Voice Expert: Anyone Can Be a Great Singer or Speaker

Roger Love, one of the world's leading authorities on voice, joined The Glenn Beck Program on Monday to talk about his fascinating career coaching singers, actors and executives --- and turning them into great singers and public speakers. His new book Set Your Voice Free: How to Get the Singing or Speaking Voice You Want, distills the best of his teachings and exercises, used successfully for over 15 years.

"What I realized after about 17 years of just working with famous singers was that there was no difference between singing and speaking, and that I could take someone's speaking voice and add a musicality to it and have it sound incredible," Love said.

The goal is to move people emotionally with your voice --- and no one is better equipped to teach that than Roger Love.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

GLENN: Welcome to the program, Roger Love. Author of the new book Set Your Voice Free. Roger, are you there?

ROGER: I am here, and happy to be here.

GLENN: Will you do me a favor and just tell me quickly the story -- I think it's of Walk the Line, where the two actors, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon were really having a hard time and there were six weeks left, and they walked into your office. Can you talk about that at all?

ROGER: Absolutely. The story starts with neither of them knowing when they accepted the roles to star in Walk the Line, to play Johnny Cash and to play June Carter Cash, that they were actually going to have to sing, because neither of them think of themselves at that point in time as singers.

So I get the call from Reese. And the two of them have to record about 30 some odd parts of songs. And so I start working every day. And trying to make Joaquin sing like the iconic Johnny Cash is no easy feet.

GLENN: Right.

ROGER: But thank gosh he is an amazing actor. And the discipline that both of them had to go from working with me and starting as not really singers to doing an incredible job in the film, I look at that as being one of the greatest collaborations in my life, something that I'm very, very proud of. Because the result was that she won an Academy Award for a singing role. And he won multiple awards for a singing role. And where we started three or four weeks ago was not very much great singing.

GLENN: Seriously, it was three weeks working with you?

ROGER: Three weeks. About every day for a few hours.

GLENN: Holy cow.

ROGER: Believe me, I wish some of these pictures that I do like Crazy Hard -- I wish they would give me more time, but quite often, I'm thrown in at the last minute to say, "Hey, Rodge, can you make this person who is not really a singer sound incredible?"

GLENN: So let me ask you this question: Over the weekend, I sat down with one of my daughters, and I said, "Let's draw mountains together. Let's just draw, you know, some things. Let me show you a picture."

And she said, "Dad, I don't have any talent at all."

And I said, "Yeah, you can draw."

And she said, "No, I can't. The gene didn't pass to me."

And I said, "Yes, it did. We're not talking about genes. Just paint what you see." Or, "Just draw what you see."

So she drew. And it was very simple mountains. And it looked like a kid's drawing.

Then I went back and I said, "Honey, just draw with me now. See this part over here? See, it looks like this. And here's how you can do it."

Her painting or her, you know, oil thing.

ROGER: Masterpiece.

GLENN: Yeah, masterpiece. It went from third grade to 12th grade, just by seeing the technique. And I contend that 80 percent of, you know, an artist is just learning how to do it. That 20 percent is what makes you a star.

But everybody can pretty much do what they don't think they can do. Is it the same with singing or not?

ROGER: Yes. We think that we are born with a particular voice. Singing, speaking. All of a sudden if we're singing happy birthday and we sound better than everybody else and we get the first piece of cake, we think we're born with talent. Or if we have this nasal voice or really soft or aggravated, some kind of a weird voice, we think we're stuck with it because that's the sound that is coming out of the mouth. But I've spent my life showing people how simple it is to take what you like about your voice and what you don't like about your voice and add a little bit of technique and then sound like however you want.

So even a singer who is born with an amazing ability that Mother Nature gave them, if they don't work on their voice -- if they don't decide, "I want to sing. I love to sing," then they never become great.

And those people that were maybe born with a little less from Mother Nature, if they work a little harder and have that technique, they can ofttimes end up sounding better than the people that were born with a gift.

GLENN: Okay. So let me take it one more step. We were talking about millennials and how nobody is learning how to talk to each other.

ROGER: Right.

GLENN: Everything is virtual. Certainly, nobody is learning how to stand up in front of a crowd and speak.

Your book talks about that as well. What's the difference?

ROGER: The difference is -- and this is crazy. Can you imagine in the world that we're living right now that the number one fear in America is still speaking in public?

What an amazing world we must live in, if everyone is the most worried about speaking in public.

And what I realized after about 17 years of just working with famous singers was that there was no difference between singing and speaking, and that I could take someone's speaking voice and add a musicality to it and have it sound incredible.

And those sounds would move people emotionally when they heard someone speak. And once -- once you have those kinds of sounds come out of your mouth and you realize you have influence over people, that when you open your mouth, it's like you're singing someone's favorite song and all you're doing is speaking. You lose a lot of stage fright. You lose a lot of fear of speaking in public.

GLENN: You start to like it.

SIMON: Because you end up liking the sound of your own voice and you can't wait to show it off.

GLENN: I know that my son had to speak in church, so I worked with him on his talk. And I had him go find a joke that he wanted to tell at the beginning. You know, some sort of deal. And I worked with him on the joke. We practiced and practiced and practiced. And I knew, the minute he got that instant reaction that was positive back -- if he could just do that one thing right and really pull that off, he would like to speak.

He is terrified of speaking. Now, I could put him anywhere, and he would get up and start talking.

ROGER: So I love that story. If I go to a restaurant or you go to a restaurant and you don't think you're funny and you tell a joke and everyone laughs, then the next time you're having dinner the following week at a restaurant, maybe you'll bring out that same joke, maybe another one.

And if they laugh, by the next time you're at a restaurant, you think that you're the funniest person at the table, so you can't wait to be funny because you see how people react to you. And that's what I help people do just with speaking, to create sounds that people react to positively so that you can't wait to communicate, whether you're speaking to one person or whether you're speaking to 1,000 people.

GLENN: Okay. I have to be honest with the audience: The reason why Roger is on is because I believe in his work so much because I am a client of Roger's. He has brought me to a place to where, you know, I was in -- what the doctors would say is full vocal cord paralysis. And he has brought me out of that and helped me retain my voice. You have brought me from not being able to say a word, to being able to speak with my regular voice within 20 minutes.

And everybody I tell say, "That's not possible."

ROGER: Well, that is a joy that I could be a part of that and be a part of your family. So thank you for that opportunity.

The thing is that for years, I've been saying that the sounds you make are either making you healthy and happy, or they're making you unhealthy and unhappy.

GLENN: So how do you teach this in a book, Roger?

ROGER: Because it's not just a book. It's a book that goes along with a website that has 75 audio samples. And everything that I talk about in the book, you -- you also have me making the sounds, and then you're singing along with me and speaking along with me.

GLENN: So what you did for me -- and you made those little tapes for me, you've just used me as a guinea pig for your book.

(chuckling)

GLENN: So it's basically the same thing that you've done for me.

ROGER: Exactly right. The same thing that I've done for you and for singers like --

GLENN: Elton John.

ROGER: -- John Mayer and Selena Gomez this past year. And any -- and speakers like Anthony Robbins and Suze Orman, anyone that is having an issue with their voice and that I've realized that I could help them with a little bit technique that would make their voice healthy and then make it a lot more fun to use and a lot more fun to listen to.

GLENN: Okay. So I tried to explain what you do to a friend of mine who came up for Christmas. His name is David Osmond. I'm sure you recognize the name.

ROGER: Absolutely.

