There’s really no other way to describe Time Magazine’s cover story on Glenn Beck than just awful. The writing itself is horrendous, as is the quality of the reporting. For example of the former, see this paragraph:
Our hot summer of political combat is turning toward an autumn of showdowns over some of the biggest public-policy initiatives in decades. The creamy notions of postpartisan cooperation — poured abundantly over Obama’s presidential campaign a year ago — have curdled into suspicion and feelings of helplessness. Trust is a toxic asset, sitting valueless on the national books. Good faith is trading at pennies on the dollar. The old American mind-set that Richard Hofstadter famously called “the paranoid style” — the sense that Masons or the railroads or the Pope or the guys in black helicopters are in league to destroy the country — is aflame again, fanned from both right and left. Between the liberal fantasies about Brownshirts at town halls and the conservative concoctions of brainwashed children goose-stepping to school, you’d think the Palm in Washington had been replaced with a Munich beer hall.
I respect the right of Time’s copy editors to unionize but this wildcat strike (only explanation for the Beck story) is poorly timed.
Indeed, that would be a charitable explanation for this drivel – the editors are on strike.
But throughout the piece, written by David Von Drehle, there is a supreme unwillingness to challenge Glenn Beck, teabag conspiracy theories, or basic lies told in the Beck narrative. Jay Rosen points out this begins in the first paragraph, as Von Drehle does a “he said, she said, who can know?” citation of the crowds of the 9/12 protest in DC. While Von Drehle presents Beck as a cultural curiosity who’s getting rich while harnessing outrage that he is fueling, there is no accountability for the Beck’s fundamentally dangerous line of work. There is no adjudication of, to use the paragraph quoted above, the fact that while there are teabaggers shouting so loud congressional town hall discussions are being shut down and some of those teabaggers are bringing fire arms to town halls, there is no plan to create a civilian military corps subservient to Obama. That is, as is so often the case with Beltway journalism, one side makes a valid claim, the other makes shit up, and Von Drehle is helpless to say who is right.
Time should be embarrassed publishing this crap, but my guess is they’ll take the extra sales from Beck sycophants and call it a day.