Fear mongering

Dear Editor:I have to tell you, that letter praising Glenn Beck made me laugh. It was, in essence, a joke. (Letters to the Editor, 3/26/10) Our current president was left with such a mess and is dealing with so much that making today's issues "easy and fun" should raise a red flag to anyone even remotely interested in today's politics. Moreover, having a worse-example-of-a-Republican mouthpiece like Glenn Beck be the person to help someone "understand" anything is, well, disturbing. I have seen for myself what Glenn Beck has to offer. His diatribes are often composed of misinformation ("We have the best healthcare system in the world"), accusations ("This president [Obama] has a deep-seeded hatred for white people"), and self-serving topics (while on the air, asking his TV viewers to buy gold, without disclosing he is a paid spokesman for a company that sells gold). I understand everyone is entitled to his/her opinion, but not everyone has a show on a highly-rated national cable network. His broadcasts have done nothing but fan the flames of bigotry, hatred, confusion and disdain for our fellow citizens of this great country. With so many of us too busy to take the time to research the issues, Beck's fear-mongering and right-wing propaganda is nothing but irresponsible. - Mark Rodriguez, Downey

Dear Editor: My mouth flew open when I read your Letter to the Editor regarding the virtues of Glenn Beck. There are various things about Glenn Beck that don't add up. Number one, Beck is classified as a "wing nut" by all the responsible stations on television. Number two, he is classified as an entertainer on the level of Rush Limbaugh rather than a news analyst. Number three, Beck only discusses issues that demonize one of the political parties…never the other. Number four, Beck does not always speak in realistic terms. Number five, Fox News is the only television channel that seems to carry Beck in the Los Angeles area. Number six, if you watch Glenn Beck you do so with tongue in cheek. Number seven, he is not worth your time watching. You have better things to do. - George Morris, Downey

Dear Editor: Your reader last week who praised Glenn Beck apparently doesn't get the joke. Watching his show this week for the first time in a while, I see that Beck remains a gaudily-dressed clown, whose contributions to his viewers' understanding are incidental to his quest for ratings. Like Stephen Colbert's "Colbert Report," Beck's show is primarily a comedy show, in which the host remains continuously in character. But while Colbert focuses irony on the conservative pundits he parodies for the benefit of his mostly young, liberal viewers, Beck does for conservative political philosophy what L. Ron Hubbard is said to have done for religion - he exploits his subject for money by feigning seriousness. No serious, educated person can study either for very long without realizing that there is a contradiction between what is professed and what is real. Yet both create a compelling and powerful social ethos that can be difficult to escape. Beck targets those frustrated by our economy, and seeks through his entertaining, exaggerated stage behavior and verbal images to persuade them that those who pursue progress, who seek to improve the social order and their own place in it, are their enemies - that our current system will magically allow everyone who really tries to become rich enough to solve all problems, if only we keep with policies that help the rich get richer, and scorn the poor. Like the rest of the Fox menagerie, he advocates fiscal policies that no Republican has seriously attempted to put into practice since Herbert Hoover, and scorns our current president (and occasionally his predecessor) for failing to follow Hoover's example. Beck uses a blackboard and other tools of the academic lecturer with complete and open disdain for the subjects of logic, journalism, economics, science, political philosophy, or the actual meaning of the Constitution. He is an expert at using quotes and snippets of facts out of context, and playing on the emotions and hot buttons of his audience to build a hokey, folksy case that has nothing to do with reality. Persuasion is his milieu, and the game that he and the puppetmasters who control Fox "News" pursue is to see how many devoted viewers they can accumulate, and spin into unflagging, emotional belief in right-wing talking points, with utter disregard for truth or actual knowledge. The real joke is on Beck's viewers. - Matt Filler, Downey

********** Published: April 2, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 50