The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

09 March 2010

Glenn Beck's Massa Mess Derails Audience Credibility


Ill-Fated Interview Decision Decimates Remaining Credibility

The Glenn Beck Circus has officially folded its tent.

Though the host himself, networks that employ him and some supporters may not know it yet, yesterday's hour-long on-air spectacle with scandal-plagued former Rep Eric Massa (D-NY) marks the likely beginning of the end for this two-bit carnival huckster.

Already, the left is ridiculing his botched act, using Beck's postmortem analysis from today's radio show.

Saving Beck so far is the unwillingness of many key conservatives to condemn Beck for fear of a backlash from his fans. Will that pattern soon end? Yesterday's debacle certainly opened the door.

Just as important is whether our state-run media friends who've spent so much time creating the image of Beck as conservative ringleader will now work to bring him down and hope for accompanying damage to the movement.

With all the hype of a circa-1980s Geraldo Rivera special, Beck revealed his vault was as empty as Al Capone's. Time Magazine's Michael Scherer pegs it here:

Massa had come on Fox to out-Beck Glenn Beck. Armed with the very same weapons — a deep sense of victimhood, outrage at the powers that be and remarkable personal candor — the Representative delivered a dizzying confessional. He admitted to sexless groping and tickling of his staff, sending inappropriate text messages and otherwise failing to behave like a Congressman should, all as he made his case that his fellow Democrats had really gone after him because of his previous no vote on health care reform. "I can't fight this. I can't fight cancer," Massa announced, in a classic stream-of-consciousness ramble. "I can't fight the White House. I can't fight the Democratic Party." (See TIME's cover story "Mad Man: Is Glenn Beck Bad for America?")

Beck, who is used to controlling the gravitational force of victimhood around him, kept interrupting to point out that he was a bigger target of even greater forces than Massa. "I have two unauthorized biographies coming out against me in the spring," Beck said at one point. Minutes later, Beck went even further. "Do you realize my family is at stake?" he said. "You've got a little scandal with your children in college. I've got one for all time now, because I am not going to resign. I'm not going to back down. I have come to a place where I believe at some point the system will destroy me."

But Beck could not compete with the oddity of the sympathy card Massa kept pulling. He appeared frustrated that Massa wasn't revealing any more sinister plots afoot in the nation's capital, and he got visibly annoyed when Massa tried to take some measure of responsibility for his actions and attempted to walk back some of his more heated rhetoric against White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

And to make things worse, when Massa turned from discussing his own woes to the machinations of Washington, he offered ideas that have no place in Fox News's tightly regulated framework. Massa suggested that Beck and other Americans demand "campaign finance reform" to curb the corruption on Capitol Hill. Beck, who has called such proposals a "huge mistake," put his hand over his mouth, as if he were holding back an upset stomach. Massa, who has opposed Obama's health reform because it is not liberal enough, told Beck that he should stop calling people names like "socialist" and "communist." "You can be a progressive and be a fiscal conservative," Massa then explained, as Beck lost control of his own program.


But in Massa, Beck found a sort of liberal doppelgänger, a mesmerizing train wreck of a man who was impossible to undercut in the classic fashion. To many conservative allies of Beck, it probably didn't come as too much of a surprise. In recent days, prominent Republicans like Bill Kristol had expressly warned Beck and others about coming to Massa's defense just because he was alleging dirty tricks by the Obama White House. "We shouldn't get into the business of being pro-Massa just because we are anti–health care," Kristol said on Monday on Fox. The ruling talk-radio king, Rush Limbaugh, spent much of Tuesday making clear that he would not be tied to Massa, after spending much of Monday praising Massa's revelations about Democratic Party politics. "Anybody who embraces this guy is in big trouble," Limbaugh said.


But Beck, who thrives on publicity stunts and controversy, could not resist engaging with Massa. On Tuesday morning, during his radio show, Beck compared the Democrat to both a mobster wanting to testify against John Gotti and a potential Soviet spy wanting to "cross over to our side." The conservative blogger Michelle Malkin called into the show to tell Beck he was making a mistake. "This guy deserves 60 minutes of our time, really?" Malkin asked.

Beck would not budge. But as those 60 minutes came to an end on Tuesday afternoon, the rabble-rouser seemed to recognize that he had fallen into a trap. The Beck big top has room for only one carnival barker at a time. "I think I have wasted your time," Beck said, staring into the camera at an audience he once spent weeks telling about fanciful FEMA prison camps. "I think this is the first time I have wasted an hour of your time."

