Glenn Beck

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Glenn Beck during performance

Glenn Beck is a controversial conservative talk show host on Fox News. Previously he was the radio talk show host of The Glenn Beck Program "on 232 radio stations" and America Right on XM satellite radio", syndicated by Clear Channel Worldwide's Premiere Radio Networks. Beck hosts the syndicated Glenn Beck talk show which has aired daily since May 8, 2006, at 7:00 PM and replayed at 9:00 PM on CNN's Headline News.[1] He is a self-described libertarian[2], and his views are wholly conservative.[3] The New York Times has said Beck "presents himself as a revivalist in a troubled land" with an "apocalyptic view," who "tap[s] into fear about the future" and "lingers over doomsday situations."[4]

Beck is the originator and driving force behind The 912 Project, the primary group disrupting the summer 2009 town hall meetings and the "grassroots" astroturf effort of the Tax Day Tea Party campaign against various Obama administration initiatives. The 912 Project's methods consist of orchestrated disinformation campaigns and attempts to grab headlines through seemingly spontaneous disruptions of town halls and government meetings.

Personal life

Beck began his radio career when he won a local radio contest to be a DJ for an hour, and was eventually granted a part-time job. He hosted Christian radio on Saturday, rock on Sunday and country on weeknights.

After graduating from high school, Beck pursued his career as a Top 40 DJ.

Beck suffers from Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A recovering alcoholic, Beck converted to Mormonism in 2000 from Roman Catholicism.[5]


1982 - 1999: Top 40 DJ

Beck's career began in earnest 1982 after he graduated from highschool and took a DJ position at K 96, a small adult-contemporary station in Provo, Utah. In February of 1983 Beck shifted to WPGC in Washington a morning show DJ. By the end of 1983 Beck moved to Corpus Christi's KZFM, where he was morning show DJ between 1983 and 1985. Beck is a member of the founding generation of what became known as "morning zoo radio" and Salon writes the influence on his approach to broadcasting can be seen today. The morning zoo radio formula consisted of "an ensemble cast employing fake voices, loosely scripted skits, adolescent pranks, short topical rants, and spoof songs, backed by a Top 40 soundtrack and peppered with news and traffic reports" as described by Salon. They go on to state that "Many of the audio and visual tropes Beck employs today -- the Muppet voices, the outrageous statements, the props, the stunts, the fawning and giggling supporting cast -- can be traced to the zoo and post-zoo radio culture that sustained him professionally for years." There Beck was mentored by Jim Sumpter, now a "Birther" and syndicated right-wing talk show host.[6]

In mid-1985 Beck moved to WRKA in Louisville, Kentucky where he headlined the station's morning show, continuing with a "morning zoo radio" format. Salon writes that during this time Beck engaged in "Black guy" impersonations and racial stereotyping, "vicious personal assaults" on competing radio hosts, militaristic patriotism and calls for the bombing of Muslims. During his stint WRKA slipped to third in the market and Beck was fired.[7] In late 1987 Beck moved Phoenix, Arizona and KOY FM (Y95), again in the morning drive slot with a morning zoo format. During his stint at Y95 Beck continued the personal attacks, calling on air the wife of a competitor and former friend had a miscarriage, saying, 'We hear you had a miscarriage' and proceeding to joke about how her husband 'apparently can't do anything right -- about he can't even have a baby.'[7]

2000 - Present: The Glenn Beck Program (radio)

The Glenn Beck Program first aired in 2000 on WFLA (AM) in Tampa, Florida. In January 2002, Premiere Radio Networks launched the show nationwide on forty-seven stations. The show then moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, broadcasting from new flagship station WPHT. On November 5, 2007, The New York Times reported that Premiere Radio Networks was extending Beck's contract. By May 2008, it had reached over 280 terrestrial stations as well as XM Satellite. It was ranked 4th in the nation with over six and a half million listeners.[citation needed]

January 2006 - October 2008: CNN

CNN described Beck's show on Headline News as "an unconventional look at the news of the day featuring Beck's unique and often amusing perspective on top stories from world events and politics to pop culture and everyday hassles. Like Beck's radio program, the show will be centered on current events and the opinions of Beck, all delivered in Beck's humorous, self-deprecating style."[8]

On January 17, 2006, Variety's Michael Learmonth wrote: "CNN's Headline News has signed conservative radio host Glenn Beck for an hour long talkshow in hopes of building on the ratings momentum generated by a revamped primetime lineup anchored by Nancy Grace. The signing of Beck, expected to be announced today, will add a fourth show to HLN's primetime in addition to Grace, Showbiz Tonight and Prime News Tonight."'Glenn Beck is the next piece of the puzzle,' said HLN prexy Ken Jautz. 'Glenn's style is self-deprecating, cordial; he says he'd like to be able to disagree with guests and part as friends. It's conversational, not confrontational'," Learmonth wrote.[9]

