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Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance
by Alexander Zaitchik
HUMANITIES / HISTORY / U.S. HISTORY / 20TH CENTURY AMERICA /
Who is this guy and why are people listening?
Forget Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity¡ªGlenn Beck is the Right¡¯s new media darling and the unofficial leader of the conservative grassroots. Lampooned by the Left and Lionized by the far Right, his bluster-and-tears brand of political commentary has commandeered attention on both sides of the aisle.
Glenn Beck has emerged over the last decade as a unique and bizarre conservative icon for the new century. He encourages his listeners to embrace a cynical paranoia that slides easily into a fantasyland filled with enemies that do not exist and solutions that are incoherent, at best. Since the election of President Barack Obama, Beck¡¯s bombastic, conspiratorial, and often viciously personal approach to political combat has made him one of the most controversial figures in the history of American broadcasting.
In Common Nonsense, investigative reporter Alexander Zaitchik explores Beck's strange brew of ratings lust, boundless ego, conspiratorial hard-right politics, and gimmicky morning-radio entertainment chops.
Separates the facts from the fiction, following Beck from his troubled childhood to his recent rise to the top of the conservative media heap
Zaitchik's recent three-part series in Salon caused so much buzz, Beck felt the need to attack it on his show
Based on Zaitchik's interviews with former Beck coworkers and review of countless Beck writings and television and radio shows
Explains why Beck is always crying, why he has so many conservative enemies, why he's driven by conspiracy theories, and why he's dangerous to the health of the republic
A contributing writer to Alternet, Zaitchik's reporting has appeared in the New Republic, the Nation, Salon, Wired, Reason, and the Believer
Beck, a perverse and high-impact media spectacle, has emerged as a leader in a conservative protest movement that raises troubling questions about the future of American politics.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Introduction: The Man with the Plan.
1 Portrait of a Young Deejay.
2 Last Stop on the Top 40 Train.
3 The Luckiest Loudmouth in Tampa.
4 It¡¯s Always about Glenn.
5 This Is CNN?
6 A Rodeo Clown Goes Large.
7 Beck Unbound.
8 False Victory.
9 "A Deep-Seated Hatred for . . . the White Culture ".
11 Brother Beck Presents: Mormon Masterpiece Theater.
12 The Ghost of Cleon Skousen.
13 The 9.12 Project.
Epilogue: The Bullet Train and the Rocking Chair.
ALEXANDER ZAITCHIK is a freelance journalist and contributing writer at AlterNet.org. His writing has appeared in the New Republic, the Nation, Salon, Wired, Reason, and the Believer. He lives in Brooklyn.