[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
This afternoon, Glenn Beck broadcast his last Fox News show. We'll have some thoughts on the particulars in the morning. Meanwhile, I thought it might be useful to look back on his "greatest hits," as it were, and reflect on the mess he leaves behind:
Now, there are plenty of things to object to about Glenn's trainwreck of a career at Fox, particularly the noxious and yet little-noticed way he almost effortlessly mainstreamed extremist ideas and rhetoric, most recently with his full-bore descent into promoting John Birch Society conspiracism. Undoubtedly, Beck's relentless fearmongering and the vicious eliminationism of his rhetoric were important components of what made Beck so toxic. Media Matters has compiled an impressive list of the "50 Worst Things Glenn Beck Said On Fox News" that gives a pretty good rundown -- but is really only a start.Of course, he's planning to build on his apocalyptic cult, which is a disturbing prospect, no doubt. And Beck has been promising that his plans for Total World Domination will make us whining, mewling liberals "crap ourselves". We tremble in anticipatory fear.
Ultimately, the worst damage he caused was to the shape of our national discourse -- from all these factors, but especially in the way he wrapped it up in a "zany" morning-zoo-show format, dragging that discourse down to the level of a prearranged pro-wrestling match.
Meanwhile, I'm drinking a nice cold beer and toasting his departure.