GLENN: Is David on the phone? Is David on the phone?

DAVID: Can you hear me?

GLENN: Yeah, David. Are you there?

DAVID: I'm here. Can you hear me?

GLENN: Yeah, can. David, meet Roger. Roger, meet David.

ROGER: Good morning, David.

DAVID: The man, the legend, the myth, Roger. What's up, buddy?

GLENN: So I asked David to come on because I could not explain to him what you do. David, explain your situation.

DAVID: Well, I've been performing my entire life, singing from so many different walks of life, as far as music goes, and continuing to do that. And now that I'm hosting TV shows and have a new big band going, music and voice is constant. And I noticed something was up this last fall. I could just feel something in my voice because I'm so connected to it.

And I approached my Uncle Donnie, who had some vocal challenges over the last couple years. He said, "Hey, check out this guy. Maybe you should just go get it looked at and see what's going on."

Sure enough, found on the left side of my vocal fold, this sizeable polyp that is just right on the underside and had vocal surgery to get that removed after different assessments and figuring out what I needed to do.

So I literally, about a month ago had vocal surgery to get that removed. And it is -- it is scary having to go down there and have this surgery procedure done, knowing that this -- this is my lifeblood. This is what I do.

STU: And they didn't know for sure if you would ever be able to sing again.

So I said to him, "You've got to talk to Roger Love." Not for a -- you know, not for physical stuff, but to -- to -- he -- I don't know how you do it, Roger, but you can hear it in somebody's voice when they sing.

DAVID: Well, first, let's tell the audience -- and I honestly, just talking again this week, this last week because I was silent for the last month. Just complete vocal rest.

GLENN: Right.

ROGER: Man, thank you for sharing that. Let me tell the listeners that -- so that they understand a little bit of what that is.

If you're a guitar player and you're always playing the guitar and you're rubbing your fingers against the springs --

DAVID: Hello?

GLENN: Hang on, David. Go ahead, Roger.

ROGER: What happens, if you're a guitar player and you're rubbing your fingers against the strings and you play a lot, you basically start to develop like callouses on your fingers so that the body thinks it's protecting you so that it doesn't rub off your fingers and you don't you don't get all bloody --

DAVID: I can't hear.

ROGER: So it's normal for guitar players. But what most people don't understand is, this happens all the time to singers. And if you're singing a lot or if you're doing any kind of straining or you're singing hard songs, or even if you're speaking in a way that creates a little bit of pressure on the vocal cords, the body can create these little lesions, these little growths on the vocal cords, thinking it's protecting you.

GLENN: It's actually destroying the voice.

Roger, I got to take a quick break. See if we can fix this technically because he can't hear you. But I had to put you two together because David is -- I just think David is remarkable and a really nice guy. You are remarkable and a really nice guy. I had to get you two together. If you want to learn from the guy who literally everybody who is anybody has worked with, how to speak, how to sing, his name is Roger Love. He's got a new book out called Set Your Voice Free. How to get the singing or speaking voice that you want. I work with him and have for years. He is truly remarkable. Roger Love, Set Your Voice Free, available everywhere now. Back in a minute.

First, have you noticed -- have you noticed what officials are saying? Officials are saying, "Gee, now, looks like rate hikes are going to come." Looks like maybe we're going to have stop all this printing.

Oh. Oh, okay. That was the headline in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend. Rate rises more of them coming. Officials suggest in 2017, they could see three more interest rate increases. This comes after the fed has already raised it once. This is the first time they've done it in a long time. Things could go unstable.

This is uncharted territory, unless you look to history. And every time in history this has happened, it hasn't gone well. Maybe this time is different.

I have a hard time with that. I'd like to look at history to see -- at least be able to gauge the percentages of being able to survive what you're currently doing. Has anybody else survived before? The answer to that is no.

Are you prepared for whatever may come your way is this call Goldline now. And look at your portfolio. In your IRA, maybe you can take 10 percent of your IRA and transfer that to gold. Physical gold that you can hold in your own hand. Call 866GOLDLINE. 866GOLDLINE or goldline.com.

[break]

GLENN: I blew it. I broke -- yeah.

Oh, hello. Welcome to the program. Sorry.

Got busy. I couldn't get the phones to work the way they were supposed to work. My apologies to David and Roger. But now they're on the phone with each other, and they're actually going to talk to each other. That's the important thing. The name of the book is Set Your Voice Free by Roger Love. And, you know, I sat there with David Osmond. And he just looked at me and, you know, just quietly said, "Scary. It's really scary to think I'll never sing again." You know, and he has MS and has been -- he has had a really, really tough year.

So his MS flares up. He gets a polyp on his vocal cords. He's got a new wife and family.

You know, it's not -- I mean, they're busting -- he's busting his butt to make ends meet.

PAT: He's got a new wife? He traded in the old one?

GLENN: Yeah. He traded -- yeah, yeah. She was getting some high miles on her.

No. She -- you know, but it's a young -- you know, they've been married, what? Seven years or so.

PAT: Yeah. Yeah.

GLENN: Yesterday, can you believe this, 17th anniversary for my wife and I.

STU: Wow.

PAT: Congratulations.

GLENN: Seventeen years has gone by so fast.

That's crazy.

JEFFY: It has gone by fast.

STU: I mean, that would have been a bet to take, she was going to stick around this long. I mean, what are the odds you'd got out of that? 2030 to one? You would have been very wealthy.

GLENN: Yeah, very wealthy. Very wealthy.

What about the next 25 years? Or next 20 years?

STU: I'd still take it.

GLENN: You'd still take it.

At some point -- at some point, she's got to -- you're saying, she's got to pull the chute.

STU: I think even Goldline would say even that's a better investment than --

GLENN: Yeah. Thank you for that, Stu.

STU: You're welcome.

GLENN: Thank you.

So let me go back to the millennial conversation that we were having, and that is millennials are walking into their job -- many of them with very low self-esteem. And safe zones. And never been challenged. And told they'll never be hurt. All lies. All of those things lies. Thinking that it's just going to be easy. You get the trophy. They're walking in with low self-esteem because they got the trophy and they know they didn't deserve the trophy.

You're not so special. You know, billion of people alive today. More tomorrow. And have come before you that were pretty special. You? No. It's what you do that is going to make you special, make you stand out.

Let's go to Josh in Indiana. Go ahead, Josh.

CALLER: Hey, thanks for taking my call.

GLENN: You bet. You're a millennial?

CALLER: Yeah, I'm 24 years old.

GLENN: Okay.

CALLER: So thanks for taking my call.

You know, I was to a certain degree coddled and didn't really know it at the time, and, you know, my parents were doing their best. But, you know, I think a lot of it was just afraid of real life. So it started off that they -- I'm sober three, almost four years now. So I did drugs. Failed out of college. Moved back home. Did the whole millennial thing.

PAT: Wow.

CALLER: But I finally looked up. And I'm a long-time listener of your program. And I had to learn a lot of lessons the hard way, but I think what, you know, millennials need is we need strong American values.

PAT: Hang on a second.

GLENN: Hold on, Josh. Hold on because I want to delve into your story a little bit more. Back in a minute.

(OUT AT 9:31AM) the

GLENN: Let's go back to Indiana and Josh who is a millennial. You're how old, 25, Josh?

CALLER: Hey, still here.

GLENN: Yeah, are you 25?

CALLER: Twenty-four.

GLENN: Twenty-four.

And you were raised like pretty much everybody else was raised. You know, you're special, and here's your trophy and everything else.

