On Monday, fans, followers and foes of Glenn Beck alike were probably left lifting the lower halves of their jaws from the floor when they read the New Yorker’s profile of the conservative media figure.
The piece, appropriately titled “Glenn Beck Tries Out Decency,” was short but shocking, in view of Beck’s previous stance on the Obamas: “Obama made me a better man,” he said.
Beck, it’s important to note, is the same man who once said Obama has a “deep-seated hatred for white people.”
Beck is the same man who, in July, published a piece on his website titled “What Was the Worst Thing Obama Said at the Police Memorial?” and stated that at the Dallas police memorial, Obama “once again used the stage to push his political agenda.”
The same man who once called some of Obama’s policies, “September 11th all over again except we didn’t have the collapsing building.”
(Speaking of 9/11, he’s the same man who once said, “It took me about a year to start hating the 9/11’s victims’ families . . . When I see a 9/11 victim’s family, you know, on television or whatever, I’m just like,’Shut up.’ I’m so sick of them, because they’re always complaining ” He hedged this comment by saying he’s only discussing about 10 victims. In the same segment, he said of Hurricane Katrina victims, “I didn’t think I could hate victims faster than the 9/11 victims.” )
Beck told the New Yorker he doesn’t speak like that any longer, that he’s become a different man. In particular, he said he regrets calling the president a racist.
“I did a lot of freaking out about Barack Obama,” he told the magazine.
Added Beck, “So much of what I used to believe was either always a sham or has been made into a sham. There’s nothing deep.”
Beck went on, in the interview, to state that he now supports the Black Lives Matter movement. (Which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, because as The Washington Post noted, he has been urging conservatives to understand the movement. In September, he even penned an op-ed for the New York Times titled “Empathy for Black Lives Matter.”)
“There are things unique to the African American experience that I cannot relate to,” he told the New Yorker. “I had to listen to them.”
It should be noted that via Twitter, Nick Baumann, enterprise editor for the Huffington Post, claimed to have reached out to Beck’s PR team after the interview, only to receive a very different response.
Beck’s primary inspiration for these changes in viewpoint, as the brief profile suggested, was first lady Michelle Obama.
This is particularly shocking, considering that he once said of her, “So this woman’s a monster. She is Lady Macbeth. She is a frightening woman,” as the Huffington Post noted.
Days after The Post published a video in which Donald Trump spoke openly about sexually assaulting women, including his now-infamous phrase, “grab them by the p—y,” the first lady gave an impassioned speech while campaigning for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire.
The Post’s On Leadership blog opined that it was a “master class in speaking from the gut” and called it “required viewing for every leader.” In a similar vein, The Fix called the speech “one of the most important of this political cycle.”
In the speech, the first lady said the language Trump used “has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted.”
Later that same day, on his radio program, Beck showed some sign of his coming change, calling the speech “the most effective political speech I have heard since Ronald Reagan.”
One reason Beck so admired the speech was that it transcended party lines, which, he said, is what Reagan did so well.
“Reagan didn’t believe in the government,” Beck said. “He didn’t believe in the party. He believed in the people.”
The first lady, he said, did the same.
“She didn’t say, ‘The government should do X, Y, or Z.’ She said, ‘We,’ ‘Us’ — without a political party. ‘We are better.’ ‘We need to stop this.’ It had to do with ‘Who are you as a human being?’ ‘How do you view women?’ Brilliant speech,” he said. “That was a moment that transcended all political thought.”
Added Beck, “Those words hit me where I live. If you’re a decent human being, those words were dead on.”
And that, a decent human being, as the magazine suggested with its headline, seems to be what Beck aspires to these days.
As is to be expected, many members of the alt-right have taken to social media to blast Beck for walking back his previous statements.
Most of the tweets call Beck the alt-right’s favorite insult: “cuck,” which is short for “cuckservative” and is used to denote a Republican who is allowing his party to be overtaken by the left (think: RINO, or Republican In Name Only).
“Can we start a gofundme to send this cuck to an island with only running water and food?” tweeted one user. “Obama did not make you a better ‘man’. He made you a better cuck,” tweeted another. “I was never with ‘Glenn Beck’. Behold a cuck becoming a cuck before your very eyes. The establishment plants fake opposition like Beck,” tweeted a third.
“We’re reaching levels of cuck I didn’t think were possible,” tweeted yet another.
In the profile, Beck addressed the alt-right, telling the magazine that “these people scare the hell out of me.”
Their candidate of choice — Donald Trump — also frightens him.
“This guy is dangerously unhinged,” he said. “And, for all the things people have said about me over the years, I should be able to spot Dangerously Unhinged.”
Added Beck, “What’s most tragic about this is us. We have, as a culture, embraced the bad guys. I love Tony Soprano. But, when a Tony Soprano shows up in your life, you don’t love him so much.”
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