Can Glenn Beck reinvent himself as the voice of reason?
Popular media personalities have been all over the map about the recent election. But one who has remained staunchly aligned with his rhetoric throughout is media mogul and perennial outsider Glenn Beck. Owner of The Blaze radio and Internet media brands, Beck has been the face of GOP discontent with Trump almost since the beginning.
But now that the election is over and Trump is the President-elect, Beck was one of the first to call for reconciliation. The man who made his career shouting down and pointing fingers at the other side says Trump’s campaign has taught him a lot about himself, and he’s ready to be a better person. That Better Person believes the two harshly divided sides should talk to each other, should reach out, and mend fences.
In a recent special letter, Beck lead with the problem: “Our country is in trouble … the pendulum of division and hate is swinging faster…”
After this direct beginning, Beck offers himself as the messenger “uniquely qualified” to deliver the message of both warning and hope. Beck then laid out his case, beginning with the vilification of George W. Bush after the 2000 election. Beck cites calls for Texas to secede and for dissenters to “move to Canada” … then the other shoe drops: “Sound familiar?” Beck asks.
In Beck’s narrative, the party positions started playing certain roles in 2000, switched sides in 2008 and then swapped roles again after the most recent election. Beck said watching the 2016 election results come in, watching the pundits talk about it, showed him how other people see him.
Beck has been a divisive firebrand his entire career. He was a magnet to people who looked at the world a certain way and saw certain things when they did. And he was a joke or a problem to those who could not or would not see it that way. But now, Beck says, he understands both sides. Watching the Sky Is Falling reaction to Candidate Trump becoming President-Elect Trump showed him a mirror image of what people thought, said, and did back in 2008 … when the roles were reversed.
Beck continues on his Voice of Reason narrative, saying just as Obama was not the Manchurian Candidate, so, too, is Trump not Hitler. There’s no need for panic, but there is a need to come together.
Some will find it hard to accept this new version of Beck as uniter, not a divider. They will point to the fact that he’s already starting to reach out to Trump, after vigorously opposing him the entire campaign. Will their suspicions prove founded, or will Beck continue down this road? If the latter, how does the firebrand retain his base while reaching out to undecided consumers?