On October 16, 2008 it was announced that Glenn Beck would join the Fox News Channel.[10][11] CNN pulled the program off the air the same day.[citation needed]

January 2007 - October 2008: ABC, Good Morning America

Beck joined ABC's Good Morning America as a occasional guest commentator in January 2007. [12]

October 2008 - June 2011: Fox News

Beck began to host the Glenn Beck Show on Fox News beginning January 19 2009. It airs weekdays at 5pm ET, and as a weekend version. Beck's first guests included Karl Rove, and Sarah Palin. He also has a regular segment every Friday on the Fox News Channel program The O'Reilly Factor titled "At your Beck and call."[citation needed]

Beck aired his last show on Fox in June of 2011. Although Beck claimed he was ending the show because there was more that he wanted to do, Jack Mirkinson reported that, " the criticism of Beck increased—and as an aggressive campaign caused up to 400 advertisers to drop their support of his show—both sides grew weary. Tensions between Beck’s camp and Fox News spilled out in public, and the two groups eventually decided to sever their ties."[13]

Beck-owned or developed enterprises

Mercury Entertainment Group

Beck founded Mercury Entertainment Group and serves as CEO.[14]

Fusion magazine

"Beck is also the founder and editor of Fusion, a magazine of right-wing political perspective, where a regular feature is the magazine's humorous 'future obituaries' of prominent liberals, celebrities, and terrorists. In its September 2006 issue, Fusion solemnly commemorated the fifth anniversary of September 11 with a cover drawing of Beck standing in front of World Trade Center's twin towers."[5]


Statements about nuclear plant emergencies after March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan

Beck launched an effort to discredit concerns about the cascading failures of the nuclear plants in Japan in the wake of the 9.0 quake and tsunami in March, 2011. In a genuinely shocking and callous segment on his radio show, Beck literally laughed off concerns about the potential nuclear meltdown, and then proceeded to blame any concerns about fears on well-respected public interest groups, like Plowshares and the Union of Concerned Scientists, based on his continuing effort to smear philanthropist George Soros, who helps fund legitimate scientific and policy analysis of nuclear energy (as opposed to those groups funded by nuclear energy to promote nuclear energy). Beck blames Soros for fears over nuclear meltdowns, not radioactive material. Beck's dismissal of well-founded concerns about the catastrophic dangers of nuclear energy flew in the face of the real news of the serious dangers of multiple meltdowns and of potential winds contaminated with deadly Cesium-137 in Japan. [15][16]

Embedded Content for the Dark Money Non-Profit Freedom Works

According to Jane Mayer in Dark Money,

"Freedom Works, it was later revealed, also had some hired help. The tax-exempt organization quietly cemented a deal with Glenn Beck, the incendiary right-wing Fox News television host who at the time was a Tea Party superstar. For an annual payment that eventually topped $1 million, Beck read "embedded content" written by the Freedom Works staff. They told him what to say on the air, and he blended the promotional material seamlessly into his monologue, making it sound as if it were his own opinion. The arrangement was described on FreedomWorks' tax disclosures as "advertising services.""[17]

Conspiracy theories

Much of Beck's promotion of conspiracy theories and views on race can be attributed to his admitted ideological debt owed to Cleon Skousen, a controversial and discredited Mormon anti-communist "historian," far-right speaker, author and racist.[18] Skousen authored more than a dozen books and pamphlets on the Red Menace, New World Order conspiracy, Christian child rearing, and Mormon end-times prophecy.[18]

A former FBI clerk, fired chief of police, and Brigham Young University teacher, Skousen was disavowed or disowned by nearly every organization he was affiliated with, including the FBI, the city where he served as chief of police, the American Security Council, and the Mormon church. On the subject of Skousen's anti-communist scholarship a 1962 FBI memo said "During the past year or so, Skousen has affiliated himself with the extreme right-wing 'professional communists' who are promoting their own anticommunism for obvious financial purposes" and Skousen's "The Naked Communist, ... another example of why a sound, scholarly textbook on communism is urgently and badly needed."[18]

