Simply mention the name Glenn Beck on Ithaca College’s campus and watch the snickers and sneers of those around you as if you are an individual of low intelligence for whom they have pity. Many on the campus consider the political commentator Glenn Beck an idiot, a crazy man or a fearmonger.
But Beck is an interesting and important media figure. While his style is unique and can put people off, many are incredibly quick to criticize without considering all of the facts. Few people — at least here in Ithaca — actually take the time to do the necessary research required to attempt to debate his facts or understand the truths of the situations he addresses. Very few of his critics actually watch his show or listen to his radio show. Others simply don’t like Beck because they don’t like what he is talking about.
A perfect example is Beck’s “Restoring Honor Rally” on Aug. 28 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., which featured former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and activist Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr. The mainstream media referred to it as a tea party. If they had taken the time to actually listen to Beck or simply look at the website, they would have seen it was not a tea party. It wasn’t even a political event. Beck said that the event was about restoring honor to the nation — something the mainstream press couldn’t get on board with. Attendees were told to leave their signs at home and no signs — regardless of message — were allowed into the event. Reports aired listing names of speakers who never spoke and were never scheduled to speak. Reporters with agendas were so busy trying to make the event something it wasn’t that they reported things that weren’t true instead of actually listening to Beck. The media also failed to report on the 500,000-plus people who showed up in D.C. for the event and left without a single arrest or report of violence.
Beck has spent several years pointing out the wrongs in politics that many don’t want to discuss. He has been critical of both George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. Many of Beck’s critics claim he’s a Republican spokesman without realizing his criticism of the Republican Party is often as strong as that of Democrats. In fact, he has criticized both parties for being corrupt and for abusing power.
I have met and interviewed Beck in person. I have been most surprised by Beck’s historical knowledge, which is deep and thorough. I considered myself pretty well-versed in history until our discussion, where I was stumped several times by his pop quiz-style questions. He would often say a quote and ask who said it, often quoting one of our founding fathers.
Critics claim Beck is in it for the money. But I believe that no one with a family puts up with constant death threats, people rummaging through his or her trash and stalkers for money.
While Beck’s style is unique and his passion can often be overwhelming, his facts are solid. Very rarely are they actually challenged by his critics. Many simply resort to character assassination. Before simply writing him off because of what you read on the Huffington Post, spend a week listening to him, and see how many of his facts you can legitimately debunk. And no, reading about him on Wikipedia doesn’t count either.
Brandon Kurtz is a senior journalism major and president of IC Republicans. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.