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Which is why, despite the many high profile rallies and events at which Beck was either the headliner or in some other significant way involved, his Restoring Honor gig has to be seen as his true coming out party. It's obvious that the addiction to adulation is a significant passageway in the maze of conflicting issues -- for example, the idea of a Mormon deigning to lead a vast brigade consisting largely of Christian nationalists -- which must be navigated to finally reach the unadulterated core of Glenn Beck. If so, the sheer numbers of people who showed up -- crowd estimates ranged from a seemingly low 87,000 to Beck's own estimate of 500,000 -- is sufficient to provide Beck a major adulatory rush. But like all addicts, that rush is only a temporary fix. Knowing this provides encouragement to anyone who has predicted that Beck's head will one day explode in a Howard Beale-like meltdown, to just sit back and wait for signs of the inevitable. As it turned out, Beck compulsions prevented him from waiting for his cue. The first discordant note in that familiar chorus of narcissistic behaviors often exhibited by those sucked into the mythology of their own deceitfully contrived imagery was in fact, delivered before the rally even had a chance to conclude.

"I went to the National Archives," claimed Beck at one point, "and I held the first inaugural address written in his own hand by George Washington."

As many now know, that claim by Beck is as authentic as O'Reilly's earth-shattering brain-fart about winning a Peabody Award or Fox News Channel's annoyingly diffident "fair and balanced" swagger. As it turns out, Beck did in fact, manage to access a tour of the Archives during which he was able to view the artifact. But it's been well-reported that Archive policy prohibits public handling of historical documents including Washington's Inaugural Address, a policy that was not waived on Beck's behalf.

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Tear-jerk conservative - I do whatever the little voices tell me to do

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Just what, one might ask, would drive such a demonstratively pious provocateur of "restoring honor" to spit out such a bald-faced lie before thousands of presumably Internet-savvy disciples? But it wouldn't take long to figure out that the answer most likely relates to Beck's exploitation of what is perhaps the first principle in any book of rules for anybody wishing to finesse the sale of anything; to understand the nature of your followers. Beck is not only mindful of his disciples' dim awareness of the fact that truth is not a word to be viewed as an automatic synonym for fact, but is himself astutely aware of their willingness to subjugate their own independent thought. He is beguilingly savvy to their eagerness to accept the statements of their saviors as unquestionably true and therefore factual regardless of what might be later uncovered on the Web. But in this case, what really spiked the numbers on the Bald-Face-Lie-o-Meter's reading of Beck's doozy was that it came in conjunction with his incessant urging -- on the same platform --to politicians to "just tell the truth."

Beck's "look-you-dead-in-your-eyes" audaciousness of his claim indicates that if perception truly is reality, then it is not just Beck's followers who are in need of a perception overhaul. The delusional fraudulence that steeps Beck's concept of who he is -- which feeds his preoccupation with engendering a sanctified view of his role in delivering America from its enemies within -- would indicate that in his mind, any statement Beck makes, including the obvious lies, have their origin in God's honest truth. After all, it was Beck himself who tearfully fretted: "I'm turning into a freakin' televangelist" during a fit of pathos-saturated histrionics on his television show a while back.

Going for the gold

The $2 million that Fox News Channel paid Beck to host his television show provided a relatively insignificant supplement to the reported $32 million he earned in total last year. His five year, $50 million contract for his radio show, for example, garnered Beck an additional $10 million last year. The rest was generated via publishing deals ($13 million); web-based ventures ($4 million); and tours and speaking engagements ($3 million). His annual salary for his radio program roughly mirrors his ratings numbers within that segment of the media. At roughly 9 million listeners per week, Beck's radio show currently holds steady as the third highest rated talk show in America; only Rush's (15 million weekly) and Hannity's (14 million weekly) radio shows' ratings are higher.

But the ratings for Beck's Fox News Channel television program have roller-coastered dramatically since it began airing in early 2009. In late January of this year, Beck's show averaged about 3 million viewers daily. By February's end, that number dropped to roughly 2.6 million viewers per night. However, on March 9, his show reached its ratings zenith when 3.4 million viewers tuned in to watch Beck's awkward interview of former Democratic New York Congressman Ed Massa. The interview turned out so remarkably pointless that toward its conclusion Beck was forced to acknowledge that he'd "wasted of an hour of your time."

Apparently, about one third of Beck's television audience agreed as reflected within days of the Massa interview by an overall a drop by that percentage in his show's viewer average. A show that aired on April 22 drew 1.8 million viewers, which had been the lowest for this year until a June 18 telecast which drew 1.39 million. However, as of early September, Beck's post-rally viewer averages had bounced back over the 2 million mark.

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Yet, should Beck's television show undergo a sustained period of ratings decline, even to levels below his dreadful March through June numbers, it's unlikely -- at least in the near-term -- that the show would be cancelled by Fox. On the strength of the numbers he drew to his August rally, Fox is probably aware that at this point, Beck's overall popularity with the type of person who fits the profile of your average Fox viewer may not be accurately reflected by his television show's ratings. Fox is perhaps mindful of the potential for some form of viewer backlash -- which could impact other Fox opinion shows -- resulting from a cancellation of Beck's show. Therefore, it's probably not too far off-base to surmise that shoring up Beck's television ratings could be one of the factors behind the network's de facto sponsorship of the Restoring Honor rally.

Meanwhile, Beck's March through June ratings decline had been preceded by an exodus of about 100 major advertisers on the heels of his characterization of President Obama as "racist" and the Van Jones controversy. Included among these sponsors are: General Mills; Proctor and Gamble; AT&T; Radio Shack; Sprint; Wal-Mart and Geico.

But there is one sponsor Beck probably wouldn't want to lose. Goldline International, a sponsor of Beck's radio program, an advertiser on his television show, and a company from which Beck receives financial compensation, is as its name implies, a marketer of precious metals including gold -- a crucial commodity essential for surviving the social calamity Beck claims is now bearing down on America.

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Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a free-lance writer who leans toward the progressive end of the political spectrum. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to (more...)

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