Saturday, January 15, 2011

Informer or Irritator?

I don't get to watch Glenn Beck on TV very often.  His 5:00pm EST Fox News Channel show (2:00pm PST) would normally seem to be a tv ratings graveyard.  It is not a real good time for people who go to work every day, pay their taxes and keep this country going every day to be watching television.

This chart at TV by the Numbers has a comparison of the cable news ratings at 5pm EST for 2008 and 2009.  Beck took over the FNC slot in January, 2009.   His ratings are nothing short of amazing.

All Cable News TV ratings were down in 2010 but Beck was still the #3 ranked cable news program behindFNC's The O'Reilly Factor and just barely behind Hannity who airs at 9:00pm.  His ratings were over 3 times as large as Larry King's on CNN right in the middle of prime time.  

You often hear Beck referred to as an agitator, irritator or divider.   I have never seen him try to stir up anyone with anything other than information.  He does not raise his voice and I have never seen him try to whip up a crowd.  He mixes in his humor with most everything he does. I am still looking for the angry man that is described by the Left. In the times I have seen him I have viewed him principally as an informer.  I don't agree with everything that Beck says.  Nor do I reach all the same conclusions he does.  However, I just don't see where this stuff comes from.

I don't know who does his research or who comes up with what he is going to cover but it is generally well constructed.  I consider myself reasonably well educated and well informed but I have learned things on Beck I have never seen anywhere else.  Beyond the material is the way Beck delivers it.  I know of no one that goes on live tv and delivers a 20 minute monologue (with no commercial interruptions) the way he does.  If I had teachers who could have delivered material like that, high school would have been much more interesting.

It is interesting that Beck seems to cause so much consternation and anger among the liberal left and media elites.  Is it because he has proven so effective in reaching an audience?  Is it because he achieved national recognition in such a short span of time (Beck was a radio talk show host in Philadelphia less than 5 years ago)?  Is it because he did not attend the right schools (Beck did not even attend college other than one course).  It probably is a combination of all three.  Some of the same factors appear to apply to Sarah Palin as well.

I found it interesting to see that Glenn Beck recently was named the 8th Most Admired Man of 2010 in a poll by Gallup and USA Today.   Who is higher on the list?  President Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates, Pope Benedict and Rev. Billy Graham.  Beck actually tied with Jimmy Carter but was ahead of The Dalai Lama.  If you think this was a fluke, Beck was actually 4th on the list in 2009.  He also ranked 2nd on the list of those who listed themselves as political independents.  Does that sound like someone who is viewed as divisive by the public at large? He ranked a relatively lowly 5th with registered Republicans.  Who was 5th ranked with Democrats?  Tiger Woods in a tie with Michael Jordan.  I kid you not!  That poll was taken several weeks after the infamous Thanksgiving night accident.

Beck clearly is doing something right.  Information is power and and can also be empowering.  Is that what this is all about? Perhaps it is not that Beck is an agitator or irritator but that the Left is agitated and irritated on the information he shares.  They should just be thankful that his show is not on prime time.

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