Ron Radosh points to a polemical earnestness in Beck that can render him prone to misreadings of events and embarrassing assumptions. Some of Beck’s statements obviously do tend to soar over the top, but such fulminations are also a function of talk radio or TV advocacy and are common to media hosts on both sides of the political spectrum. Keith Olbermann, when he is “on,” can reduce Beck to the status of a Trappist monk.
Consider the hatchet job that Olbermann did on new Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown who, according to the MSNBC pundit, is an “irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against woman and against politicians with whom he disagrees.” I can’t think of anything Glenn Beck has said to rival this upchuck of vulgar bombast, yet Olbermann has largely gotten away with his logorrheic obscenity. Nor does Beck traffic in the trademark snideness of, say, Jon Stewart. And we must remember, too, that political commentary in this day and age has left the requisites of decorum far behind.
David Frum’s serial pummeling of Sarah Palin, for example, looks more like the airing of a private vendetta or some lurid obsession than the development of a reasoned analysis.
PLUS — “Has Glenn Beck peaked?”