Saturday, March 13, 2010

Why Glenn Beck is Bad for You whereas Jon Stewart is Good.

If you don't see why Glenn Beck is a buffoon who knows nothing about anything, here's his political analysis of France :
Here’s something else to watch. In France polls have this guy, the president, Nicolas Sarkozy – he’s center right – (…/…) his approval rating is down to 36%. However, this guy – far right – Villepin is at 57%. (see video here)
Beck's point was that extremism is on the rise in Europe, except that..... he confuses Villepin (who is ineded at 57% approval rate) with Jean-Marie le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party. Villepin is in the same party as Sarkozy - center right - although a rival for party leadership. This more than undermines his point.

Of course, some might say that Glenn Beck is just good entertainment - a clown. The problem is he claims to be informative and it would take some effort for those who listen to him and have preconceived ideological views to get the distinction between entertainment and "news". People are lazy, and they don't know. How many Americans are going to know who Villepin is?! Seriously, I have talked to a number of right-wing people who always believe his crap. They'll tell you his ideas are supported by facts and that he gives you the facts... only the facts are simply WRONG. (and this is just one example)

But the worst part for me is that he's just not funny. And I'm not saying this because I don't like his views. I just don't see the humor or the wit in anything he says. and I fail to see how people can be entertained by someone who's always angry and keeps yelling at them. It seems to me that by the end of his show you're simply more scared, more tense and more confused. (it'd be interesting to measure those parts of the brain in the audience). What's the entertainment in that?

Compare, say, to... Jon Stewart. Now here's an entertainer for you- whether you like his views or not. Stewart doesn't claim to be informative and when Beck appeals to negative emotions such as fear , anger, paranoia, or insecurity, etc... Stewart uses humor, satire, or the burlesque. In fact, he transforms the fear and the anger into the ridiculous, and that's what parody is all about, and that's very healthy.

If nothing else, one should watch Stewart over Beck for health reasons - it is certainly far better to nurture humor and wit than fear and anger.

NOTE: incidentally, I found out there's a Beck Depression Inventory (a series of questions developed to measure the intensity, severity, and depth of depression in patients). How ironically appropriate!


themanbehindthecurtain said...

I couldn't agree more.
I can't remember where i saw this, but Fox News made a statement that all of their "commentators, are just that, and not actually reporting news". It was a response to Beck calling Obama a racist. (found it)

I live in Orange County, California and everyone here assumes that everyone else is a right-wing conservative. Someone came up to me the other day and said "oh, did you see Glenn Beck last night?" (seriously, asking, not joking). I just laughed and kept walking.

Its surprising how many normal seeming people take his every word as fact. Glenn Beck is definitely the poster boy of media sensationalism in America. We are in a sad state here.

I remember listening to Matt Drudge 5-6 years ago when he had a national radio show. He warned that media sensationalism will take over America. I am no Drudge apologist, but he was right.

Jerome, said...

Thank you for your comment. I feel for you, my friend. I have been to Orange County a lot, and will be there this summer again. It's a great place, if you exclude religion and politics. It's a little ghetto of its own.
I know some people there who indeed only get their news from Fox News and buy into anything it says, and there is no way to talk to them about it because anything else is liberal biased - including me because I'm already guilty of being European.
As Jon Stewart has recently shown it well, the main problem with Fox News is that there is no distinction between facts and ideology and between news and entertainment.