In case you haven't heard, Glenn Beck got his doughy ass handed to him this morning on The View. I'm not going to post the clip here because, in truth, I'm as annoyed by the yapping chihuahuas of The View as I am by Beck; when it comes to TV buffoonery, they're two sides of the same coin.
That said, I'd highly suggest watching the confrontation between Beck, Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters. The most revealing part of their back-and-forth --meaning that it has larger implications beyond being a couple of people uncomfortably beating up on each other -- is when Beck offers an audaciously lame-ass defense as to why he shouldn't be held accountable for making up any kind of crap he wants and calling it the truth.
Walters says, "You are an investigative reporter," to which Beck responds, "No, I'm not." "Well, you're a reporter," she continues. "No, I'm not," he shoots back. "So you check no facts at all?" "Uh, no," he recoils, "I am a commentator."
And that's really what's at the core of the horseshit coming from Beck and his Vaudevillian ilk: They have no responsibility to the facts because they don't consider themselves journalists. They're just guys talking, ya know? It's not like they took some kind of oath of honesty or promised that their silly histrionics would be rooted in events actually occurring in our reality. They're immune to the facts because they're just "commentators."
Except that they're not immune. It's unethical to lie, period -- but when you have a public forum and the audience that goes with it, it's dangerous bordering on criminal to just make the facts up as you go. In a sane world, "commenting" on stuff you've just pulled out of your ass would render your comments worthless. I'm technically a commentator; if I ever invented the news I was commenting on, it wouldn't simply be a good idea, it'd be your responsibility to ignore anything I said. Unfortunately, fans of the Becks, Limbaughs, Coulters and Hannitys of the world aren't doing that because these clowns are telling them exactly what they want to hear, confirming their worst paranoid beliefs -- their false beliefs -- and doing it precisely because its what the audience wants.
But that's not a big deal because, as Beck says, he's under no professional obligation to get the facts right.
And God knows there's no conscience or sense of personal responsibility to the truth lurking anywhere inside that oversized head of his.
Related: DXM: Revolutionary Goad/4.7.09