And then you said that caused a breakdown and you started into alcohol and drugs.

CALLER: Well, the thing about it is, you know, I was listening to you guys. A lot of the generation, the millennials, we are looking for our why and our purpose. And, you know, high school, that's not real life. And college, you know, that's also not real life. So it took me a lot of time to sort out what's reality and what's not reality.

GLENN: What do you mean by that? That it's not real life.

CALLER: Well, you know, in high school, it's a whole different system. And in college, it's a whole different system. And you get out in the real world and you start paying bills and you can't necessarily stay up till 2:00 a.m. on the weekends and party and live that kind of lifestyle. And so for me, I got into drugs and alcohol at a young age. Do that. And it really took -- go ahead.

GLENN: So then what turned you around? Because we were talking about this, that I don't believe that -- and this is a real -- a broad generation. Of course, there will be exceptions to every rule.

But generally speaking, people don't make a change in their life until there's a problem. And, you know, the millennials are walking into the world with the lowest self-esteem of any generation ever. And it's because they realize we're kind of a fraud. We didn't actually earn these trophies. We didn't really have to work for it. And so they are looking for something meaningful in their life.

What was the -- what was the turning point for you? And how did you grab a hold of your life?

CALLER: Sure, yeah. For me, it was hitting rock bottom. Getting kicked out of my parents' house and having to make it on my own. But it's tough love. That's what Americans need to provide for the millennials, whether it's the parents or the corporations. You know, it's a good shakedown. And for me, I had to fall back on good values, American values from my parents, that they tried to teach me. But I had to basically reject a lot of -- a lot of the stuff you hear in college and a lot of the stuff you hear in high school.

PAT: So your parents finally said, "Okay. You've been here long enough. You need to go."

CALLER: Yeah.

PAT: And where did you go?

CALLER: Well, I moved out into a halfway house myself.

PAT: Did you really?

CALLER: Yeah. Had to stay sober, go to AA meetings, get a job at Waffle House.

PAT: Wow. Wow.

CALLER: Get a job at Wendy's. Pay my own bills.

PAT: Wow.

STU: That's a lot of living for 24 years old.

GLENN: Good for you.

PAT: Yeah, you've been through some stuff.

GLENN: Good for you. Good for you.

PAT: So are you making it now? Are you doing well?

CALLER: I am. I'm in school full-time. I hold a full-time job myself. Self-employed. And looking to get my degree here and get a job in the health care career.

PAT: Good for you.

GLENN: Good luck with that.

What is -- how is your self-esteem?

CALLER: You know, I -- I had to find my own purpose. It's a lot better now, you know, now that I'm sober and not have cloudy judgment anymore. But I think it's just going to take some time for a lot of millennials to find their self-worth and to make it on their own. And definitely don't need to be coddled by anybody. A good shakeup is really what's needed.

PAT: That's great.

GLENN: Please check in with us again. I'd love to hear how you continue to do. Thanks so much, Josh.

CALLER: Sure thing. Thanks for having me.

PAT: Halfway house, man, that's tough.

STU: Yeah, that's tough love. That's real

GLENN: And the no offices and all of that.

STU: Oh, God.

JEFFY: Oh, God.

STU: We know you are willing to do the no offices. We are aware of this fact. We work with you. We got it.

GLENN: So I'm willing to do that. But I'm not willing to coddle -- I'm not as a company willing to coddle.

STU: No.

GLENN: We'll change with the times. I like that atmosphere much better as a creative atmosphere.

STU: Yeah.

GLENN: However, you still have to do it.

PAT: Right.

GLENN: You don't do it --

PAT: You can't -- you can't stay. Right?

GLENN: No, you can't stay. You hurt everybody else.

PAT: Right. Yeah.

STU: If you get upset, will you be able to maybe shut down for the day?

GLENN: No, you're pretty much -- get over it.

STU: There's some interesting --

PAT: And you treat everybody else like crap because you're having a bad day? Is that right?

GLENN: No, you're pretty much, get out. And leave the bean bag chair here.

STU: Let me give you a couple of examples.

How is the left dealing with the current environment?

GLENN: Yeah.

STU: This is difficult. And these aren't all millennials. Look at this. It's amazing to see this. And it's so easy to mock. But maybe there's something different here.

GLENN: Your first instinct was to mock?

STU: My first instinct was to mock. But I'm trying to be good here.

Eric Holthaus (phonetic), this is his Tweet storm from this weekend: I'm starting my 11th year working on climate change, including the last four in daily journalism.

Today, I went to see a counselor about it.

PAT: Oh, wow.

STU: I'm saying this because I know many people feel deep despair about climate, especially post election. I struggle every day. You are not alone.

PAT: How much did you struggle over the weekend when it was 11 degrees in Dallas, Texas?

STU: Really freaking cold.

PAT: It was so warm, it had got cold.

GLENN: Now, Pat's first instinct was to mock.

STU: Right.

GLENN: And I'm not saying that's not necessarily a healthy instinct.

PAT: I'm not ignoring that instinct right now.

GLENN: Right.

STU: All of these I want to mock and react viscerally to. I will admit.

GLENN: May I say my fifth instinct is to say you would feel that way had you been living in the last eight years in that bubble of, it's always going to be this way, our side won. Shut up everybody who disagrees with us.

STU: Right. The other party is a regional party that will never win another national election.

GLENN: Correct. And now you're feeling like we felt. So I can relate to you.

STU: So let me give you -- so this is one way of handling it. He says, "There are days when I literally can't work. I'll read a story and shut down for the rest of the day."

PAT: I mean, come on.

JEFFY: Come on.

PAT: How often do we read stories that piss us off, that offend us? Every day, all day.

GLENN: Okay. Let me ask you this. We're sitting here today. What is it? January 6th, 8th? Ninth?

JEFFY: Ninth. National championship day.

GLENN: January 9th.

PAT: That's a good point.

GLENN: We're sitting here January 9th, and we are just a few days away from the Hillary Clinton nomination.

PAT: January 9th. You mean -- like if she won.

GLENN: If she won --

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: I bet you there would be a lot of people in our audience who would be like, "I can't function."

STU: I think that's true.

GLENN: I do. Look how we were in '12.

STU: They wouldn't go see a counselor.

PAT: We survived Obama twice. Nobody shuts down. I mean, nobody just stays home.

JEFFY: Right.

STU: Right. Republicans --

JEFFY: Barely go to work.

STU: Republicans -- conservatives deal with these problems in different ways.

GLENN: I agree.

STU: The liberal way to handle it is you go and you shut down and you see a counselor about it. That's not how a conservative is going to handle it.

PAT: Yes.

GLENN: I think there are a lot of conservatives, including me, that after Romney in '12, I was like, "I don't know this country. I don't want to look at the news."

STU: Yeah.

PAT: Sure.

JEFFY: But we did come into work every day.

GLENN: We forced ourselves to do it. But there was a lot of people who said, "I unplug. I'm out. I'm out." Now, that's not the same as shutting down and not being able to work, but honestly --

PAT: Not paying attention to the news for a while though. That's different than --

GLENN: But honestly, you work as a climate change activist. That's what you're doing every day. I can see you saying, "Well, why am I doing this?"

PAT: That's a stupid job to begin with. That's a dumb job to begin with.

GLENN: Okay. All right. That's bringing people together. That's good. Like it. Like it. Okay.

JEFFY: He knows it's dumb.

STU: He goes on to say, we don't deserve this planet. There are many days when I think it would be better off without us. And then he says, cue climate denier trolls, which I think is us.

