I dare the press to keep calling Beck a "populist"

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

In the light of yesterday's Big Business spectacle, in which "populist" Glenn Beck urged his listeners to send cash to the supposedly beleaguered U.S. Chamber of Commerce (what's next, on-air pledges for Pfizer and PepsiCo?), it really is imperative that the Beltway press end its lazy habit of calling Beck a "populist," unless they're being sarcastic, since Beck is quite clearly the opposite of a "populist."

A reminder for all [emphasis added]:

"Populism": A political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against the privileged elite.

Multi-millionaire Beck (along with Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc.) literally worships at the altar of Big Business and looks to corporate America for inspiration for all that is true and righteous.

Plus, you'll recall that in 2008, Beck favored the federal government's unprecedented decision, under President Bush, to bail out failed Wall Street fat cats l(i.e. "I think the bailout is the right thing do"). In fact, in 2008, Beck stressed the government's $700 billion handout to bankers wasn't enough and that more taxpayer money needed to thrown Wall Street's way. That, in and of itself, ought to disqualify any journalist from ever describing Beck as a "populist."

But Thursday's stunt, in which Beck went from urging that taxes be spent to help out bail out Big Business for its poor judgement, to where he urged taxpayers to directly pledge their support by writing checks to the Chamber of Commerce, that really sealed the deal.

As I noted last year, when the press started misusing the (mostly) friendly "populist" term to describe the right-wing media's unhinged opposition to Obama:

[S]ince when do so-called populists claim the president's a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred of white people," and who wants to put a spike in the heads of babies? Since when do populists call for a military coup to overthrow the White House, constantly compare the president to a Nazi, denounce him as a "small, petty and spoiled man," and pull their kids out of school in order to make sure they're not "indoctrinated" by the president?

Hating the President of the United States does not make you a "populist." And you know what, urging your listeners to donate their earnings and saving to corporate interests does not make you a populist.

The press has been leaning on the "populist" crutch for way too long with regards to Beck and it has always been annoying. Now, in light of his Chamber of Commerce shilling, any further attempt to label him a "populist" would be downright comical.

Glenn Beck
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.