know never hesitates to call out fools and name names.

    If he's fooled me, so be it.

    By Blogger Ed, at 15 January, 2008 16:58  

  • I don't always agree with Glenn, but I do like him and believe him. Most criticism of him is that he is "too" honest. Being married to a lying dog for too many years, I appreciate Glenn's honesty even when it is embarrassing.

    I like your site, even though I don't always agree with you, either. Keep up the good work.

    By Blogger Renee, at 16 January, 2008 00:31  

  • Now that I see that my post works, here's the rest of my opinion.

    Glenn Beck is not asking for government intervention in health care. From what I've heard, he just wants compassion to be put back into health care. He complimented his doctors and several other healthcare workers. He just had issues with some not listening or caring about the sick and hurting.

    I have a friend that's a nurse and she said to NEVER go to the hospital without someone with you to be your advocate. The nurses are overworked and don't have time to give the care they would like. A nurse looking you in the eye, taking a few minutes and actually listening to you makes a world of difference in the way you feel about your care. That's pretty much what Glenn is after.

    By Blogger Renee, at 16 January, 2008 00:44  

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