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Glenn Beck has left the building.

It is a remarkable reversal of fortune for a man who one year ago was banking $32 million annually, teaching Americans how to fear-monger for fun and profit.

But with his ratings down nearly 50 percent and advertisers abandoning the show, Beck’s apocalyptic shtick has been getting rancid fast.

It’s almost hard to remember that not so long ago Glenn Beck was being taken seriously as a political figure by hyper-partisans on the far right. The proto-Tea Party rally on Capitol Hill in 2009 was directly inspired by Beck. This past summer, he filled one-third of the Washington Mall with his faithful for what turned out to be a religious revival with political overtones, on the anniversary of the Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. There were even, it is now surreal to say, calls for him to run for president on a ticket with Sarah Palin—a draft movement that they had to deny.

A low-lights reel of Beck’s worst moments on Fox would take hours to watch, but it would offer a useful seminar on the politics of incitement and near-mainstreaming of conspiracy theories in the Obama era. A talented broadcaster, Beck used his perch to echo old narratives straight out of the paranoid style in American politics—sinister plots to impose one-world government, the intentional subversion of the Constitution, the oppression of the faithful at the hands of a secular socialist elite hell-bent on replacing the American experiment with tyranny. “The Glenn Beck Show” is the closest the John Birch Society has ever come to having their own national program, reaching millions and poisoning political debate in the process.

Beck is leaving FOXNews. But we haven’t seen the end of him. That will require a stake through the heart or a silver bullet in the brain.


One Comment

  1. I am sure that Gabby Gifford would agree with that assessment….shame, shame, shame.

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