Posted by: Rick | Saturday, October 17, 2009

Glenn Beck Needs Some Acting Lessons

Do you see the pained expression on Glenn’s kisser as he eyes his newest White House victim?  He sustains that comically lugubrious look right through to the end of the clip, at which point he distorts Ms. Dunn’s intent and goes on a scenery-chewing right wing tirade.

I don’t have much to say about the substance of Beck’s rant.  That’s a job for Media Matters.  (They duly note the numerous Republicans — including Ralph Reed and Newt Gingrich — who have approvingly quoted Mao Zedong the political strategist.)  I’m more appalled by Beck the performer.

Is it just me or is this guy becoming way too “hot” for television?  Steve McQueen he ain’t!  Beck’s acting style is equal parts Charles Grodin, William Shatner and Peter Finch in Network (minus the talent).  It’s a rancid, unholy stew that I can’t see any audience scarfing down over the long haul.

Note to Glenn: Take a few pointers from Sean Hannity.  FOX’s Dumbest has somehow learned to dial back the phony outrage to human levels.  Don’t let your out-of-control ego turn you into a digital-age Morton Downey, Jr.



  1. Can’t attack the message so attack the messenger, right?

  2. See the link to Media Matters. I’m not going to steal their excellent research.

  3. Media Matters is a left-wing smear Web site that received more than a million dollars from the Tides Foundation, and just by coincidence, Soros’ Open Society Institute donated more than a million dollars to Tides that same year.

    Please. Give me something independent and credible

  4. From the very conservative website “Little Green Footballs”:

    Gingrich even quoted a political leader not previously known to be one of his influences. “War is politics with blood; politics is war without blood,” said the Speaker, citing the late Chinese Communist leader Mao Tse-tung. [Roll Call, 5/29/95 (accessed via Nexis)]

  5. It appears that you have totally missed the point of Beck’s presentation.

    Beck is simply attempting to show Americans that Anita Dunn, interim White House Communications Director, has chosen Mao Zedong as one of her favorite philosophers. Beck uses her choice as an example to help make his greater point about how Obama has surrounded himself with Moa followers, advocates of revolution, students of Castro, conspiracy theorists, those who believe in socialism and judges who legislate from the bench.

    To many Americans, this is important information and serves to help Americans better understand how the underlying philosophies to which these people cling to has the potential to influence the decisions of the President who has also shown a tendency to lean in the same direction.

    Instead of understanding on an intellectual level, you reveal an emotional distaste toward a T.V. personality and belittle and besmirch his presentation style and mannerisms to distract attention from the main message.

    In addition, you make a weak comparison of Dunn’s statement of claiming Mao as one of her two favorite philosophers to McCain’s use of a Mao quote made to inject a little humor.

    The common theme we are seeing in the media of late are emotionally motivated attacks against messengers which only serve to distract from the main message which then shuts down debate.

    If you know what to look for, you can also see this trait coming from your peers.

  6. Ms. Dunn’s coupling of Mao Zedong and Mother Teresa in her remarks was clearly a rhetorical device. I just don’t believe she’s a Maoist, any more than I believe Newt Gingrich and John McCain are Maoists.

    As for “emotionally motivated attacks” — well, that’s pretty much what Glenn Beck does. He nearly busts a blood vessel every day painting some poor bastard in the Obama Administration as a dangerous radical. His over-the-top rants just seem phony to me.

  7. RE:her remarks was clearly a rhetorical device vs His over-the-top rants
    just another rhetorical device?

    What about this one:
    “Do you see the pained expression on Glenn’s kisser as he eyes his newest White House victim? He sustains that comically lugubrious look right through to the end of the clip, at which point he distorts Ms. Dunn’s intent and goes on a scenery-chewing right wing tirade.”

    Is that over the top, editorializing or just a rhetorical device?

    Classify Keith Olbermann’s rants. Vile? Hateful? Over the top? Totally uncalled for or just another rhetorical device? Does his delivery help or hurt the message? Does it matter? At the end of the tirade is his message still heard? Does it still carry weight?

