While I kissed my daughter goodbye on a dark, cold desert night in southern California, my only thought was to make it a memorable one for it may be the last. I was whisked off to gather foreign sand in my boots with a hundred or so of my closest brothers in defense of Country and Corps against a new and terrible enemy. Some of us knew a thing that could not be said. Sedition is a crime that could ruin a short tour of duty just as well as a long career in the Marines, yet it was hard not to think critically of the design of the war when all of the highlighted map points corresponded with each and every oil field. The only weapon of mass destruction we knew we would find was the most devastating and destructive of all: U.N. sanctions.
With guns at the ready, we toured the dilapidated country, secured the oil fields and the lavish government palaces. Convinced that we were doing freedoms work, mostly in order to avoid the insanity of doublethink, we took solace in the hopes that our advocates at home guarded the freedoms we gave and used them for good purpose. I, for one, held closely the ideal that a great institution of our democracy would headline the horrible truths as they did in Vietnam and I kept faith that under their watch, similar misleadings that lead us there had not been resurrected to lead us here. I was wrong. The year was 2003, and the media, with few exceptions, was asleep at the switch. Or maybe, like Chris Matthews, their heads occupied unspeakable places behind White House suit pants.
I hold the Fourth Estate in the highest regard for this reason; an informed public is the truest representation of freedom. Corporate journalism is a farce and a failure. The fusion of enlightenment and entertainment is a corrupt joke. Today, the strength of public knowledge is co-dependent on advertising revenues and corporate sales. Newspaper editors and journalists are forced to play a dangerous game with their own ethics and responsibilities in order to keep their jobs, but it is America that is losing. It is the unsustainable profit margin that is a personal insult to anyone who still looks at his or her voter registration card or hometown news rag with pride.
Politicians lie. Corporations steal. Corporations pay politicians to lie better so that they can steal more. Democrat, Republican, or Independent; it doesn’t matter the brand of the liar or the thief, only the lies they tell and the things they take. Weary reporters eking out a meager living still serving the people risk their livelihood to bring these stories into light. The old adage, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” applies to the system, not just those in office. So, when you hear the rants to “fire Congress” or “throw the bums out” know that the next pariah we vote in will have money thrown at him until he breaks. Everyone breaks. Money-boarding is the popular conversion method Corporate America uses to gain its power in our country, and it’s just as effective as the torture with water.
Like with the derivatives market, Corporate America got smart. They got the idea that politicians weren’t the only investment where decent returns could be found. They took to the corruption of our newsroom and anchor desk, defiling our public voice as easily as they had taken control of our ‘We the People’ government. News became profitable and profitable news became business as usual.
Enter Glenn Beck and the Golden Age of the Media.
When I first met Glenn, I dismissed him as just the ideological opposite of the very same brand of idiot he contends to argue with, but I soon realized that this nonsense-peddling pundit was a true deceiver. I was willing to die on a distant battlefield for the preservation of the freedoms of my fellow Americans, so when this gifted entertainer decides to willfully lie to them and intentionally mislead them under the guise of journalism and education, I get more than a little miffed. Those two of our most important tools of democracy and they should not be for sale.
Glenn is putting out a new book soon and it will no doubt sag the shelves with distorted rewrites of history and even crazier anecdotes. Interestingly, the Glenn Beck of print appears rational and even sane at times. Thoughtful and well-spoken in the presentation of his “arguments”, the readable Beck is almost nothing like the stark-raving lunatic trapped in that box in your living room. But then so was Ernest Hemingway.
In celebration of his new literary endeavor, I will take a closer look at his lackluster blockbuster from last year, Arguing with Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government. One chapter at a time, this will be a serious, and not so serious critique. I will use the same sources and research methods employed by Glenn’s cadre of writers. I will also use credible sources outside of the Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute. I will venture into this, and those of you who will stand in the funhouse mirrors between these pages with me, as the idiot of the argument. Together, Glenn and I will argue, we will agree, we will cry, we will be just guys who….love their country.
The fundamental difference between myself, Glenn Beck, and Ernest Hemingway will show throughout these articles. I want you to know the truth behind the lies that Beck tells you. He is in this for money and only money; he cares nothing for your politics or your freedoms. As for Ernest Hemingway, well….I actually like Ernest Hemingway.