Glenn Beck: Fox News' Rising 'Rodeo Clown'

Beck achieves popularity in Obama era
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2009 12:02 PM CDT

Fox News host Glenn Beck is a moralizing, sometimes tearful, usually outraged revivalist, often reminding conservatives that they “are not alone”—and his "mad as hell" approach seems to be working. After just 2 months on the job, Beck draws 2.3 million cable viewers, behind only Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, the New York Times reports. Beck "has a gift for touching the passion nerve," a radio talk show host says.

He tells viewers that America’s “on the road to socialism,” that “God and religion are under attack,” and recently wondered aloud if FEMA was setting up concentration camps. He says he believes it all, but that he’s also an entertainer: “I’m a rodeo clown. If you take what I say as gospel, you’re an idiot.” Some say Beck's style is nothing new. “There was a lot of radio evangelism during the Depression," the director of a journalism research group explains. "People were frustrated and frightened. There are a lot of scary parallels now.” (More Glenn Beck stories.)

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