Instant Judgement: Glenn Beck May (Not) Be Funny, But He’s Definitely Not News

By Brian 

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This evening’s shift from news on Headline News at 6:59 p.m. to variety show on Headline News at 7 p.m. was jolting. At least Showbiz Tonight treated entertainment like news. At least Nancy Grace pretends that missing persons are news. “Glenn Beck” is not news by any stretch of the imagination.

In fact, it mocks the news. Have you seen those ridiculous red banners that shout “BREAKING NEWS” during Nancy Grace? Near the end of Glenn Beck, they said “IRRELEVANT” as Beck made a joke. It was a label, but I think it was also a not-so-subtle dig at Grace and her counterparts. Beck also laughed at the irrepressible ticker and made a snarky remark about Bill O’Reilly. And don’t forget about his parody of The Situation Room and all the other cable shows that use lots of boxes on-screen.

Beck told viewers that “we’re going to actually tackle subjects… that have relevance to your life.” Apparently that means fast food, because he said it before interviewing Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser.

Perhaps the most telling example of Beck’s contempt for the rest of CNN came at the top of the show, when the lower-third said it so well: “CIA = TV + AMBIEN.”

“Maybe it’s just me, but I could really care less about the stupid CIA story,” Beck said. He said all the other cable news shows were busy talking about whether a general should take charge in Langley. “I’m really more concerned tonight about IMF — the Impossible Mission Force — that’s the super secret agency Tom Cruise works for in Mission: Impossible III.”

Beck then proceeded to laugh at Cruise’s embarrassing escapades in a segment that could have been taped weeks ago.

Don’t get me wrong. I “get” the show. It’s supposed to be irreverent, fun, a twist on the news. But it doesn’t belong on CNN Headline News. I bet Glenn Beck is a lot of fun in person. But it just doesn’t translate on TV. And it’s definitely not news.