PAT: Climate denier trolls. It's definitely me. Yeah.

GLENN: I don't think the world would be better off without humans.

PAT: It's just so insane.

STU: Yeah, and it goes -- it's a fairly lengthy thing. But, "I don't feel like I make a difference," which is what you were talking about with millennials.

GLENN: And what we felt like. Nobody is listening to me. I can't make a difference.

STU: You feel powerless. You feel like nothing matters. Your relationships suffer. You feel guilty for not doing more, but what the hell am I supposed to do? Write another blog post?

Our Secretary of State is the F-ing Exxon CEO.

Now, as funny as that is to mock, think of how we felt when people like Jeremiah Wright were associating with Barack Obama and they won somehow, and the country embraced that regime.

GLENN: Yes. Yes. Yes.

STU: And you had this guy who was saying, "We need to cling to our God and our guns as president of the United States."

GLENN: How many times did I say seriously, "I'm going to the mountains. What we're doing is not making a damn bit of difference. I'm going to the mountains." There's nothing different from what he's saying, except it's the other side and so we can laugh.

STU: Right.

GLENN: Which we shouldn't do. Because it's the other side.

Pat's like, I know we shouldn't, but I'm going to.

PAT: Exactly.

GLENN: So we may spend the last hour just mocking that guy.

(laughter)

STU: There's two other approaches too that we should get to as well.

GLENN: All right. Hang on just a second. Let me -- I want to read a -- I got a Christmas card from somebody. And I -- this is just the nicest -- this is just the nicest thing.

Dear Glenn, I can't believe it's the end of another year. For SimpliSafe, this year has brought continued growth, both from our loyal customers and our headquarters here in Boston. Eight years ago this month, we sold our first three SimpliSafe systems. I remember taking those orders myself, programming those systems, packing and shipping those first three orders myself. Today, I'm proud to say that this Black Friday, we sold 20,000 systems. It took 200 full-time UPS trucks to deliver those systems

PAT: In one day.

GLENN: Over 200 people on the phones to keep up with all of the orders.

As I watched the UPS trucks leaving our warehouses and walked the call center floor, I was reminded that we wouldn't be here without you and your audience.

As a thank you for your continued partnership, we made a donorship in your honor to Operation Underground Railroad.

Wishing you peace, success, continued joy. Blah, blah.

PS, I thought you might appreciate holding on to a little piece of our shared history. Enclosed is the first fully functioning camera prototype. You helped us build it. Thanks again.

STU: Oh, wow.

GLENN: So they sent me this prototype of their security camera that is now out.

I remember them bringing this to my office years ago and saying, "This is what we're working on. We're going to change the way home security is done." And I remember saying, "So what are you -- no wires. Everything is Bluetooth. Everything, you'll be able to do yourself and then explaining the vision to me and thinking, "This is fantastic."

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(OUT AT 9:49AM)

GLENN: Let me go to Rebecca in Ohio. Hello, Rebecca, you're on the Glenn Beck Program.

CALLER: Hey, Glenn.

GLENN: How are you?

CALLER: Good. How are you?

GLENN: Very good.

CALLER: So I wanted to call in because actually the interview that you had been sharing, I had actually seen a few days ago. And not only am I a millennial. I'm 25 years old. But I'm also a senior photographer. And I think many of the issues that you guys covered today, I guess I didn't notice them until it was brought to my attention.

Over the last few years, I've been doing senior photographer. And it seems like year after year, the communication during the sessions, when I'm trying to talk with my client, has become less and less.

And so when I'm, you know, photographing them, I'm trying to get to know them, they kind of stare down at their feet. They don't know what to say. They're becoming more awkward.

And at first, I thought, maybe it was just me. Maybe, you know, I'm not catering to them in a certain way.

But then afterwards, they would contact me on social media and go, "Oh, my gosh, I loved my session. And they would write these amazing reviews."

And I'm thinking, "Oh, my gosh, well, I thought that went horrible," but I guess that they find their confidence in the technology, and they find themselves expressing themselves better through technology and social media, more than even in person. Like, I can rarely get eye contact.

JEFFY: Oh, yeah.

GLENN: Wow, that's disturbing.

PAT: Interesting. And, yeah.

GLENN: Yeah, disturbing.

CALLER: Yeah, and it's gotten worse.

Like, you know, I started in 2010. And it seems like this year has been the worst.

Now, I love them to death. They're all very sweet. They're actually a lot better than the teenagers that I grew up with, when we were their age.

They aren't caddy anymore. They're not so critical. They're actually very loving, and they're very understanding and stuff. But it seems like, you know -- like you guys had been saying, they get their confidence through social media. And it seems like maybe they can express themselves better that way.

GLENN: Well, it's a safe zone.

CALLER: Yeah, absolutely.

GLENN: They know they won't encounter any kind of pushback, and they don't know how to say the things to people's faces.

JEFFY: Yeah, they haven't developed that at all.

GLENN: None. There's --

PAT: So when they get the pushback, they don't want to hear that. And that's why they're developing safe zones in colleges and all of that.

JEFFY: Right.

GLENN: But that's being empowered. I think they would take it if the adults in the classroom would say, "Sorry, dude, that's the way it is. Now, fight back. Come on. Deal with it. Show me the other side."

PAT: That's the way it is. That's life. Right. Deal with it.

CALLER: Yeah, you're not making it okay anymore to be wrong and to listen and to be understanding. It's like that's an embarrassment and that's awkward. It's like you have to be perfect in all aspects. And that's why on social media, they can delete that picture. They can, you know, backspace on their message before they send or post or anything like that.

GLENN: Yep.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: You know, it's amazing, I got a picture book from my daughter, who has my two grandchildren, for Christmas.

CALLER: Aw.

GLENN: And I looked at all the pictures, and they were beautiful. It was perfect. Then I went back and looked at some of the pictures, you know, from our family.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: Very few of them are perfect.

JEFFY: Oh, yeah. No way.

GLENN: I mean, they're usually somebody looking very dorky in the picture. That's real life. You know, that is what we are failing to teach is, there isn't a PhotoShop for life.

RYAN: Kanye West and the Great Society

Graphic by Alexander Somoskey.

Donald Trump has been name-dropped by nearly every major rapper of the last 30 years, starting with a reference by Beastie Boys on their iconic album Paul's Boutique, the Sgt. Pepper of hip-hop.

He's been mentioned by Jay Z. Ludacris. Young Thug. Nelly. Kendrick Lamar. Juicy J. Rick Ross. Eminem. Big Sean. A Tribe Called Quest. Scarface. Lil Wayne. The Coup. Master P. Ice Cube. Mos Def. Raekwon, Ol' Dirty Bastard, and various other Wu-Tang Clan affiliates. R. Kelly. Pete Rock. Nas. E-40.

And don't forget this surreal moment in our nation's history.

Then-candidate Trump on SNL ... dancing to a Drake parody.(Screenshot from YouTube)

When Bun B referred to Trump on the Chopped-n-Screwed anthem "Pocket Full of Stones," he was keeping with a tradition of rappers admiring Trump. This only changed a few years ago.

But then there's Kanye West, who proudly donned the red MAGA hat after discovering Candace Owens and being called "a jackass" by our nation's first black President. Then Kanye was hugging President Trump in the Oval Office? While wearing a Make America Great Again hat, supposed symbol of white supremacy, Nazism, hate, evil?

