A Bad Week for Glenn Beck’s Grift

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 21 2014 8:29 AM

A Bad Week for Glenn Beck’s Grift

170860342-conservative-radio-and-television-commentator-glenn
He's on a mission from God.

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Glenn Beck is nothing if not enthusiastic. FreedomWorks has (controversially) paid Beck to help promote its candidates and causes, and he has fulfilled his end of the deal. He talked up Kentucky's Matt Bevin as a "founder-quality" candidate. He showed up at FreedomWorks' FreePac, a wan echo of its 2012 Texas rally for Ted Cruz, to tell activists that they were on a mission from God. He's consistently sided with the current FreedomWorks leadership over the departed Dick Armey, telling listeners that the ousted guys "didn't like the fact that FreedomWorks is cleaning house in the GOP."

Well, Bevin just lost his race, and McConnell, who always polled around 60 percent of the vote, won around ... 60 percent of the vote. This would be embarrassing enough for Beck, who climbed far out on a limb, if he weren't also taking friendly fire from people who participated in the (even more misconcieved) "Operation American Spring" rally in D.C. only to see Beck's channel make fun of them. Via Brad Friedman:

“Operation American Spring was BECKSTABBED and then TheBlaze has the nerve to mock them for low turnout,” said one furious commenter at The Blaze. “Of course glenn [sic] did not endorse it, it wasn’t his PARTY,” said another in response.
And on and on it went. While many Blaze readers predictably blamed the usual “commie” or “Muslim” or “liberal” or “government” operatives for undermining the event, the most vitriol in The Blaze’s hundreds of comments on the one article seemed to be reserved for Beck himself.
Reading through them, one finds many calls for an armed or otherwise violent overthrow of the government. Some commenters complained they hadn’t heard about the event until it had already failed, while many blamed Beck for that as well.
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When this year's over, I'd expect Beck—who's very adaptable, and can easily siloo his crazier stuff into books that sell pretty well—to rethink his alliances.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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