In September 2007, a year after Skousen's death, Beck began touting Skousen's book "The 5,000 Year Leap" on his radio and television shows, through his websites and at his speaking engagements. The 5,000 Year Leap is Skousen's attempt to "explain American history through an unspoken lens of Mormon theology." Going beyond mere endorsement, Beck played a central role in seeing a new edition published, and wrote the foreward for the edition, writing "I beg you to read this book filled with words of wisdom which I can only describe as divinely inspired." In Beck's announcement of introducing the 912 Project he called for all 912 members to buy the book, saying "The first thing you could do," he said, "is get 'The 5,000 Year Leap.' Over my book or anything else, get 'The 5,000 Year Leap.' You can probably find it in the book section of, but read that. It is the principle. Please, No. 1 thing: Inform yourself about who we are and what the other systems are all about. 'The 5,000 Year Leap' is the first part of that. Because it will help you understand American free enterprise … Make that dedication of becoming a Sept. 12 person and I will help you do it next year." The result was that more than 250,000 copies have been sold in the first half of 2009. The book's publisher says Beck "has done more to bring the work of Dr. Skousen to light than any other individual in America today."[18]

Another of Skousen's works, a slavery revisionist history titled "The Making of America" is the subject of daylong seminars to 912 chapters conducted by Dr. Earl Taylor Jr. president of the National Center for Constitutional Studies, which was founded by Skousen. Salon described it as "filled with factual errors, Skousen's book characterized African-American children as "pickaninnies" and described American slave owners as the "worst victims" of the slavery system" and Skousen as "a right-wing crank whom even conservatives despised."[18]

Obama is 'a racist' statements

Glenn Beck calls President Obama a racist

During a guest appearance on the July 28 2009 broadcast of "Fox & Friends" morning show Beck stated he believed President Barack Obama is a racist, stating "This president has exposed himself as a guy over and over and over again who has a deep-seated hatred for white people ... this guy is, I believe, a racist.[1][2]

In the resulting backlash over 80 Fox advertisers, including AT&T, Subaru, Walmart, CVS Caremark, Clorox, Sprint,, Procter & Gamble, Progressive, S.C. Johnson, GEICO, Men's Wearhouse, and Sargento directed that their commercials not air on Beck's show.[3][4] was one of several groups which urged advertisers to withdraw their support of Beck and Fox.[5] As of September 2009 Beck had neither acknowledged nor apologized for the statement, but instead went on air to with Bill O'Reilly to claim that he was the victim of liberal "loons" bent on violating his "freedom of speach."[6] Beck is airing free ads from other Murdoch properties, such as the Wall Street Journal, to fill the empty slots.[19]

This incident was part of a string of racially-charged claims about Obama made by Beck on his show throughout July 2009.[7] He alleged that Obama's agenda is driven by "reparations" and a desire to "settle old racial scores." In regards to the distribution of stimulus funds and selection of advisers, Beck said of Obama's agenda "His goal is creating a new America, a new model, a model that will settle old racial scores through new social justice." Beck also commented, "Obama is no dummy. He knows that you would never pass reparations. He knows you would never pass any of this stuff. This is all affirmative action." Earlier, he said, "[T]his is what he said on the campaign trail -- he's not for reparations because they don't go far enough. We need health care. We need everybody to go to college, et cetera, et cetera. So, we have no reparations. We also have no capitalism, which leads him, in his mind, to justice -- to justice. That is what we're changing to."[8] Much of the imagery used in the posters of Beck's The 912 Project revolves around equating the Obama administration with the Nazi party or portraying Obama as Hitler. Former President Jimmy Carter points to protesters who have compared Obama to a Nazi as evidence that racism plays major role in their opposition to Obama.[20]

Beck says Obama's policies for America are as bad as being burned alive

True, on his tv show Beck pretends to pour gasoline (probably water) on another conservative and states that Obama's polices are as bad for America as being burned with gasoline. [21] Another incident that has made people wonder not just about the politics of Mr. Beck but his mental health.[citation needed]

Climate change

Beck is a vocal denier of the scientific opinion on climate change. His CNN Headline News May 2 2007 hour-long special, Exposed: The Climate of Fear, was described by Media Matters as "dominated by industry-funded "experts," serial misinformers." [9] Not one climate scientist concerned about man made global warming has appeared on Beck's program.[citation needed]

Pro-war statements

"In the build-up to America's 2003 war on Iraq, Beck countered anti-war protests by using his radio show to organize dozens of pro-war rallies across the nation, and he has promised he will never question the cause, 'no matter how unpopular this war gets.' He has described Jimmy Carter as 'a waste of skin', Cindy Sheehan as 'a pretty big prostitute', and fantasized on the air about strangling to death Michael Moore."[22] No record of Glenn Beck while the Bosnian/Kokovo conflicts were going on, having pro-war rallies. While he was not a big name at the time, he was a popular local talk show host at the time.[citation needed] There seems to be then a direct connection in these so called "rallies for America" rallies and wars that Mr. Beck supports. One can obviously take the conclusion that these rallies are dependent on whether Beck supports the war or not and not to "support the troops." This is not surprising because numerous hosts such as Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh opposed the Bosnian wars but now state or imply opposition to the Iraq war is less then patriotic.[citation needed]

