[This story was originally published as the cover story in the October 3rd issue of Human Events newspaper.]
“When I first announced I was leaving Fox, I said be careful what you wish for, because you will pray for the day I was on only for an hour. Now it’s two hours, and we are going to be very active.”
There you have it: Glenn Beck’s pledge to the virulent leftists who gave themselves public self-congratulatory pats on the back after Beck announced he was leaving his very popular Fox News program to start up his own network. While the George Soros lackeys saw the departure as a great victory for them, (the lowlifes at Media Matters for America even threw a party, for Pete’s sake), Beck saw the move as something entirely different: An opportunity to build a growing army of well-informed viewers who are passionate about the foundation undergirding American exceptionalism and ready to mobilize to influence the trajectory of the country.
“There are no slugs here,” said Beck, referring to his new audience. “GBTV is not a noun, it’s a verb. You want to change things, come here. We’ll refuel you, tighten the lug nuts, and get you out of the pit.”
GBTV, of course, is the name of Beck’s venture. I say “of course” because, by now, it’s likely that you’ve seen an advertisement for it on the Fox News Channel, nearly every conservative publication and website, and probably this New Yorker’s favorite ad buy, the GBTV announcement that is atop a gigantic billboard in the heart of Times Square. That’s 12 stories of Beck, with the jumbo words reading: “If I had a dollar for every person who bad-mouthed me, I’d have enough money to launch a network.”
Think of all the smug, Starbucks-worshiping Manhattan statists who had to see Beck’s giant mug every day on the way to and from work. Awesome.
“The Left loves it. That’s really the only thing I like about it: It drives them out of their minds,” smiled Beck.
In an exclusive interview, HUMAN EVENTS spent part of a recent day with the media mogul on the set of GBTV. It was launch week. From the sheer scope of GBTV’s production and manpower, you’d never know the broadcast is for Internet subscribers only. The set has all the trappings of a cable news show because, as Beck stressed, “This is not Internet TV, this happens to be TV on the Internet.” Look forward to “exactly the same kind of quality that you would expect from any network.”
Viewers can also expect a chalkboard. I mean, what would a Glenn Beck show be without a chalkboard, right? But the chalkboard he’s sporting on this set is no ordinary one. It’s three-sided, rotates, and has to be locked into place electronically because, while it’s shaped like a triangle, it opens up into three flat pieces. That way, Professor Glenn has the ability to write one long, complex math algorithm (or a portion of ObamaCare) if he so chooses. “I’m keeping the chalk industry of the planet alive, I think,” which isn’t really much of an embellishment. Turns out that the company charged with its construction called the chalkboard one of, if not the, most expensive in the world.
Bottom line: You can’t buy it on Amazon.
Yet Prof. Glenn won’t be using that tricked-out gadget for Pre-Cal. He’ll do what he does best: Expose the history of “progressives” and delve deep into the ongoing public-policy skirmishes of the day. To help him with this educational task, Beck has equipped the set of GBTV with a “history-repeats-itself corner.”
As Beck explains it:
These are all televisions from the different decades, since the beginning of television. Here you see Mussolini [and] Carter. You see all the different decades. The point of this is, history repeats itself. So if we’re talking about war, and I want to say, “This has happened in every decade.” We can [also show] Presidents addressing Social Security, all the way from the beginning.
Thus far, GBTV has attracted an impressive number of subscribers, even though it just got off the ground. The total now is 230,000. That’s far less than the 2 million-plus who watched him on Fox each night, but it’s 50% higher than those tuned into Oprah’s network, even though OWN got a 9-month head start. “GBTV is on track to take in more than $20 million in revenue in its debut year” alone, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Besides the man himself, GBTV will feature conservative author S.E. Cupp, former CNN contributor Amy Holmes, reporter Raj Nair and comedian Brian Sack. GBTV is not Beck’s only new endeavor, however. He’s started a news enterprise in The Blaze website and recently created a publishing imprint called Mercury Ink.
Beck’s a businessman.
The company that oversees all of his operations is Mercury Radio Arts, which raked in $40 million in the 12 months prior to GBTV, a source close to the operation told HUMAN EVENTS. Beck said that four years ago he employed around six people, but now that number has shot up to more than 100. “I’ve created a few jobs during his administration,” he jabbed. The New York location for GBTV is actually temporary. While Mercury Radio Arts will remain headquarter in the Big Apple, Beck’s team is in the process of building what they’re calling “an entertainment and education complex” in Texas that will be able to host an audience of up to 1,700 people. The television and radio shows will be produced from there.
So how have Obama’s policies affected him as an entrepreneur?
“The uncertainty,” Beck explained. “If you want to fix the economy,” he said, “stop screwing around with it. Stop trying to change everything,” adding that “if I can’t predict what the government is going to do six months from now, I can’t invest.”
“I’ll risk every dime I have this year, to put [GBTV] on the air and to create these jobs because I believe in it. My hesitation is not in me, not in my team. My team can do almost damn near anything. My hesitation is: What is this administration going to do? What is Congress going to do?”
Speaking of Congress, the former CNN and Fox host doesn’t care for either Democrats or Republicans on Capitol Hill. “The Democrats don’t mean anything anymore except socialism. They have been hijacked and taken.” And the Republican leadership, well, “I don’t think the grading system goes that low.” Beck maintains that Republicans will go the way of the “Whigs” if they don’t stop playing political games of posturing in Washington rather than strictly abiding by the Constitution.
And that’s what makes him tick. He’s all about the Constitution. But how does he explain the principles rooted in the nation’s governing charter in contemporary terms? After all, the political class doesn’t really give a rip, and academia has pretty much purged American history from the curriculum.
Beck starts off his answer with one word: “YouTube.”
Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were the Bill Gates of their time, he said. “They understood that the closer you get the power to people, the more effective [those people] can be. The more tools you can enable the people to act on and let them maneuver, the freer and the better society is.”
The Internet has nearly put newspapers out of business, he says, because of the ninja-like speed with which information travels, in addition to that information’s widespread availability. It busted up the leftist media monopoly. “That’s what real freedom is all about. That’s what our Founders were all about. It’s not about bloated anything in Washington, it’s about empowering you to set your course.” What the message boils down to is relaying conservative ideas in contemporary vernacular—the marvelous technology of the 21st Century.
Thank you, capitalism!
While Beck says that Van Jones hasn’t yet signed up for GBTV, he hopes he does. Indeed, Van Jones can enjoy a premium subscription like everyone else for $9.95 a month.
“I love the fact that all of my detractors, if they want to say something bad about me, they actually have to pay for the privilege to hear it.”
Editor’s note: Don’t forget to watch part one of the interview here.