“Mad Man.” Written in big white letters on the cover of the Sept. 28 edition of TIME Magazine. “The Agitator” is written in those same white letters inside. The following pages chronicle the rise of talk radio’s newest titan, Glenn Beck.
TIME describes Beck in many ways. They say he’s a “pudgy, buzz-cut, weeping phenomenon of radio, TV, and books.” They say he’s “tireless, funny, self-deprecating, a recovering alcoholic, a convert to Mormonism, a libertarian, and living with ADHD.” They say “he’s stirring the anger and heightening the fears of those Americans who feel left out.”
However, there is one thing about Mr. Beck that TIME and the rest of the mainstream media haven’t quite figured out yet. He’s a genius.
There’s plenty of truth to what Glenn Beck says during his hours on the radio and television each day, but there is also plenty of exaggeration. Beck probably believes most of what he says, but at the end of the day, there’s one thing you cannot deny: Glenn Beck is quickly becoming an icon and making a fortune in the process.
While Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have made a career out of self-confidence and cockiness, Beck has found his niche in something far more accessible, fear. While the left seems to think Beck is creating this fear, he’s actually doing something quite different. He’s channeling it.
Justified or not, many Americans are afraid. Some are afraid of a socialist takeover, but most are worried about providing for their families and keeping their children safe. Some are worried about a new world order, but most are just worried about making ends meet.
People are afraid of what a post-bailout America is going to look like and Glenn Beck knows it. He’s not creating the fear, he’s giving a voice and a face to it. He’s an entertainer as well as a believer. Some of what he says may be hyperbole, but every word is written or spoken in gold.
Beck earned about $23 million in the last twelve months. His radio show reaches eight million listeners a day. As many as three million people watch his daily television show which airs at 5 p.m., when most people aren’t even home from work. He’s also about to release what most expect to be his third book to reach number one on the New York Times’ Bestseller List in the last year.
In just over a year, Glenn Beck has gone from being a conservative host buried on CNN Headline News to a multimedia, moneymaking superstar. Beck has found a home on Fox News and has found a place close to the hearts of millions.
He isn’t doing it by making up lies about the president; he’s doing it by connecting to people on a very human level. He doesn’t pretend to have the answers, he’s “just saying.” He looks a lot more like the guy sitting next to you in church than the guy managing your 401K. When he talks, he sounds more like your neighbor than your congressman.
At the end of the day, despite his recent success, Beck is still humbled by a rocky past. He hasn’t forgotten the second chance he’s been given and that helps him talk to the American people instead of talking down to them.
Call him a mad man. Call him an agitator. Call him a fear monger. But he’s channeling something we’re all feeling during uncertain times. He may be the newest enemy of the Left and the mainstream media, but one thing is for certain: Glenn Beck is a genius.