Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance

( 41 )

Overview

Who is this guy and why are people listening?

Forget Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity—Glenn Beck is the Right’s new media darling and the unofficial leader of the conservative grassroots. Lampooned by the Left and Lionized by the far Right, his bluster-and-tears brand of political commentary has commandeered attention on both sides of the aisle.

Glenn Beck has emerged over the last decade as a unique and bizarre conservative icon ...

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Overview

Who is this guy and why are people listening?

Forget Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity—Glenn Beck is the Right’s new media darling and the unofficial leader of the conservative grassroots. Lampooned by the Left and Lionized by the far Right, his bluster-and-tears brand of political commentary has commandeered attention on both sides of the aisle.

Glenn Beck has emerged over the last decade as a unique and bizarre conservative icon for the new century. He encourages his listeners to embrace a cynical paranoia that slides easily into a fantasyland filled with enemies that do not exist and solutions that are incoherent, at best. Since the election of President Barack Obama, Beck’s bombastic, conspiratorial, and often viciously personal approach to political combat has made him one of the most controversial figures in the history of American broadcasting.

In Common Nonsense, investigative reporter Alexander Zaitchik explores Beck's strange brew of ratings lust, boundless ego, conspiratorial hard-right politics, and gimmicky morning-radio entertainment chops.

  • Separates the facts from the fiction, following Beck from his troubled childhood to his recent rise to the top of the conservative media heap
  • Zaitchik's recent three-part series in Salon caused so much buzz, Beck felt the need to attack it on his show
  • Based on Zaitchik's interviews with former Beck coworkers and review of countless Beck writings and television and radio shows
  • Explains why Beck is always crying, why he has so many conservative enemies, why he's driven by conspiracy theories, and why he's dangerous to the health of the republic
  • A contributing writer to Alternet, Zaitchik's reporting has appeared in the New Republic, the Nation, Salon, Wired, Reason, and the Believer

Beck, a perverse and high-impact media spectacle, has emerged as a leader in a conservative protest movement that raises troubling questions about the future of American politics.

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  • Alexander Zaitchik
    Alexander Zaitchik  

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
* "A gripping and thoroughly researched Beck biography."
—Joe Conason, Salon

Common Nonsense will tell [his fans] more than they’ve ever known about Beck, but it will challenge the premises of his stories and his crusades. Zaitchik defends ACORN and environmental activist Van Jones from the pounding Beck gave them — at times, the reader feels that he’s watching a medic team pick up wounded bodies from the culture war.”
—David Weigel, The Washington Post

“Fox News host Glenn Beck delights in provocation — see his well-publicized spats with James Cameron, Rep. Anthony Weiner and others — and, according to Alexander Zaitchik's new book, he's always had the knack. Indeed, the book, which Firedoglake calls, ‘careful and studious...part biography, part deconstruction,’ reads like an extended list of all the folks the outspoken conservative pundit has irked during his rise from local radio host to national media icon.”
The Week

“A superb book… Alexander Zaitchik shows how Beck’s blackboard schemes are fiction—part of what [Zaitchik] calls ‘the oceanic audacity of his self-serving ignorance.’”
—Mark Schmitt, The American Prospect

“A sharp and informative smackdown.”
—Mark Lilla, The New York Review of Books

“A tough critique of the host’s history, philosophies and methods, aimed at separating fact from hyperbole [t]hrough detailed interviews, an examination of Beck’s public statements, and a look at public records.”
—St. Petersburg Times (Florida)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470557396
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 5/24/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

ALEXANDER ZAITCHIK is a freelance journalist and contributing writer at AlterNet.org. His writing has appeared in the New Republic, the Nation, Salon, Wired, Reason, and the Believer. He lives in Brooklyn.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Man with the Plan.

1 Portrait of a Young Deejay.

2 Last Stop on the Top 40 Train.

3 The Luckiest Loudmouth in Tampa.

4 It’s Always about Glenn.

5 This Is CNN?

6 A Rodeo Clown Goes Large.

7 Beck Unbound.

8 False Victory.

9 "A Deep-Seated Hatred for . . . the White Culture ". 

10 ACORN.

11 Brother Beck Presents: Mormon Masterpiece Theater.

12 The Ghost of Cleon Skousen.

13 The 9.12 Project.

Epilogue: The Bullet Train and the Rocking Chair.

Acknowledgments.

Notes. 

Index.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 41 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(25)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2010

    Surprisingly fascinating

    I had pretty low expectations for this book, expecting nothing but name calling. But it turned out to be full of rich information about media, conservative politics, and the man Glenn Beck. I don't think I'll ever watch his show the same way again.

    16 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2010

    A Joke

    This book is a joke, and is full of lies. Maybe thats why its collectimg dust on the shelves.

    13 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2010

    Waste of money

    Poorly organized, the "facts" were more opinion than anything, I was hoping for more and was left.... bored.

    11 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2011

    Name calling

    I did not buy the book, but if the rest of the book is like the sample it is just the leftist version of what the author says beck does. He says Beck just plays on peoples hate and fear for personal gain. This would be more convincing if there was less name calling and if the book was free. Always interested to hear other view points and I dont always agree with what beck says, but this was far from anything other than name calling for profit.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 1, 2011

    Just Another Liberal Hatchet Job

    Just another attack by the left on someone who doesn't agree with their socialist vision of America.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2013

    We are a republic

    WE ARE NOT A DEMOCRACY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 27, 2012

    I'm a Glenn Beck supporter, but I always read both sides of the

    I'm a Glenn Beck supporter, but I always read both sides of the isle. (You know, keeping the enemy closer!) I found this typical, and rancid. It was unfortunate that I couldn't finish it...It just wasted my time. Maybe one day, when I can't find an opposing view that logical, sane, and a true dialog of opposition, I may pick it up again. Beck isn't perfect by far, and I don't always agree, but this wasn't even worth buying it in a few years with a "remainder" mark on the bottom.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    Another liberal activist dressed up as a writer trying to prove how ignorant conservatives are.

    Not only does he try to save us from ourselves but also twists and manipulates facts to prove his pointless views and arguments. Again another right wing zealot that tries to convince us that we are to stupid or ignorant to think and thus shouldn't even have the right to vote. Not surprisingly again us conservatives are all painted as ignorants or racists.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2013

    BS

    $14.27 For the E-BOOK?!?! And you're calling Beck a money grubber who's only in it for the cash?

    Moron.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 10, 2010

    Balanced look at Glenn Beck the main

    Alexander Zaitchik has written a well-researched and thoughtful book about the conservative media superstar Glenn Beck.
    He traces Glenn Beck's life from his early days growing up in Mount Vernon, Washington to his time as a Top 40 disc jockey at various radio stations around the country to his eventual rise as a conservative pundit and multi-media personality.
    Mr. Zaitchik interviews a number of people who worked with Beck as he rose through the media ranks. Some have positive things to say about him; others have less than positive memories of him.
    Readers will discover, for instance, Glenn Beck sported a pony-tail during his Top 40 radio days, dressed as a banana for a publicity stunt, and loved to snort cocaine.
    Anyone who is interested in learning more about Glenn Beck will find this book illuminating.

    2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2013

    Horrible book

    I onkygave this one star because you cant go any lower, this was horrible dont waste your time or money.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2010

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    Posted January 18, 2011

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