Tears of a Clown by Dana Milbank
Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America

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Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank takes a fair and balanced look at the unsettling rise of the silly Fox News host Glenn Beck.

Thomas Jefferson famously wrote that “the tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” In America in 2010, Glenn Beck provides the very refreshment Jefferson had in mind: Whether he’s the patriot or the tyrant, he’s definitely full of manure.

The wildly popular Fox News host with three million daily viewers perfectly captures the vitriol of our time and the fact-free state of our political culture. The secret to his success is his willingness to traffic in the fringe conspiracies and Internet hearsay that others wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole: death panels, government health insurance for dogs, FEMA concen­tration camps, an Obama security force like Hitler’s SS.

But Beck, who is, according to a recent Gallup poll, admired by more Americans than the Pope, has nothing in his background that identifies him as an ideologue, giving rise to the speculation that his right-wing shtick is just that—the act of a brilliant showman, known for both his over-the-top daily out­rages and for weeping on the air.

Milbank describes, with lacerating wit, just how the former shock jock without a college degree has managed to become the most recognizable leader of antigovernment conservatives and exposes him as the guy who is single-handedly giving patri­otism a bad name.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Dana Milbank

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Dana Milbank is a staff political writer for the Style section of the Washington Post, for which he covers the presidential campaign. He appears regularly as a guest commentator on Andrea Mitchell's show on MSNBC and other programs. He was previously senior editor at The New Republic, where he was the magazine's White House correspondent, and before that a staff writer at the Wall Street Journal. A graduate of Yale University, Milbank lives in Washington, D.C.
Published October 5, 2010 by Doubleday. 274 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Tears of a Clown

Christian Science Monitor

The author stops short of blaming Beck for the deaths, writing, “But the episode does show how Beck’s words are inspiring the fringe....” Beck himself sometimes cautions his fans not to do anything rash, presumably like pouring gasoline on someone.

Oct 07 2010 | Read Full Review of Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck ...

Ford Literary Blog

[...] Follow this Book Review: Ford Library Blog » Blog Archive » Book Review: Tears of a Clown [...].

Aug 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck ...

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