(Screenshot from YouTube)

People flipped. Everyone did. Longtime critics suddenly — and bizarrely — embraced Kanye as an ally, while longtime defenders disowned him, abandoned him like nail clippings, often mocking his struggles with mental illness and labeling him, if you can believe it, a white supremacist.

Then, in a moment that changed music history, Kanye released the single "Ye vs. the People."

Ye vs. the People (starring TI as the People) www.youtube.com

In it, he challenges what he sees as the unspoken rule that black Americans have to vote Democrat. He had hinted at the idea on his track "Black Skinhead," from the hauntingly gorgeous album Yeezus, but now he was addressing it head-on, with the passion of a man going to Confession for the first time in a decade.

Why should black folks have to abide by any set of cultural or political or artistic guidelines to begin with? And, he argues, the pressure to adhere to this longheld framework is itself undergirded by a subtle and cleverly masked racism, imposed by a group of people who portray themselves as the champions of race and enemies of white supremacy and destroyers of dumb yokel rednecks with their Rebel flags and monster trucks and fully-automatic AR-15 assault weapons. All of which, it turns out, is some next-level projection.

Kanye also confronts the presence of these expectations and stereotypes in hip-hop. The idea that rappers must invoke a negative persona in order to succeed. And the moment they deviate from that image they are rebuked or ignored, even though the persona is damaging to the black community as a whole. Which is especially ironic given that the people who voice the most outrage tend to be highly privileged, supposedly progressive white folks who love to rant about white privilege and black oppression.

Is it better if I rap about crack? 'Cause it's cultural?
Or how about I'ma shoot you? or f**k your b***h?
Or how about all this Gucci, 'cause I'm f****n' rich?

Best of all, Kanye has answers. And they differ from the erudite solutions offered by, say, A Tribe Called Quest, who, like Kanye, have modeled a healthy, positive image of blackness for the black community.

A central theme within "Ye vs. The People" is empathy as power, rebellion, freedom.

Make America Great Again had a negative perception
I took it, wore it, rocked it, gave it a new direction
Added empathy, care and love and affection
And y'all simply questionin' my methods.

This concept is an extension of the powerful devotion to positive energy that Kanye adopted around that time, a purview he has cultivated into a wild new form of electronic gospel.

But his personal transformation was tough.

That [MAGA] hat stayed in my closet like 'bout a year and a half
Then one day I was like, "F**k it, I'ma do me"
I was in the sunken place and then I found the new me.

This is a struggle that many Americans undergo. Researchers call it the spiral of silence. The idea that the news media and social media present biased opinions as though they are fact, and when the message conflicts with a person's opinions or values, they feel isolated, alone.

Kanye and T.I. during the making of "Ye vs. the People"(Screenshot from YouTube)

As Kanye raps in "Ye vs. the People"

A lot of people agree with me but they're too scared to speak up.

Because we have an incredible ability to sense public opinion. So when we suspect that we hold a belief that rails against acceptable thought, we tend to keep quiet about it. That silence makes the opinion seem even more taboo, resulting in a more widespread silence.

In reality, many of these supposedly taboo opinions are not only popular, they are normal and practical and logical. Healthy, even. And the real danger is in demonizing them. But too many people are afraid they'll be ostracized for expressing their beliefs.

Like how — despite what we've been led to believe — most Americans cannot stand political correctness.

But the small minority of people who champion it are powerful and loud. They're like that cardboard city in North Korea, just visible enough from the border to make it seem like a thriving community. They're the Wicked Witch of the West, or Iago from Othello, or Plankton from Spongebob Squarepants.

So far, they have been successful. Although "success" by their metric is anarchic and primal, all destruction and loudness and people nervous to speak their mind. And the cost of rebellion can be devastating.

By the time Kanye West wrote "Yay versus the People," he had gotten sick of this power dynamic. So he broke the spiral of silence."

*

In the words of German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer, "Whoever has language has the world."

Humans alone have it.

But in order for us to know freedom in our world, our language has to be public, shared, active. Because each of us thrives constantly with language, a stream of it always in our mind. Aristotle defined "thought" as the infinite dialogue between the soul and itself. Conversation is the exchange of thought between people. When we converse, we simultaneously release our infinite dialogue and accept the other person's. By speaking, we shape the world and free ourselves.

*

Another way to say it is that Donald Trump might have inspired the song that could very well signify the end of Hip-Hop, which is not only the most popular genre of our zeitgeist, it's the most popular, and successful, form of music in American history, which is the most important era of musical history.

If the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, and Drake literally outpaces the Beatles, then, well, you get the point God forgive me. And Kanye is bigger than Drake. So who better to have the final word on the capacities of Hip-Hop than Kanye West?

Nobody.

Every genre must come to a close. There's a reason why people aren't eagerly awaiting the next great disco album, or flocking to arenas to hear the newest bluegrass superstar, or asking to get their hair done like the latest syringe-armed guitarist of Guns N Roses.

(Screenshot from Instagram)

The great era of Rock 'N' Roll ended roughly about the time Radiohead traded their guitars and drums for synthesizers and sequencers, not long after Kurt Cobain took an insane amount of heroin and cradled a shotgun in his guesthouse, only to be discovered several days later by an electrician. Even worse, Nickelback soiled Cobain's legacy with godawful anthems, and who have their own weird and contradictory and hilarious connection to President Trump.

These days, Rock N' Roll lives mostly via nostalgia, as evinced by the explosion of cover bands. Notice how you don't see any hip-hop cover bands. You will, someday. But, for now, Hip-Hop reigns supreme. And Kanye is the King.

The brilliant Nina Simone once told a reporter that "An artist's duty, as far as I'm concerned, is to reflect the times."

Because music accords itself to the gravity and creative truth of the era. And currently we entrust hip-hop with this complicated maneuver.

But the past year, Kanye has been crafting a new sound through his Sunday services, weekly jam sessions with acoustic musicians and a choir and everyone dressed in white, praying through song, herding us into a better place, looking above for guidance. If it's anything like his track "Ultralight Beam," it will bring calm to our divided culture.

Mark my words: The resultant album will usher in an entirely new era, a magical flash in human history.

So far, hip-hop has been the defiant child of R&B and Electronica, the grandchild of Spoken Word and Steve Reich Minimalism, with tinges of Punk. Not for much longer. Kanye will see to that. And, weirdly, President Trump has helped inspire this transformation.

Meaning, Donald Trump will have had a hand in reinventing music as a whole, in spreading a movement of positive reformation. Love him or hate him, it does not matter. What other politician can make that claim?

There's an optimism to this that Dave Chappelle captured in his now-infamous Saturday Night Live monologue, just days after Trump was elected, asking Americans to at least give the man a chance. And again in his special "Equanimity," when he said

I swear no matter how bad it gets, you're my countrymen, and I know for a fact that I'm determined to work shit out with y'all.

In a moment of now-tired irony, the usual suspects heaped a barrage of hate at Chappelle for these remarks. But their outrage does not matter, in the grand scheme of things. Because it is an incredible time to be alive. It's beautiful. We should never forget that, no matter how petty or outrageous daily life gets.

At the moment, we are a country that is — everywhere, secretly — hurting. But we are Americans. Together. This is America. And, every day, God delights in our greatness and our empathy and our endless gift for love. So open your heart and listen. Say what you need to say.

New installments of this series come out every Monday and Thursday. Check out my Twitter.

RYAN: Michael Bennet, Little League

Photo by Sean Ryan

Every day, life getting shorter. Every day, life going faster. Every day, like a roller coaster. These were the kinds of things that Michael Bennet was saying.

