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    « Right-Wing Rhetoric, Lesson Two: "Obamniscience" | Main | My Top 10 Predictions for the Romney-Obama Debate »

    Right-Wing Rhetoric, Lesson One: The “Beck”


    With one debate behind us (and a few still ahead), we're now into the fourth quarter, that brief period between the conventions and the voting booths that I like to think of as Crack Season for the right-wing pundits. They’re all racing against the clock, talking a mile a minute, and pulling every last trick in the book.

    Still facing a less than fifty-fifty chance that their candidate will win in November, the far, far right is definitely pulling out all the stops.  Hannity and Drudge have dog-whistled a trip down memory lane with their five-year-old Obama tape, while Limbaugh keeps reminding us that Barack is just so, so angry. Meanwhile Glenn Beck seems to be suggesting that God wants Mitt Romney to win.

    So: its public service time here at Chasing Glenn Beck.  While I know that many of you have instinctively learned how to ward off the logic-less, emotion-ridden pontificating, it’s possible for the next few weeks—while it all flies at you like a sea of stinkbugs—that you may forget yourself, lose your way, and accidentally believe something that somehow feels like it might be true even though it obviously isn't.  Therefore, in order to help you track the various attacks on your amygdala, I’ve decided to expend a couple of blog postings on offering a refresher course in the specific techniques you’ll want to watch out for.

    First up, the “beck.”

    beck [bek]  -- verb (becked, beck-ing)

    The act of creating an impression in someone’s mind through the use of innuendo, false logic, slippery-slope thinking, and remote connections.  Ex: Dad decided to beck his kids into believing that Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim.

    Becking, of course, is best performed with a chalkboard, so, by way of example, here’s one we can review together. Note that this particular illustration makes the case that Glenn Beck is a liberal.  Take a look:


    Here’s how the argument goes:

    Glenn Beck’s primary media property these days is something he calls The Blaze, a central web location from which pretty much all else emanates. The Blaze is run by Betsy Morgan, who previously worked for Arianna Huffington as a highly placed executive at the Huffington Post, a famously liberal organization.  (Huffington herself is on speaking terms with Barack, previously identified through these same beckian techniques as a socialist).  On top of that, Beck’s agent—one Matthew Hiltzik—is a historically active Democrat, having worked on Hillary Clinton’s failed primary campaign.  Ms. Clinton, as we all know, is also tied to that socialist in the White House (and may even be a socialist herself, what with the long hair and everything).

    Glenn Beck is also single-handedly responsible for the popular resurgence of the Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek, who was so often accused of being a conservative that he felt compelled to write an extended essay belying the fact, which he then put in as a postscript to his second most popular book, The Constitution of Liberty

    So the question I have is this: Why would a man surround himself with such obvious liberals, placing them in vitally important positions and promoting their thinking, if he didn’t harbor some of those same beliefs himself?  I mean, really?  How often do any of us select our most important companions with beliefs completely the opposite of our own?  What, then, is likely the best possible explanation?  I’m not sure, but it sure smells suspicious to me, and makes me wonder if Glenn Beck isn’t just putting on an act.  If I saw a person with these kinds of friends… I don’t know… I might think he was a liberal. I mean, that would be a reasonable conclusion, don’t you think?

    Well, actually, no… it wouldn’t.  But then you’ve been becked, so it might just seem reasonable.

    Don’t think it can work? Well, just last week I gave a lecture on this topic to a roomful of quite intelligent, mostly liberal, Bostonians.  Halfway through my presentation heads began to nod, and by the time I was finished, more than half of them were willing to entertain the possibility that Glenn Beck is nothing more than a liberal actor playing the part that earns him the best payday.

    And all without a shred of evidence or logic.  Just a good graphic and some clever spin. That’s how becking works.  Fun, isn’t it?  Now you can try it yourself!  Amuse your family! Fool your friends!

    But when the pundits try it, recognize it for what it is. Don’t get becked.

    Up next:  Limbloviation!



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    Reader Comments (1)

    I may not always agree with you, Michael, but I enjoy reading your posts. I am admittedly a liberal, but I do hold some conservative values as well. What I appreciate is your ability to elucidate the middle ground of the conservative side with such clarity and wit. It's refreshing to read a conservative viewpoint that isn't so far right of center as to be frightening. I think if more middle-ground conservatives could be heard, people wouldn't feel so hopeless and abandoned by the government and by politicians. There is such divisiveness between the parties at this point that many seem to feel there is no possibility of compromise, and that is what causes the government to stalemate. Thank you for being that voice of reason; I hope your words encourage others who hold similar viewpoints to step forward and speak as well, so that the rabid voices of the extreme right are drowned out in a welling up of reason.

    October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa McElroy

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