I’ve often speculated that people such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh do not really believe most of the things they say but see their act as a way to make a lot of money. A profile of Glenn Beck in Forbes suggests he says all those crazy things primarily for the money:
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.
Others also see Beck as more a performer than as someone saying what he believes:
“I don’t necessarily believe that [what Beck says] is reflective of his own personal politics–I don’t even know if he has personal politics,” says Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers, a trade magazine devoted to talk radio. “I see him as a performer.”
Think Progress points out other examples suggesting that it might be an act:
In February he told USA Weekend that “you’d have to be an idiot” to “not notice the temperature change” caused by global warming, and that he thinks mankind may play a significant role in the phenomenon. Beck has previously described himself as “a rodeo clown” and conceded, “If you take what I say as gospel, you’re an idiot.”
If it really is the case that Back does not believe what he says, and that he doesn’t “give a flying crap” about politics, he is getting a large number of people out protesting on false pretenses. It might not be Beck who is the crazy one, but al those people who listen to him. We’ve already known that the right wing protesters are often basing their protests on false information. I’m not sure if it makes it better or worse to find out that one of the prime sources of their misinformation is intentionally playing games with them.