Many fans looked the other way when Beck revealed his support for the widely-discredited global warming theory, not to mention his now-infamous assertion that Obama is better for the country that McCain would have been as president. But yesterday's program revealed to all that the emperor truly has no clothes. Will loyal supporters continue to ignore the warning signs?

For the sake of the movement, key conservative leaders must break their silence and openly denounce Beck's distracting sideshow now before Beck is able to undercut gains in November's election.

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  • Having viewed the Foxnews show Tuesday and listening to Beck this morning, I have an entirely different interpretation of the events. Yes, I did turn off the TV about 15 minutes into Massa's interview, but I had already confirmed my opinion that he is a big fat liar lying about lying. Personally, I am glad the Glenn gave Massa enough rope to tie the noose, put it around his own neck and jump from the cliff.

    That Massa brought his wife along for the appearance on Beck and made her sit through that appalling performance is another indication of his personal depravity.

    By Blogger William, at 10 March, 2010 14:39  

  • your under some misguided notion that beck is a republican. hes not and doesnt claim to be. his "followers" are not interested in your party pollitics and could care less if your buddies get into office next november. actually watch the show and listen to the radio program before you write this tripe.

    By Blogger nonothing, at 10 March, 2010 17:24  

  • Beck also mistakenly claimed that Fascists are right wing extremists when actually they are left wing extremists just like Commies.

    However I believe he is doing an extremely excellent job of exposing the Commies in the administration. ...and the plots they are planning. Even Rush today began a mantra that the Administration is trying tpo overthrow America as we know it.

    (I recommend you to the DVD of "Nowhere Man" since you are a fan of "The Equalizer" and I couldn't find your e-mail address.

    By Blogger Mark, at 10 March, 2010 17:36  

  • Beck is extremely good and sometimes bad but
    much more good than bad.

    FOX is 20% or more owned by the Saudis so we can't count on Beck to fight Islam.

    I understand that he can't bite the hand that feeds him.

    But at some point we (Americans) will all have to fight Islam or else become Islam.

    By Blogger Mark, at 10 March, 2010 17:39  

  • I only had to read your comment about Glenn spending weeks on the FEMA camps to realize that your article had no substantive facts and was a broad brushstroke hit piece. Glenn went out of his way to debunk the whole FEMA camp story, a fact you conveniently forgot to mention. It makes me wonder just how many other facts you conveniently forgot as well.

    By Anonymous SingerGuy, at 10 March, 2010 18:01  

  • Brian -

    You've got to stop tossing pebbles at Beck who, as others have correctly commented, does far more good than bad, stop hilighting libtard talk show hosts who no one listens to anyway, and find your way back to writing something substantive about talk radio.

    Otherwise, close up the blog.

    By Anonymous Wavy Rancheros, at 11 March, 2010 13:47  

  • i dont care if beck is married, hes as gay as they come, that makes him suspect to begin with.. the obama vs mcain comment and the global warming confirms it

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11 March, 2010 17:48  

  • "Two-bit carnival huckster?" That seems a little harsh. I'll have you know that Glen Beck is a high school graduate and worthy of some respect!

    By Anonymous juan, at 11 March, 2010 19:20  

  • Beck hung another rotten Dem ... And may in fact have gotten the Speaker embroiled as today's House vote proved.

    You are way off the mark if you think that this damages Becks credibility. Did you see the MAssa story explode today?

    Don't damage your credibility.

    By Blogger 10ksnooker, at 11 March, 2010 19:33  

  • Brian Maloney...

    What a waste of skin you are. Stop breathing, all that Co2 you exhale is killing us.

    9-12 project. One year today. Only the beginning and a very happy 1st year it's been.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12 March, 2010 02:56  

  • Poor Beck! What an idiot.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13 March, 2010 22:37  

  • Beck looked like and idiot! This interview was funny, and sad. It proves just how desperate Fox News is to try and "get dirt" on the Democratic Party. What a waste of air time. Better luck next time you Fox News drones!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13 March, 2010 22:37  

  • Here’s Tuesday night’s ratings for Glenn Beck:
    5PM – P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
    Glenn Beck – 2,547,000 viewers

    Guess he won’t be folding that tent anytime soon.

    Don’t you ever grow tired of ranting against Beck? With foolish predictions like this, you’re the one who ends up sounding like a clown.

    By Blogger D. Cootey, at 25 March, 2010 02:23  

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