Say what you want about Glenn Beck and his style of broadcast faux-infotainment (and plenty has been said); he is one of the best arguments for free speech and a free press.
From his modest, mildly loony conspiratorial theories on CNN Headline News through his grandiose, very loony conspiratorial theories on FOX News; as his theories and presentations became more elaborate, dramatic and convoluted ‘” his audience grew. That is; up to a point. Then they began to drop from excellent for 5 o’clock pm on a cable news channel to so-so, as his shtick took a turn to the dark side. When his act devolved from almost amusingly nutty rants against the power of the “gummint” into diatribes punctuated with racism, anti-Semitism, and incomprehensible international cabalisms; almost half his audience deserted him. In the end his extreme pronouncements, which stood in opposition to many of the value and ideals that America holds central to its democracy; doomed him to lose viewers, sponsors and eventually his usefulness to FOX and thus his job.
Long story short; give crazy folks enough rope ‘” they will hang themselves. And that’s the beauty of a free press and free speech. If you just let people talk long enough, loud enough and often enough; the true nature of their message will invariably show through. Once a message of prejudice, bigotry and hate emerges from the smoke and mirrors of conspiracy thinking; the public can see it for the unfounded, base, frustrated, nonsense it really is. And then this nonsense is soon rejected as not truly reflecting the thoughts and attitudes of a majority of Americans. Oh a few hard core haters will stick with the program, but they felt their ill feelings going in. Very few new converts from sanity to illogical misplaced anger are ever really made by the kind of nonsense the Beck’s of this world spew out. Most Americans know the difference between conventional political manipulation and over the top, bigoted, fantasy “new world order” directed fear mongering.
Some might argue that Beck was only an extreme example of the wide spread conventional technique of pitting one group of citizens against another to misdirect public attention from the real cause of their grievances. And they might even be in part right in that assertion. But even then the “enough rope” truism applies. For example – no matter how long or strong the T-Publicans rant about cutting big chucks out of the 12% of the budget that is “discretionary” as the solution to this country’s budget problems; no amount of posturing or imaginary math can get part of 12% to balance a budget that is 33% deficit. If all discretionary spending was cut; that would still leave a 20+% deficit and an ever growing debt. Cutting the remaining 20+% out of only public entitlements would effectively end Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as viable, sustainable programs. And the American public would never tolerate either eliminating all discretionary spending or entitlements. Sooner or later the forbidden (by T-Publicans) world of revenue will have to come into play. And sooner than later the majority of American citizens would see; the need to end corporate welfare through unneeded subsidies; the need to make all American corporations pay their fair share of taxes by eliminating the credits, allowances and breaks they now use to avoid paying any income tax; the need to eliminate off-shore hiding of money, credits for outsourcing American jobs and a host of other special interest deals now in place.
Yes eventually the “enough rope” truism will catch up to all the illegal and immoral boondoggles being perpetrated by a handful of special interests against the citizens of this country. The American people will see the truth and insist the crimes against them be stopped. Thanks to our long and strong tradition of a free press and free speech, even for the offensive and untrue; the truth extremists try to divert our attention from will be crystal clear. People like Glenn Beck and the other crazy hate talkers, many of our political wannabe leaders, along with the special interests who fund them; will be seen for whom they are, their words understood for what they really mean; their plans known for whom they really help and really hurt. America has nothing to fear from the Beck and his fellow travelers; they will expose themselves with their annoying behavior. Let them do their thing; we the people have plenty of rope.