Let’s all chill out on praising Glenn Beck’s liberal awakening
According to a New Yorker profile, the 2016 election has prompted Glenn Beck to make a turn from heel to face. The conservative commentator has been hinting at the ideological about-face throughout the election, most recently evidenced by his criticism of FBI director James Comey’s decision to send a letter to Congress regarding Huma Abedin’s emails found on the laptop of estranged husband Anthony Weiner.
In Nicholas Schmidle’s profile, Beck credits Michelle Obama’s barnburner of a speech condemning Trump’s “grab ‘em by the pussy” for leading to his own awakening where he embraces the belief that women shouldn’t be manhandled like cattle at the whims of a tangerine-hued fascist. He also embraced the Black Lives Matter movement after years of furthering the racist birther movement.
“I did a lot of freaking out about Barack Obama,” Beck told The New Yorker. “Obama made me a better man…There are things unique to the African-American experience that I cannot relate to…I had to listen to them.”
It’s a huge admission for a guy who once branded the president as a “racist” and a threat to so-called “white culture.” But is this a genuine come-to-Jesus for the conservative who once shunned mainstream media, or is it a shrewd and craven move to position himself as a tempered voice of reason that will unite the fractured GOP and ultimately regain lost relevance?
The Daily Beast spoke to several sources close to Beck, one of which said that the former Fox News host’s newfound wokeness is all part of an established “pattern of reinvention and cycle of apology and offense.”
From The Daily Beast:
During a January 2014 appearance on The Kelly File, for instance, he confided to his former Fox News colleague Megyn Kelly: “I wish I could go back and be more uniting in my language, because I think I played a role, unfortunately, in helping tear the country apart.”
This person added: “I think he’s up to his sixth apology cycle now, where he’s onto the mainstream media when they’re supporting him, and then he realizes he’s going to get burned, and he runs away from them. He’s basically flailing.”
A second former associate said, “I think it’s his desperation for attention and relevance again. He’s not getting it from the conservative side because of the Trump stuff. So he goes to the liberal side, but it is oriented as surface agreement that will end after the election.
Aside from the fact that Beck could be reinventing his brand to gain a new audience, both for himself and his struggling company Mercury Radio Arts and, by extension, conservative news site The Blaze, maybe we don’t need to give him a cookie when it comes to doing, or saying, the bare minimum when it comes to espousing human decency. After all, acknowledging that people of other races and genders experience things a white man doesn’t isn’t a radical act, considering the plight of other people is just basic empathy. Maybe we don’t need to throw a Star Wars medal ceremony for a guy who is just beginning to pay lip service to a concept that anyone with a shred of compassion embraced early in life.