In case you missed it, Fox News personality Glenn Beck is insane. His own colleagues think he's a bit ridiculous. Bill O'Reilly is starting to look normal by comparison. But, whether it's by suggesting that we kill more people on the battlefield to save us the trouble of having to find a home for exonerated prisoners, intimating that kids that lick bicycle chains get what they deserve, and acccusing the current administration of leading us towards another 1984, good old Glenn has carved himself quite a niche in the right-wing television personality world.
The stunt he pulled on last Thursday's show, however, took his show to such an extreme that you have to wonder just how much farther this guy can go.
For those of you that just ate and don't want to lose your lunch dinner, I'm here for you. After claiming that Obama has disenfranchised him by wanting to create a path for illegal aliens to become legal, Beck then pulls out a lackey from their late night show and demonstrates what he thinks the president is doing to the average American by...pouring liquid out of a gasoline can onto said lackey.
I find it hard to believe that we've reached a point in this world where something like this would actually be acceptable fare on (theoretically) a major news network. As much as I understand that shock value sells, there's got to be a rational point at which someone says, "wait, that's a step too far".
The funny thing is, for 2 1/2 years, Beck hosted a similar program on CNN Headline News. While this hacked off many on the left, and Beck certainly said his fair share of nutty things (highlighted by his insisting that Democratic - and Muslim - representative Keith Ellison "prove to me you're not working with our enemies"), certainly he wasn't nearly this outrageous. Most likely it's because he had a producer (or program director) that would say things like, "yeah, maybe you shouldn't talk about government sponsored suicide, and lighting someone on fire is probably a bad idea too".
Sadly, without some sort of double check at the network, this is probably going to become the norm, or more frighteningly the low bar to clear. He's already trying to discredit the legitimacy of this presidency by questioning the citizenship of Obama, and warning of an oncoming depression and calling for "revolution" and insurrection (terms that useful idiot Michele Bachmann is only too happy to use in her disconnected from reality rants),
Most scarily, he's fueling the fears that Obama will "take away our guns". That part already seems to be working; in the five months following his election, requests for background checks to purchase guns have risen over 25% from the same period the previous year. He's certainly not solely responsible; the seeds of the socialist/palling around with terrorist meme had been sown before Beck moved to Fox. But he certainly owns a chunk of it, and when people start shooting sprees because they "fear that the Obama gun ban is on its way", it's hard to not see some sort of line connecting the two.
So the question is, would you rather have him on CNN and deal with them having a sorta nutjob on a semi-respectable news network, or have him on Fox News where he can go full metal crazy for all the world to see? I'm not really sure there's a good answer to that. I live having things truly exposed for what they are, but to the point that it's potentially inciting unreasonable unrest, I'm not sure that it's such a good idea.
Of course, this could all be rectified by Fox simply having someone in place to tell Beck to only go partially over the edge. I'd also love to go home and find Carrie Underwood waiting for me in my bed. I'm not expecting either anytime soon.