Thursday, March 11, 2010

Beck Wastes Your Time

It was the elephant in the room. And still is. Glenn Beck opened his radio program Wednesday morning complaining about the interview he had conducted responses he received the previous evening on his television program from former Representative Eric Massa (D-NY). Beck said

America, have you ever heard of a 50-year old man having a tickle-fight — five men tickling each other so hard that they can’t breathe? I think we found out who he is — someone who can’t be trusted to tell the truth about his life....

“I almost said, ‘I think we could, but you’ve wasted enough of my time, get out. I almost threw him out of the studio three times. … What a waste of time this man was!

Well, yes, I guess it is "a waste of time" if you spend your time unsuccessfully trying to dig up dirt on sensible members of Congress, as when Beck asked

Is there — I mean, I don't want to be a defender of the White House here, but I have to be. Is there anything specific — because you've talked to me. You've talked on the radio. You've talked to me personally yesterday on the phone. You have talked about corruption. But we all complain about corruption. Is there anything specific that you have?

Beck was probing for something, anything, he could hang around the necks of Progressives Out To Destroy The Country and, at first, it seemed Massa might give it to him:

Well, I don't know how to answer specifically because my arm has been twisted 17 times to Sunday. You asked me —

But after Beck asked a follow-up question, Massa disappointed his interviewer by not giving him anything. And then, Massa stuck it to him by requesting:

Here is another specific thing. Stop calling fellow Americans names.

And then Beck, who evidently has little experience talking to anyone who doesn't accept his rants as gospel truth, made it worse by taking the bait. Here is the remainder of the exchange:

BECK: Stop what?

MASSA: Calling fellow Americans names, pejorative, insulting — socialist, communist, whatever the case may be, colorful names designed to emote emotion. I get it.

BECK: Progressives?

MASSA: But I'm asking you and everybody if you remember the Tea Party movement, which I respect because I'm a fiscal conservative. I always have been. You can be a progressive and be a fiscal conservative.

I know we're going to have an argument, but you can be. But you can't show up at a Tea Party rally and claim that the entire budget deficit happened this year.

Whereupon, Beck finally realized he had to change the subject.

But Glenn Beck's ineptitude didn't stop there. He made Larry King- Larry King, for gosh sake!- look like a probing interviewer. After talk about tickle fights, a naked Chief of Staff, and groping a male staffer "until he couldn't breathe and four guys jumped on top of me," that elephant still eluded Beck. It was left to Larry King, hardly an intrusive interviewer, to ask later that evening

It may be silly, but I guess we have to ask it, are your -- are you gay?

As the characters of Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza might say "not that there is anything wrong that that" (video, irrelevant here but entertaining, below). Except that it is important, especially with the homoerotic overtones of Massa's story and the threat of an investigation into sexual harassment charges. That Massa refused to answer King's simple question only adds another level of intrigue, and possible significance, to the whole matter.

In the space of just a few hours, Glenn Beck gets shown up by a discredited ex-Congressman and a fellow talk show host known for softball interviews. And we await the question from the media: what is is that makes an individual who cannot effectively pull off what should be a simple interview so popular among so many people?

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