Michael Bennet, God bless him, he seemed like a decent lad. All week he had his family there. He said his campaign was their family vacation. He had had prostate cancer but would you believe he survived?

"Life is getting shorter," he said. "Every day."

Photo by Sean Ryan

He was well spoken. Dry. Talked with an air of consultation. Like you were in his office, and he had things to tell you.

Like a Little League coach who could actually be a coach someday.

*

I would encounter Bennet again the next day, at the Iowa State Fair.

Having just seen Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) at a small Baptist church, we ventured to the fair to see Bernie Sanders' riot of a Sunday speech. Bennet was on before him, so I got there early, and I paced off to get a restroom break. The media center is in the basement of the administration building, right by the Political Soapbox stage.

For whatever reason, the first-floor men's restroom has giant windows along the wall, and you can see right out onto the walkway that wraps around the building. I did not realize that this was the path that the candidates take to get to the stage.

Photo by Sean Ryan

And, this far into the 2020 presidential election, they never went many places alone. They had a press swarm and their wives and maybe an old friend who relocated here when the hurricane sank his house.

I was rushing. Panicking, really. Because I heard all the commotion. But nature abides by its own pace. And as I shuffled to the sink to wash my hands, my pants fell all the way down. I was exposed. Out in the open and in such desperation, you clobber yourself outside of time. It was all slo-mo with the Chopped-n-screwed voices as I scrambled to lift my trousers and audibly gasped the words, "Well just no." At that exact moment, that "accidental Renaissance" painting occurred as I locked eyes with Michael Bennet, slowly maneuvering the walkway.

These sorts of things happened, didn't they? There you were in a restroom, at an NFL game or a concert or maybe a bar, and you see someone you work with, or someone from church or school, and you lock eyes for a moment in confusion then revert to cave talk and shrug and get on with what you were doing. But it's weird when only one of you is actively part of the etiquette and allowances of a restroom and one of you is held to a higher standard, for the sake of common decency. Now let's say that you, the restroom occupant, happen to be credentialed press, and the outsider, Michael Bennet, happens to be a candidate for president of America.

Once the herd passed by behind him, I laughed a bit, quietly, because life could be very funny.

*

Onstage, Bennet, a senator from Colorado, gave the performance of a cake falling into a pool. Like he had been ghost-busted. Like he had spent the last two months learning the Fortnite dance moves and now that he had mastered them, suddenly Fortnite was for losers, and Fortnite dances, well, they were even worse.

The Political Soapbox is great because every candidate has 20 minutes. Those 20 minutes were theirs. Most of the time, they got romantic like a Backstreet Boy singing up toward an open window. Occasionally, they lost it. Bennet did neither. He belly-flopped into hay bales.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Remember that the growing crowd had the dangerous feel of a natural disaster. And it was gaspingly warm that day. So neither the crowd nor the environment were ready to give Bennet a freebie.

He gave a ravishing speech, full of neat invective. Then looked up and realized he still had 14 minutes on the clock. Oof. That was most of it, and he'd already done the Floss and the Robot and the Electro Shuffle, and honestly his shoulder was a little stiff from all that dance practice. So he opened the floor for questions.

Now, that was not the greatest idea. For one, this was not the type of place for such a thing. They called it a soapbox because you were meant to live out the phrase "on a soapbox" by ranting and fist-pounding and all other theatrics.

The Bernie Sanders supporters hadn't arrived en masse yet, so most of the people around the stage were clad in Trump gear. And they all had their hands up ready to ask him questions. Well, firebombs, really, masked as interrogative statements. Bennet shouted without breathing, then said, "I want to find a non-male person who has a question."

This did not sit well with the males who did not like the trend of personalizing all things, cautious gendering, and the sudden change of direction so that now they had to just listen.

Most people did not care.

"I do not support Bernie's plan," Bennet shouted. But would you believe the Bernie supporters had literally just arrived, you could smell their hair dye.

They jeered, then acted exactly — and I mean exactly — like the Trump supporters.

"I would rather support free pre-school than free college," he shouted. "Many people talk about... " but the jeering was too powerful. And the Bernie supporters had likely just had quinoa açaí bowls at their pre-Bernie brunch, so they were unstoppable. Well God bless the man for scratching "Give Presidency a Try" off his bucket list. Because at least he had a bucket list.

What did they have? Student debt and a restraining order? They being the growing factions of Bernie and Trump supporters in the audience. You could not see any pavement. It was just people and faces like the Mediterranean in the evening, all the way to the towering walls of the Grandstand.

Looking out at all that chaos, all that latent disaster, Bennet must have felt a deep stirring.

The night before, Slipknot headlined at the Grand Stand, a sold-out show. Rollicking and bursting and howling. How many drumbeats could drummer Jay Weinberg get per minute? At one point, vocalist Corey Taylor unleashed a demonic bellow, then adjusted his mask and looked out to all those people, those devoted fans, because many of them had Slipknot tattoos, and maybe he, like Bennet, indulged a moment for himself, a personalization of the grand setting, then shrieked, then persuaded the audience to lift their hands into the air, maybe toward a constellation of their choosing, and extend their middle finger like it was an egg landing on a pillow, which symbolizes the human condition.




New installments to this series come out every Monday and Thursday morning. For live updates, check out my Twitter.

President Trump couldn't personally make it to Houston for the 3rd Democratic Debate, so he paid $7,500 for a single-engine Cessna to fly in circles over Texas Southern University campus while pulling a banner that said, "Socialism will kill Houston's economy! Vote Trump 2020!"

For four hours, it chugged around up there. You could hear it everywhere. It was the soundtrack of the night.

You can just imagine Trump's face as he had the banner-plane idea. You can hear him putting in the order. You can see his list of demands. And at the very top, "I WANT THE LOUDEST PLANE YOU CAN FIND!!!"

*

Was that Bret Baier in the aisle, adjusting his reading glasses and thumbing at the strap of his comically small backpack as he crossed the blue-carpeted gymnasium? He looked like the human version of Wisconsin. He was saying something but all you could hear was the plane overhead.

Photo by Kevin Ryan

Bret Baier, the stoic host of "Special Report with Bret Baier" on Fox News and the network's chief political anchor. He's underrated, if you ask me. Legacy. Old-school. He just delivers the news, which is what most people want. He talks the way anchors used to talk, with the American accent unique to news anchors even though he was born in New Jersey and raised in Georgia.

I had spent the last year-and-a-half on a series of in-depth profiles on some of the major countercultural figures of our time. People like Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin, and Carol Swain. So my first impulse was to rush over to Baier and profile the guy. Nobody else would, after all. The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper's. But they ought to. The man has a hell of a story.
He joined Fox News a year-and-a-half after it was founded, as the southeast correspondent in Atlanta. A few years later, on a Tuesday in September, nineteen terrorists hijacked four passenger airliners and crashed into America.

When the first plane hit, Fox producers told Baier to just get in his car and drive to New York City. They needed back-up reporters for the next day. When the second plane crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m., they said, "Step on it, Baier."

He and his producer were an hour outside Atlanta when American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon. Still a good 8 hours away, but closer to D.C. than to New York City. So they re-routed to Arlington, Virginia, as fast as they could. Past a blur of fields full of indifferent cows. Past houses full of people who could hardly talk, people who couldn't describe what they were seeing and hearing, all the smoke and the blood and the office-supply confetti. Past towns that barely moved, gas stations with nobody in them, people sunken into a far-away stare.