    Either way, I try not to get wrapped up in the envelope (no pun intended) and instead look for the content of the message. If I don’t do that, I miss the point or even dismiss the whole message as important. Sometimes I wish he wasn’t so animated and dramatic, but he comes from a radio background where he could get away with the facial expressions and animation. Maybe he’s just not used to the camera.

    If he’s accurate in what he says, that’s good. If what he says isn’t a big deal to some but important to others, that’s still good. If what he says serves to educate and inform I couldn’t ask for more.

  8. To illustrate a little further, how would you classify Nancy Pelosi’s labeling as “astrosurf” the collective show of disgust toward representatives at town hall meetings across the country this past August ?

  9. 1) The “rhetorical device” reference was to show that it’s absurd to think Ms. Dunn is a Maoist. I stand by that.

    2) Here is “over-the-top” for this blog: DO YOU SEE THE PAINED EXPRESSION ON GLENN’S KISSER AS HE . . . That’s how Glenn Beck presents himself on television. I just happen to think its phony and way too loud. Opinions differ.

    3)I’m not the world’s biggest KO fan. He’s more pompous than hysterical. (You should read my old pro-Hillary blog:

    I used to rip Olbermann, Obama, Pelosi, Howard Dean . . . Now THEN I was over the top!)

  10. RE: “that it’s absurd to think Ms. Dunn is a Maoist.”

    “I think of this man’s (Mao’s) work all the time” – Anita Dunn

    Let’s look at that from another angle with a question to you.

    If you were to think of the works of David Duke, once a Grand Wizard of the KKK “all the time”, how do you suppose your peers would view you and your philosophies toward black Americans?

    or – What would your peers think of you if your idol was Hitler and you thought about his philosophies all the time?

    Back to Beck’s point, he is talking about a major issue before this country and an extremely important one; radical thinkers who idolize Mao are a breath away from the President of the United States, put there by himself.

    While it may be over the top to speculate Dunn supports the killing of 70 million people, as Mao is guilty of, Beck’s claim is that her philosophies about government and rule are influenced by Mao.

    Saddam Hussein openly idolized the former Soviet premier Joseph Stalin, a man notable for his paranoia-induced execution sprees. With this as Saddam’s hero, it should not surprise us. Hussein himself embarked upon campaigns of political oppression, ethnic cleansing, religious persecution, the Dujail Massacre and the abduction of some 8,000 members of Barzani’s clan, including hundreds of women and children, assumed that most were slaughtered. Thousands have been discovered in mass graves in southern Iraq. These were only a few of the many atrocities Hussein conducted.

    Would you be concerned if our president idolized Hussein? Stalin? Mao? Pol Pot?

    The bottom line is this; nowhere in that clip does Beck claim Dunn is a Maoist.

    After presenting evidence about influences upon Dunn, and presenting some quotes, he leaves that up to you and me to decide.

    After applying a little common sense and some careful consideration, most people will probably connect the dots accurately.

    It’s very difficult to think otherwise.

    “My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you’ll join me as we try to change it.” – Barack Obama

    What influences do you think will come to bare upon that desire for change?

  11. I’m going to have to give you the last word, Ben, but I’m kind of enjoying this exchange. At the risk of opening a can of worms which I”ll NOT pursue, consider this:

    Mao and Hitler are not equivalent.

    Of course Mao Zedong is the greatest mass murderer in human history. But it’s simply a fact that in our society, it’s permissable to reference Mao but Hitler is off-limits. Maybe racism has something to do with this. I didn’t make the rules.

    That’s why Gingrich and McCain and Dunn can mention Mao — and even joke about him — without talking about his crimes. Hitler? I don’t think so.

    As JFK said — Life is unfair.

    In closing: I don’t think Anita Dunn is influenced by Mao other than on the single point she spoke about in the clip. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on that.

  12. There’s a big difference between merely quoting someone and declaring them as your “favorite political philosopher” and one you “turn to most” for inspiration.

    Certainly, anyone can see that difference.

  13. I enjoyed the conversation as well. It was actually the basis for my recent post. I should probably credit you as co-author in a way.


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