The fine line between talk show host, newsman, media commentator, pop culture icon and spiritual leader has rarely become more cluttered than during the performance of Glenn Beck at the Washington, D.C. “Restoring Honor” event.
“Something beyond imagination is happening,” Beck told the audience at the National Mall in Washington. “America today begins to turn back to God. For too long, this country has wandered in darkness.”
While many journalists and cultural commentators are making a story out of the timing of the event–it fell on the same day as a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.–I think they’re missing a more relevant story as it pertains to faith, inspiration and our pop culture.
Beck sounded Oral Roberts-esque as he proclaimed “God dropped a giant sandbag on his head.” He sounded Jesse Zig Ziglar-esque when exhoring the crowd to “Look forward. Look West. Look to the heavens. Look to God and make your choice. Do we no longer believe in the power of the individual? Do we no longer believe in dreams?”
Moving on, he sounded Jesse Jackson-esque in this part of his speech: “Whites don’t own Abraham Lincoln. Blacks don’t own Martin Luther King. Those are American icons, American ideas, and we should just talk about character, and that’s really what this event is about. It’s about honoring character.”
And all this from a “news” man on Fox? And, further, an author and no doubt tomorrow’s tabloid sensation…especially when he stubs his toe.
Could you imagine Walter Cronkite leading a rally such as this? Ted Koppel proclaiming spiritual truth as if it was the news of the day? Tom Brokaw “reporting” on the state of our nation by making the news and reporting on it at the same time?
I do not see how our nation will ever “come together” as long as those who say they’re calling us together have clear biases, those who say they’re “fair and balanced’ are really from a particular perspective and those who say they’re neutral aren’t so neutral leaving American Andy and Alice with a void of authentic sources for news and commentary. When those who’re doing the “commentating” are really promoting themselves as stars on the rise, we really have lost our cultural footing.
I’ll be curious to see what’s next. I hope it’s for good.