Glenn Beck Inc., “I could give a flying **** about the political process … We’re an entertainment company.”Posted on May 03, 2010 in Political Issues
See also: Glenn Beck Makes $32 Million a Year Being a Corporate Mockingbird – Hayden’s Note attached
Five and a half hours before showtime Glenn Beck still isn’t quite sure how he’ll provide tonight’s entertainment, “The Future of History”–two hours of monologue (and answers to preselected questions) before a nearly sellout crowd of 1,000 or so people at the Nokia Theatre in New York City’s Times Square. “But that’s me–I’m the next-event guy,” says Beck, flanked by two bodyguards as he walks the four blocks between the Fox News Channel studio, where he has pretaped the day’s show, and the theater. He won’t have to create tonight’s performance from scratch, since he’s left a long trail of words–millions of passionate, angry, weepy, moralizing, corny, offensive words–in his wake. “The body of work is pretty much the same,” explains Beck, 46. “What I’m trying to do is get this message out about self-empowerment, entrepreneurial spirit and true Americanism–the way we were when we changed the world, when Edison was alone, failing his 2,000th time on the lightbulb.” (Hayden’s Note: After stealing Tesla’s work? You mean THAT entrepreneurial spirit?)
At the theater he runs through images that will appear on one of three projectors behind him. There’s David Sarnoff (the NBC founder), Philo Farnsworth (the early television pioneer) and someone Beck can’t quite place but, he assures the handful of staffers dancing around him, will remember by the time the curtain goes up. Onstage, Beck paces like a comic Hamlet, eyes bulging every time he figures out how to weave the props (stalks of corn, a chalkboard, a cockatoo he rented for $750 a night) he has ordered into the monologue.
He could rattle off the overarching themes in a deep sleep. He starts with the construction of the Manhattan skyline, using replicas of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building as visual aids. Then he moves on to the birth of radio and TV. Theme: thinking big, creating the American dream. He will work in several plugs for tonight’s featured offering, a Web subscription service called Insider Extreme ($75 a year for behind-the-scenes footage, a fourth hour of his radio show, ten-minute history lessons and so on). “I can multitask like crazy,” says Beck. “I’m riddled with ADD–a blessing and a curse.”
His hyperactivity is a blessing and a curse for his 34 full-time staffers, too, who chase after Beck and his volcanic mental eruptions, helping him turn those words into new productions and sources of profit. Glenn Beck Inc., formally known as Mercury Radio Arts (after Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre on the Air), pulled in $32 million in revenue during the 12 months ended Mar. 1. You may love or hate him for his outlandish words, but that is how he gets an audience–and sometimes repels advertisers. Some classic Beckisms: “This President, I think, has exposed himself as a guy over and over and over again who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture” (2009). “Al Gore’s not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization” (2007). “I’m thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I’m wondering if I could kill him myself or if I would need to hire somebody to do it” (2005).
With a deadpan, Beck insists that he is not political: “I could give a flying crap about the political process.” Making money, on the other hand, is to be taken very seriously, and controversy is its own coinage. “We’re an entertainment company,” Beck says. He has managed to monetize virtually everything that comes out of his mouth. He gets $13 million a year from print (books plus the ten-issue-a-year magazine Fusion). Radio brings in $10 million. Digital (including a newsletter, the ad-supported Glennbeck.com and merchandise) pulls in $4 million. Speaking and events are good for $3 million and television for $2 million. Over several days in mid-March Beck allowed a reporter to follow him through his multimedia incarnations, with one exception, his 5 p.m. daily show on Fox News, which attracts just under 3 million viewers.
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