Yet there was the sun, with only a few bangles of cloud every so often. America had been paralyzed but the earth kept trucking along, quiet and unbothered. It must have felt strange for Baier, to speed down empty highways — toward literal death and chaos — under a perfect sky, below cascading light and color.

Nature doesn't care if we make it out alive.

*

That day, Baier reported live from a Citgo station across the street from the Pentagon, rubble in heaps of flame behind him. It was like he'd fallen onto a different planet and was reporting back to home.

The next day arrived and it was so quiet everywhere. Nobody knew a damn thing. We could not believe our eyes. We all turned to reporters and anchors for answers. Most often, they blurted out whatever they could.

Something about Bret Baier gave audiences a much-needed boost. Reliable, sturdy. Like he said what had to be said and not a word extra.

Fox kept him in D.C., indefinitely. A friend helped him find an apartment. He never went back to Atlanta. Two weeks later, Fox News appointed him Pentagon correspondent, a position that saw him travel the world, including 13 trips to Afghanistan and 12 to Iraq.

Halfway through George W. Bush's second term, Baier became Fox News' White House correspondent.

Then, a year before he would earn his current position as anchor, Baier became a father. His son was born with holes in his heart — five congenital heart defects. Twelve days later, the boy underwent open-heart surgery. Baier and his wife waited in tiled rooms drenched with flowers and ESPN and drab ultraviolet light, surrounded by machines full of beeps and whirring and beeps and whirring.

Baier's son has since undergone two additional open-heart surgeries, nine angioplasties, and one stomach operation. In an interview with Parents Magazine, Baier said that his son's health problems have "given me perspective about my job, going through policy and politics in Washington, D.C., to see the bigger picture."

*Part of the reason I couldn't tell whether or not it was Baier is he's usually up on the main stage. For the 2012 election, he moderated five Republican debates, and co-anchored FNC's America's Election HQ alongside Megyn Kelly.

The 2016 election would propel him into a much larger role. He anchored three Republican debates, but this time he had to handle Donald Trump.

Baier knew Trump personally, from before the election. They'd played golf together. He described Trump as "a nice guy outside of his TV persona" and never thought Trump would actually make a run for the Presidency. Onstage, Trump was much different. And Baier had been tasked with maintaining control.

A devout Roman Catholic, he appreciates a nice glass of wine and a fine cut of steak. He likes a good joke, too. In January, 2019, Baier signed a multi-year deal with Fox News to continue "Special Report." A few weeks later, he and his family went to Montana for a ski trip. The weekend was wonderful. But they had to get back to New York because Baier was scheduled to appear on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" that Tuesday.

Imagine him, again in a car hurtling toward a fateful destination. How he squinted through the frost-pocked windshield and gripped the steering wheel. As he guided the white SUV along the two-lane road to the airport. The land looked haunted, barren, lifeless. Everywhere, the world was frozen white. Snow and ice blanketing the fields, gauze over the sky.

At some anonymous intersection, Baier pumped the brakes, but the tires hit an ice patch, and the SUV spun loose. An oncoming car slammed into the driver's side, launching the vehicle into an embankment, wedged on its side. A man named Zach stopped his pickup truck and helped the family crawl free, and the Montana Highway Patrol rushed them to the hospital.

"Don't take anything for granted," Baier tweeted later. "Every day is a blessing and family is everything. It's always good to remind yourself of that before something does it for you."

Before every debate that he moderates, Baier spends 10 minutes alone, praying.

*

A Freedom of Information Act request in 2011 revealed that Fox News was actually right. That the Obama Administration really did hate them. And had intentionally excluded them from a press pool two years earlier. Then laughed about it.

The documents unearthed snarky emails between various high-ranking aides in the Obama Administration. In one, the Deputy White House communications director bemoaned Baier's reporting on the bias. "I'm putting some dead fish in the [Fox News] cubby — just cause Bret Baier is a lunatic." That same day, deputy press secretary Josh Earnest bragged in an email that "we've demonstrated our willingness and ability to exclude Fox News from significant interviews."

The Trump administration pulled a similar stunt in July, 2018 by banning a CNN reporter from the press pool. Trump and Fox News had developed a beneficial relationship by then. And CNN was a lifelong competitor, a public enemy.
That night, Baier delivered an official statement, "This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press. We demand better. As a member of the White House press pool, Fox stands firmly with CNN on this issue of access."

Fox News rebuked Trump in solidarity with CNN. It was a heartening gesture between two seeming enemies. Fox News were standing up for truth, defending journalism, rejecting tyranny even though the ban would have benefitted them as a company.

Who knows how many books and dissertations and articles have been written about Fox News, usually in relation to bias, usually with a scathing tone. The conclusions differ wildly, yet each one claims certitude.

Generally, academics and journalists have taken a doomsday tone when talking about Fox News. Accusations of evil, fear-mongering, bigotry, hatred, misinformation, propaganda, racism, homophobia, and so on.

Despite these outcries, Fox News has consistently held its spot as the most-watched network in the country. Imagine how that makes its critics feel.

In an August 3, 2018 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Baier said, "the biggest problem is that the people who are most critical of Fox are usually people who have not watched Fox News."

Fox News is composed of two distinct departments. Punditry and straight news. Or "opinion news" and "descriptive news." Consistently, surveys of the public rate Fox News as both the least- and most-biased news network.
Last year, a survey found Fox News to be the second most-trusted television news brand in the country, after the BBC.

In a separate study, Democrats rated its bias score at (negative) -87, while Republicans placed it at (positive) +3. Which is like if, at a football game, one referee said "Touchdown," while the other referee said "Turnover, leading to Touchdown for the Defense." It can't be both, can it?

Public opinion may not be the best metric for understanding Fox News, especially in 2019.

Quantitative studies have offered clearer conclusions. In 2016, a content analysis used crowdsourcing and machine learning to examine over 800,000 news stories published over a year by 15 major outlets, from the New York Times to Fox News. They wanted to chart media bias.

What they discovered is that news outlets are far more similar than we believe. Much of the perceived bias is a matter of separating "opinion news" from "descriptive news." For conservatives, it's punditry. For those on the left, it's op-eds and long form investigative pieces, although the left tends to insist that they're not biased, that they are instead just more apt to tell the truth, even though research has disproven this belief.

The researchers found a much larger bias-divide in opinion news, whereas descriptive news was practically neutral. One of the researchers described Fox News' descriptive news as "guided by similar news values as more traditional, legacy media."

University of California Berkeley sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild wrote that "Fox News stands next to industry, state government, church, and the regular media as an extra pillar of political culture all its own."

Say what you want about Fox News, they play a crucial role in the so-called mainstream media. And, despite what Fox News will lead you to believe, they are definitely part of the mainstream. And they are by no means the innocent victim. And certainly not powerless. And they have all kinds of problems that I will not defend. But we'll talk about that in a later installment, the one about Kamala Harris at a gun control rally, advocating for propaganda.

*

After two months of political events, I suspected that different news networks have their own signifiers, like the distinct stripes and markings on various spiders.

Wall Street Journal reporters tended to carry old-timey notepads and interview any bystander they could find. Breitbart usually only sent one person, and he wandered around with his iPhone, recording every single thing. Politico, prim-suited men who could just as easily work on the stock market.

Most of the reporters dressed like that, in stagey business attire. Prim for a high school job fair. Meanwhile, the photographers, mostly men, looked like professional paintball players. The camera crews and technical staff were the only ones decked in tattoos and wearing sandals and generally not caring about the chaos all around them. On-camera talent were covered in makeup and shrink-wrapped into dresses or suits with chip-clips along the spine.

