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1 Burnside American Studies- Culture Wars

Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance

by

Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Common Nonsense

What kind of disc jockey would telephone the wife of a competitor and, over live radio, belittle her and her husband about her recent miscarriage? What kind of patriot would con his listeners into donating $450,000 to finance a series of Rally for America events that turned out to be nothing but a personal promotional tour? What kind of talk-radio host would falsely describe the president of the United States as a communist and black nationalist out to enslave Americans? The purveyor of such tactics—and worse—can only be America's newest household conservative name: Glenn Beck.

In Common Nonsense, investigative reporter Alexander Zaitchik traces Beck's personal history, from his troubled childhood through his years as a "morning zoo" DJ to his sudden and meteoric rise to the top of the conservative media heap. He pays special attention to Beck's transformation from alcoholic, cocaine-snorting, failed disc jockey without a political thought in his head to wealthy, bile-spewing, right-wing demagogue whose radio and television shows form the core of a multimillion-dollar media empire.

Drawing on interviews with Beck's childhood friends, radio coworkers, and TV colleagues as well as Beck's own published accounts of his life, Zaitchik reveals the cracks in Beck's personal creation myth. He pinpoints the moment when Beck, then working in Tampa and about to be fired from his first-ever talk-radio job, discovered right-wing rabble-rousing as his route to long-sought fame and fortune. He shows how Beck adapted the timeworn gags and manipulations of radio hucksterism—including the audience donation drive—into powerful tools for propaganda and personal enrichment. He also demonstrates how Beck's screeds about ACORN, czars, and socialists are carefully honed to intensify his listeners' fears and spur them to action at a time and place of his choosing.

Beck's manipulations are not aimed exclusively at conservative Tea Party activists. One of his favorite gambits, Zaitchik reveals, is to make outrageous statements—such as calling President Obama a racist—to provoke angry and overwrought reactions from the Left. He knows that nothing burnishes his reputation as a right-wing hero victimized by political correctness more effectively than a barrage of scoldings from the "liberal elite."

You can laugh at his crocodile tears, shake your head at the "facts" out of which he spins his wild theories, gape in wonder at his abrupt transitions from cheap sentiment to vicious attack and back again—but do not underestimate Glenn Beck. Read Common Nonsense and discover how this smart, ambitious self-promoter and his devoted flock poison our political discourse and weaken our democracy.

Synopsis:

Who is this guy and why are people listening?

Forget Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity—Glenn 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.

Synopsis:

Praise for Alexander Zaitchik's reporting on the Glenn Beck phenomenon

"Alexander Zaitchik has been doing yeoman's work of late, digging deep into the oftentimes disturbing past of the new face and voice of the angry right, Fox News's Glenn Beck."—Simon Maloy, Media Matters for America

"A must-read. . . . Heaven help us all." —Michael Tomasky, The Guardian

"Superb." —Glenn Greenwald, Salon

"I highly recommend Alexander Zaitchik's feature [on Beck.] In it, he profiles not just Beck and his band of aggrieved, paranoid disciples, but the man who inspired him, W. Cleon Skousen."—Sarah Posner, The American Prospect

"Fascinating." —Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic

"Probably the most comprehensive take in terms of backstory that I've seen on the conservative talk star."—Michael Calderone, Politico

"Horrifying. . . . Chillingly informative."—Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times

"Fascinating." —Joe Conason, The New York Observer

"Edifying." —Todd Gitlin, Talking Points Memo

"Terrific. . . . If you're looking for an antidote to the Beck dreck that Time magazine recently passed off as journalism, this is it."—Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

"Despicable, yellow journalism." —Glenn Beck, Fox News Channel

About the Author

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.

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 ". 

10 ACORN.

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.

Acknowledgments.

Notes. 

Index.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780470557396
Author:
Zaitchik, Alexander
Publisher:
Wiley (TP)
Subject:
Modern - 20th Century
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Political Ideologies - Conservatism & Liberalism
Subject:
Political
Subject:
Popular culture -- United States.
Subject:
Authors, American
Subject:
Politics-Political Science
Subject:
20th century America
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Subject:
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Subject:
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Subject:
glenn beck, glen beck, glenn beck biography, glen beck biography, glenn beck bio, glen beck bio, glenn beck life, glen beck life, glenn beck politics, glen beck politics, glennbeck, glenbeck, glenn beck show, glen beck show, glenn beck program, glen beck
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20100429
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.36 x 6.4 x 1.05 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Political
History and Social Science » American Studies » Culture Wars
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History and Social Science » Politics » Political Science
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Culture

Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance Used Hardcover
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$6.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages John Wiley & Sons - English 9780470557396 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Who is this guy and why are people listening?

Forget Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity—Glenn 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.

"Synopsis" by , Praise for Alexander Zaitchik's reporting on the Glenn Beck phenomenon

"Alexander Zaitchik has been doing yeoman's work of late, digging deep into the oftentimes disturbing past of the new face and voice of the angry right, Fox News's Glenn Beck."—Simon Maloy, Media Matters for America

"A must-read. . . . Heaven help us all." —Michael Tomasky, The Guardian

"Superb." —Glenn Greenwald, Salon

"I highly recommend Alexander Zaitchik's feature [on Beck.] In it, he profiles not just Beck and his band of aggrieved, paranoid disciples, but the man who inspired him, W. Cleon Skousen."—Sarah Posner, The American Prospect

"Fascinating." —Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic

"Probably the most comprehensive take in terms of backstory that I've seen on the conservative talk star."—Michael Calderone, Politico

"Horrifying. . . . Chillingly informative."—Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times

"Fascinating." —Joe Conason, The New York Observer

"Edifying." —Todd Gitlin, Talking Points Memo

"Terrific. . . . If you're looking for an antidote to the Beck dreck that Time magazine recently passed off as journalism, this is it."—Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

"Despicable, yellow journalism." —Glenn Beck, Fox News Channel

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