Jon Stewart does Glenn Beck (again), spinning his George-Soros-as-Darth-Vader routine to its logical culmination… “Only Rupert Murdoch” — well, with this ragtag bunch of conservative billionnaires, media organizations, PACs, et al. — “stands between George Soros and Amerika.” This is laugh-(or-cry)-out-loud hilarious.
Or watch the whole episode at the Daily Show web site.
And yes, Fox News chairman Ailes actually did say that National Public Radio “are, of course, Nazis.” Bill McKibben provides a more reasoned assessment of public radio here in the New York Review of Books — the same issue that has Soros chiming in on Obama’s economic missteps, Diane Ravitch effectively shredding the Davis Guggenheim pro-charter schools film Waiting for “Superman,” and Anne Applebaum reviewing Tim Snyder’s excellent Bloodlands (which has little to do with America except for the historical ground-truthing it provides on the more bizarre expressions of this current culture war — like Ailes’s “Nazis”).
The new issue, meanwhile, includes a thoughtful piece by Mark Lilla on that same Beck of Revelation. Searching for the “real” Glenn Beck, Lilla argues, “makes no sense. The truth is, demagogues don’t have cores. They are mediums, channeling currents of public passion and opinion that they anticipate, amplify, and guide, but do not create; the less resistance they offer, the more successful they are.” It’s this that distinguishes Beck from his Fox confreres: “Rush Limbaugh plays the loud, steamrolling uncle you avoid at Thanksgiving. Bill O’Reilly is the angry guy haranguing the bartender. Sean Hannity is the football captain in a letter sweater, asking you to repeat everything, slowly. But with Glenn Beck you never know what you’ll get. He is a perpetual work in progress, a billboard offering YOUR MESSAGE HERE.” There’s a lot to that characterization.