The Washington Post sent the classiest and most bored-looking people I have ever encountered. They never looked at their laptops as their fingers chopped at the keys, and you assumed they were pretending until you read their stories online. You could spot ABC because their camera crew wore faded red ABC hats. Associated Press looked like they had just come back from a battlefield assignment in Syria, and never donned the same press credentials as everyone else, preferring a tattered AP lanyard. And you always knew when someone was with the New York Times because they announced it to the entire room.

And Fox News? At democratic events, they usually hid. But not that day, in Houston, as Bret Baier walked up the aisle to a table a couple rows in front of me.

Most people arrived in the Media Filing Center several hours before the debate. Fox News got there just slightly after that, as everyone was wiggling in their seats and connecting their laptops to a shared outlet.

There were seven or so in the pack of Fox News, all grinning. They all had white to-go sacks from Chick-fil-A. And the room got quieter, so Trump's plane got louder. It was a double trolling event.

As host of the debate, ABC would be providing dinner. This information was included in the credentials email that all of us had received. So nobody else had brought food with them. No need.

Even better, I was familiar enough with that part of Houston to know that there was not a Chick-fil-A anywhere close to us. Who knew where they'd gotten that Chick-fil-A, but odds are it wasn't warm. Who knew if there was even any food in the bags.

They had brought Chick-fil-A into a building full of national media during the third Democratic Presidential debate. The 2020 election was already full of outrage about plenty of things, and one of them was Chick-fil-A. To some folks, the red chicken logo might as well have been a swastika. That very week LGBT activists had vehemently — cartoonishly — protested the opening of several Chick-fil-A's throughout North America. Chicken sandwiches had become yet another flag on the tug-of-war rope in the Culture War of our country.

To be clear, the political left was anti-Chicken and the political right was pro-Chicken. The media tended to lean anti-Chicken, and frequently wrote about anti-Chicken causes, often scolding pro-Chicken voices, or ignoring the struggles of the pro-Chicken community only to deny any opinion on Chicken at all. That was the cowardly part, of you ask me, the pretending like they weren't activists.

The Democratic candidates definitely leaned anti-Chicken. Sometimes they took it so far that it upset moderate anti-Chicken advocates. Because was it really so bad to eat Chicken? Couldn't you be anti-Chicken but also enjoy Chicken occasionally? Why did everything have to be either "all Chicken all the time unless you hate freedom" or "no chicken ever unless you support hate"?

The fight had spread everywhere. Airports, stadiums, malls, campuses. All had served as battlegrounds for the anti-Chicken versus the pro-Chicken.

The previous President was anti-Chicken. In fact, he may well have enflamed the entire movement. During his tenure, there were nationwide protests that saw pro-Chicken advocates angrily and proudly eating Chicken while anti-Chicken advocates protested outside and occasionally engaged in homosexual affection, which was being threatened by Chicken, according to them.

Every time the pro-Chicken folks bit into a Chicken sandwich, it was like they were gnawing away at the anti-Chicken people themselves. Degrading their identity. Because, for them, it was about the identity.

But the current President, unabashedly proud of his pro-Chicken stance, once served Chicken at the White House to some winning sports team, and the anti-Chicken activists saw it as proof that Chicken and hate go together. And maybe Chicken would even lead to the impeachment of the President they hate, which would mean the Vice President would become the President, but he's one of the most pro-Chicken people in America, so they'd have to impeach him, too. And the Supreme Court, it was overrun with pro-Chicken types.

This election, the Democratic front-runners competed for the bolder plan. They would end Chicken in America once and for all. They would obliterate our evil President and his Chicken Supremacy. Their stump speeches relied on harsh criticisms of pro-Chicken voters, who pretended to find the whole anti-Chicken movement amusing but were secretly enraged by it. In fact, they were certain that the anti-Chicken movement had been systematically silencing them for years, and that they had to fight for their Chicken in order to keep everything that they valued, even all the not-Chicken.

The media and the democrats and Hollywood and academia — all hated the Chicken, because they hated the pro-Chicken people. If they had their way, no more Chicken, ever again. And no more pro-Chicken deplorables. And tonight the anti-Chicken politico-culture complex would prove it, with long rants which get confirmed by glowing articles, calculated takedowns about the merits of anti-Chicken and the evils of pro-Chicken.

Yet here was Fox News, with actual Chicken. And they were smiling. Maybe in part because the police who were guarding us all tended to be pro-Chicken. And this was Texas, after all, an incredibly pro-Chicken state. But there were 49 other states and 14 territories, and all of them were fighting for or against Chicken.

Some experts even said we were on the cusp of a Civil War.


New installments to this series come out every Monday and Thursday morning. For live updates, check out my Twitter.

We've heard the catchphrase "follow the money" so often that it's nearly a joke. It gained added attention in the 1976 movie All the President's Men, which follows the story of the two journalists who uncovered Watergate. "Follow the money," their source told them, "and you'll find corruption."

Problem is, corrupters hide their bad behavior remarkably well. They are masters of disguise. But if you look closely enough, you can spot the seams splitting in their choreographed routine.

One technique that magicians use for psychological misdirection is called the false solution. The goal is to distract the audience, to make them believe that they know what's really happening. All the while, the machinations of the actual trick are happening right in front of them, because "implanting an unlikely and unfamiliar idea in the mind can prevent participants from finding a more obvious one."

Billions of dollars. Lost. Gone.

I want to tell you a story of tremendous corruption, masked cleverly, using many of the same techniques that magicians have used for centuries. Only it's not a rabbit disappearing into a hat or a coin vanishing behind an ear. It's billions of dollars. Lost. Gone.

And the people responsible are the same people who have been so monstrously worked up about Trump's impeachment. The same people screaming about Trump's malfeasance with Ukraine are actually the ones misbehaving in Ukraine.

It's essentially an elevated, highly organized form of projection. Only instead of one person lashing out at the world, it's an entire political party, right up to the top. The very top. Barack Obama. It's right there on video.

Or how about the audio recording we uncovered, with Artem Sytnyk, Director of the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine, openly admitting a connection between the DNC and Ukraine?

So far, the story told by the Democrats and the media has been about Trump and Ukraine. Every so often, you hear mention of Joe Biden's dubious history with the war-torn country.

We were the first to talk about Joe Biden's connections to Ukraine back in April, with our candidate profile on Biden.

It turns out, the whole debacle was much worse than we thought. It stretched further than Uncle Joe. What we found out is that the DNC was working with the Ukrainian government.

This isn't a conspiracy theory. And we have the documents to prove it.

Read on to discover everything you need for a 30-second elevator pitch that you can give to your friend and say, "Look, here's what you need to know. Here's what's really going on."

If anyone is guilty, they should go to jail.

Last night, in Ukraine: The Democrats' Russia I revealed the elaborate misdirection taking place.

I said it last night and I'll say it again: If Trump is guilty, he should go to jail. If anyone is guilty, they should go to jail. Because this is too important to the Republic.

Watch the hands, follow the money.

Here are the documents, video, and audio that we found in our reporting. This is the hard evidence that will help you explain this unbelievable situation to other people.



  • June 2016 State Department memos detailing contacts between George Soros' office and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.




As you can see, we did a lot of research on this, and we've done our best to condense it for you. It still requires you to do your own homework, but there's a tremendous freedom to that.

You are seeking the truth.

You are bucking the mainstream media. You are rejecting them. And you are seeking truth. Because they abandoned truth a long time ago and they certainly aren't interested in recovering it now.