Goldline controversy

Beck often promotes buying gold on his Fox show as protection against an economic collapse. This became problematic because it has been suggested that Beck is a paid spokesman for Goldline International, a company which sells gold coins. Joel Cheatwood, senior vice president of development for Fox News, said that the legal department sent a letter to Beck's representatives to better understand his involvement with Goldline; Beck's representatives sent back a response that he is not a paid spokesman.[23]

However, according to the New York Times: "Fox News stressed that it was not aware that Mr. Beck was listed on the Internet as a paid spokesman. But he definitely was, until very recently. On cached editions of the Goldline Web site over the last week to 10 days, a photograph of Mr. Beck was accompanied by an asterisk which led to a line at the bottom of the site that read: “paid spokesman.” That ad (which is also linked to from Mr. Beck’s personal site) was changed, so that the words “paid spokesman” were replaced with “radio sponsor.” [24]

On December 10, 2009, Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" covered the story, but Cheatwood said that the letter from Fox had already been sent and that the broadcast had nothing to do with Fox's actions. The next day, Beck made a video in response to the allegations.

Mark Albarian, the president of Goldline, said that the company had been a longtime advertiser for Beck and that there was a misunderstanding about the "paid spokesman" designation because Goldline did not specifically pay Beck on an individual basis to speak on its behalf. [25]

Contact information


External links


  1. "CNN Spotlight: Glen Beck", CNN, accessed September 2009.
  2. Patricia Sheridan, "Patricia Sheridan's Breakfast With ... Glenn Beck", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 16, 2009.
  3. "Commentary: Obama no, McCain maybe", CNN, June 26, 2008.
  4. Fox News’s Mad, Apocalyptic, Tearful Rising Star Brian Stelter and Bill Carter. The New York Times, March 29, 2009.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Glenn Beck NNDB, undated, accessed September 2009.
  6. The making of Glenn Beck Alexander Zaitchik., September 21, 2009.
  7. 7.0 7.1 The making of Glenn Beck Alexander Zaitchik., September 21, 2009.
  8. "Glenn Beck", CNN, archived from March 2008.
  9. Michael Learmonth, "CNN names new headliner: Beck is net's new newsie", Variety, January 17, 2006.
  10. "Glenn Beck Joins FOX News", Media Release, Business Wire, October 16, 2008.
  11. Bill Carter and Brian Stelter, "Fox News Hires Glenn Beck Away From CNN", New York Times, October 16, 2008.
  12. Urge ABC News to Reconsider Hiring Glenn Beck, Muslim Public Affairs Council, January 23, 2007.
  13. Jack Mirkinson, Glenn Beck’s Last Fox News Show: Recap Of The Finale, Huffington Post, June 30, 2011.
  14. Glenn Beck, "About the Glenn Beck Program",, accessed August 2009.
  15. Media Matters for America Beck Dismisses Concern Over Japan's Nuclear Emergency As "Propaganda From George Soros", March 14, 2011
  16. Lisa Graves Glenn Beck Laughs at Worries about Japanese Nuclear Disaster; Dismisses Concerns as Soros Propaganda,, March 15, 2011
  17. Jane Mayer, [Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right], Jane Mayer, 2016.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 Meet the man who changed Glenn Beck's life Alexander Zaitchik., September 16, 2009.
  19. Why won't the press tell the truth about the sweeping Glenn Beck ad boycott? Eric Boehlert. Media Matters, September 11, 2009.
  20. Carter: Racism plays major role in opposition to Obama CNN, September 15, 2009
  21. Beck Meltdown
  22. Glenn Beck Notable Names Database,
  23. "Bill Carter, Glenn Beck's Gold Deal Raising Questions at Fox", "New York Times Online", December 13, 2009.
  24. "Bill Carter, Glenn Beck's Gold Deal Raising Questions at Fox", "New York Times Online", December 13, 2009.
  25. "Bill Carter, Glenn Beck's Gold Deal Raising Questions at Fox", "New York Times Online", December 13, 2009.



Video/Audio Transcripts & Media Segments


  • The Glenn Beck Program broadcast on America's Voices in Israel from Jerusalem Post studio, September and October 2002 (various dates).