The Demise of Glenn Beck

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Hey, whatever happened to Glenn Beck? Didn’t he hold a rally in Israel recently? How come I didn’t hear anything about that? The answer comes from Glenn Beck himself: “I don’t believe Fox was there,” he said on his radio show.

Imagine that! No Fox, no coverage. Paul Waldman draws a broader conclusion:

What this illustrates is the continuing power of TV, not so much as a medium of persuasion but as a medium of status conferral….That’s because even if they aren’t actually watching it, being on television signals to those people that you’re a member of the most elite club, and you can’t be ignored. That’s true despite the fact that cable audiences are tiny — Beck himself always reached many more people on the radio than he did on television, even when his TV show was at its apex. But now, no matter how many fans he retains, he isn’t on TV so he might as well not exist.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? Good question. Now try this one: If a ranting lunatic doesn’t have a show on Fox, does anyone know he exists? Apparently not. For some reason, we have bestowed this power to define who matters and who doesn’t on Roger Ailes and Fox News. Why?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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