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Beck has since apologized for his role in bringing the country to its present state of dysfunction.At the time, the few voices who spoke up against his behavior were told to relax by well-meaning beneficiaries of the status quo like Jonah Goldberg, who wrote: Many conservatives believe Beck is undermining conservatism with his often goofy style and his sometimes outlandish and paranoia-tinged diatribes. Buckley, my friend Charles Murray writes, “Don't tell me that we have to put up with the Glenn Becks of the world to be successful. The right changed the country for the better—through good arguments made by fine men.” Murray is nostalgic for conservative leaders who were, like Murray himself, soft-spoken intellectuals. First, there has always been a populist front on the right, even during the "glory days" when Buckley was saying he'd rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phonebook than the faculty at Harvard.Having done so little to protect respect for facts or norms against bad behavior, anti-Trump conservatives couldn’t stop Trump from exploiting their absence. For most of the 15 years that I occasionally dipped into his syndicated radio show and his Fox News programs, I seldom wrote about his oeuvre, even as I published right-leaning criticism of Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Ann Coulter.He seemed less hateful than they were; and while he frequently misinformed his audience, he was somehow less indecent—he mostly didn’t seem to be speaking in bad faith, if only because he didn’t know any better than the simplistic boilerplate he regurgitated.Populist talkers were there to energize the GOP’s base.Insofar as they did so with dishonest rhetoric, it would only benefit more sober politicians and intellectuals.Lashing out at what he called “Twitter snowflakes” and “the liberal effort to silence me,” he took particular umbrage at a campaign by the progressive group Media Matters for America to pressure his advertisers, an effort he called liberal fascism. “Rush, O'Reilly, Beck, Imus, & now me.”He may succeed in rallying his fans.But Hannity’s angry claims elide the fact that the progressives at Media Matters have sought the scalps of conservatives like him for more than a decade.
Its latest push isn’t the reason his position is as precarious as it has ever been (nor did Media Matters stop Bill O’Reilly, who was sunk by multiple “falafel talk” allegations, or Rush Limbaugh, who is still on the air).
He kept carrying water for a Republican Congress through the worst of its corruption.
And his dishonesty helped delay the moment when his listeners would see reality. Most movement conservatives not only ignored talk-radio’s failures, but kept abiding the most vile populist commentary as the Obama administration began.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the right even embraced Glenn Beck’s rise on Fox News, where a typical show included manic, semi-coherent monologues and vast, sinister conspiracy theories presented for credulous viewers on giant chalkboards.
Roger Ailes proved himself a deeply unethical man by broadcasting that show.