Glen Beck’s Restoring Honor rally was a big hit for the News Media. Like angsty teenagers carpooling to Lalapalooza, or kids chasing an ice cream truck down the street, they flocked to the scene, scrambling to get there first and determined not to miss a moment of the show.
The average journalist is politically far left of a typical American, yet the media’s influence on national politics — particularly over the past 25 years — has been incalculable. Though they represent only a tiny fraction of their audience, the media has the ability to provide massive exposure and uncritical coverage to the candidates and ideas they appreciate. Their true power, though, is in censorship and what they don’t say: they generally feign unconsciousness of people like Beck. And lacking exposure, the message is bound to die away. Lately, there has been a dramatic shift in the media’s approach: they’ve lost their cool and broken with the usual format. The two most obvious examples of this are the obsession with Sarah Palin and Glen Beck.
Instead of the icy silent treatment, the media has reacted to Beck and Palin the way hungry lions react to gazelles. What is all the fuss about, for heaven’s sake? (In my opinion) Glen Beck is sometimes right; sometimes insane. This description can also fit politicians ranging from Nancy Pelosi to Dick Cheney. Their ideas resonate with someone: they wouldn’t be where they are without some appeal, and God knows it isn’t their personal charm.
The media’s coverage of someone like Cheney was reasonable. As second-in-command, he held enormous power and his decisions impacted the lives of all Americans. Beck, on the other hand, doesn’t hold public office or make policies or determine strategic direction. Literally, your city-council has more say-so about the future of America than he does. Yet the media reports his every utterance obsessively, and his words are ringing true with many Americans. Ditto for Sarah Palin. Conclusion: the media’s derision GAVE them power.
Personally, I’m watching the Tea Party with interest and I’m glad to see alternative ideas getting out there. I hope they kick the door in for third parties of all political backgrounds. The more ideas the better. From an impersonal perspective though, I can’t help wondering why the News Media abandoned their censorship tactics, which have been extremely successful. It must sting for them to realize that they not only made Beck and Palin relevant in America, but also supplied them with great power and influence. Of course, it’s far too late to undo it.