Can a Rebooted Glenn Beck Find Common Ground?

Marc Giller with The Resurgent recently published an article titled, "Glenn Beck Rebooted," in which he laments the Glenn Beck of early radio days and worries about Glenn's new efforts to heal the divide in America. Marc talked with Glenn on radio Tuesday, having a frank conversation about the nobility of Glenn's goal and how he'll need to find honest brokers on the left --- or be doomed to failure.

Enjoy the complimentary clip above or read the transcript below for details.

GLENN: Let's go to Marc Giller, who is joining us now. He's from And he wrote a -- he wrote an article called Glenn Beck: Rebooted. And, Marc, good to have you on.

MARC: Hey, Glenn, thanks. I appreciate being on. Thanks.

GLENN: You bet. I appreciate the spirit of the article, and it's nice to actually talk to a fan who has been a fan literally from the beginning.

MARC: Yeah. Actually it's kind of interesting. Because when I read the Washington Post profile that inspired the article in the first place, I hadn't really intended to go down that direction. But when I sat down to actually start writing it, a lot of memories of the show back in the old days on WFLA just came rushing back to me, and it just sort of started pouring out to me, and it kind of turned into this very, very long introduction. And, you know, once I started rolling with it, I was having so much fun with it, you know, just talking about the Frisbeetarian Church.

GLENN: I loved those.

Those were -- yeah -- for anybody who doesn't know what the Schlub Club was. I used to pit the 4 o'clock audience against the 5 o'clock audience. And I would tell the 4 o'clock audience that they were the real audience. The 5 o'clock audience, they were the schlubs. They were the people that just stroll in. Oh, I'm working. I can't listen. And so let's screw with them.

And so we would plan something all hour, and then I would set up the calls. So when the next people -- when the people got off of work, they would just turn on the radio, and they would start hearing these crazy people calling in.

And by the end of the hour, they would be like, I live in an asylum, and all these people that didn't -- that weren't in on it would call in and go, are all of these people crazy?

MARC: That was the funny part too. Because I was actually one of those schlubs at first. I didn't get off work until 5 o'clock. So I'm driving across the Howard Franklin Bridge going home, listening. What the heck are these people?


You know, it just got so off the chart -- all right. And so I eventually figured it out. So I was in on the joke at that point. And I couldn't wait to hear those every single day. They were absolutely hilarious.

GLENN: Yeah, no, they were great. We've never been able to do them because we didn't know how to divide the show up. Because some stations because of time zones shuffle the hours.

JEFFY: Yeah.

GLENN: And I remember -- Stu, do you remember -- were you with me when I did, I'm in love with my sister? Yeah, you were with me.

Do you remember that, Marc?

STU: Yeah.

MARC: I don't remember that one.

PAT: I remember advising you not to do that.

GLENN: Okay. Yeah. I did this whole hour where I built it up, and I said, "Listen, I want you to know, I'm going to talk about something that I've never shared before." And I did this really heartfelt monologue of the first time I fell in love. And I'm not going to be ashamed of it anymore. And it was up on the Ferris wheel when I was a kid and I kissed my sister.

STU: So disturbing.

GLENN: Yeah. And it was a whole -- it was a whole thing to see if I could sway the audience to be -- to defend brother/sister love. And got them there, until the end, I was supposed to then come in and say --

STU: And reveal it.

GLENN: -- okay. So here's the thing. I'm just making a point here that I can get you to believe anything if I put enough --

STU: If you don't have principle. I mean, it's the same points that we're making today.

GLENN: Correct. If I give you enough love stuff and heart stuff, you're going to fall for anything.

Well, unfortunately, it was when I was first starting syndication. And President Bush had to give a speech about 9/11. And the affiliates all dropped off, literally at the explanation. So for 24 hours, I had affiliates calling saying, we are not running this show ever again.


So, anyway, so your point here -- the reason I wanted to get you on is, your point saying, you can admire Glenn to be the first to say, enough, and take a stand against him. But until he finds honest partners on the left who are willing to share the risk and stand by him, I'm afraid his efforts are doomed to fail.

Tell me about that.

MARC: Yeah. Well, it was kind of -- mostly inspired by what had happened with Sam Bee. Because I -- I heard the -- segment that you had her on your radio show when I was driving out to Orlando. And I thought, well, you know -- I had never been a fan of Samantha Bee. Obviously, I'm a preacher on the right myself. And, you know, kind of think a lot of her opinions are kind of full of it. But listening to that, I thought to myself, well, you know, this is worth a try. Because it's kind of akin to some of the things that I'm going to do in mostly my online dealings with people, especially since I've gotten more into political blogging and whatnot. You can get into arguments with people.

But my philosophy was always going to be, all right. I'm not going to be able to persuade people by putting them down, making them feel stupid, calling them names. And I always tried to deal with them in a respectful kind of way.

So when I heard you and Samantha going back and forth, talking to each other about how we need to change the tone and how we converse with one another, I did respond to that. But a couple weeks later, she's on her show, and she's comparing this poor cancer survivor at CPAC to a Nazi because of his haircut. And it just kind of really struck me because I thought, well, you know, if she really took it to heart, the conversations that you've had, if she really wanted to go ahead and change the tone, she wouldn't be doing that kind of thing. And it just kind of concerned me because, you know, I'm very -- a big leader in the effort that you're trying to do here. And I think you're taking obviously a tremendous career risk, potentially alienating people in your audience. A lot of names being called particularly on the right about being a sellout. You know, I do believe that we have to start someplace. But I'm just really concerned about partnering up with the wrong people who aren't really taking it to heart and who are maybe just using this as an opportunity to promote themselves, instead of actually really starting a dialogue and trying to make a conversation more civil between the left and the right.

GLENN: So I'm thinking -- and, Marc, I can't tell you how I appreciate your attitude and your approach on this.

We've talked about this for a long time. And we believe we're going to have to kiss 1,000 frogs before we find one prince. Because it is difficult to -- I was just on with Tavis Smiley. It airs on PBS I think today or tonight or something. And he said, so why aren't you having more success with people -- and I said, that's my question for you, Tavis. Now, he was very, very open. And, you know, but he has kind of a softer attitude anyway.

But he said, so why do you think it is? And I said, because I don't -- I'm not sure that -- he said actually -- he phrased it this way: Is it because people aren't self-reflecting because perhaps there was nobody -- this is a quote, quite as bad as you. And I said, well, okay. That's one way to look at it.

MARC: I take it he never listened to Michael Savage.

GLENN: Right. Or is it that people don't want to look at themselves? It's easier to look elsewhere? And I could tell you that there are people that, you know -- let's look at Bill Maher. Even Samantha Bee, that have said some really difficult things about people on the right.

Are they looking --

MARC: Oh, sure.

GLENN: Are they looking inside of themselves? I don't think so. It's easier to look outside. So it requires somebody to be humble enough to say, what part did I play in this?

MARC: Yeah. Well, and that was another aspect of the WaPo article that kind of set me back a little bit as well too. Because the tone of it was all, you know, here's Glenn Beck, he's trying to hug his way back into bringing America back together.

GLENN: Yeah, I thought that was an unfair article, by the way. I thought it took some things -- some liberty with some things that that was not the right tone. But, anyway, go ahead.

MARC: Yeah. Well, the thing about that was that it made -- it proceeded from this assumption that it was all you're doing. You know, you can extrapolate that to, it's all on the right side of the political spectrum, where all the hatred is coming from, and where all the acrimony is coming from. And that is not the case at all.

GLENN: I agree. I agree.

MARC: Yeah. If the author, Mark Fisher, had balanced it out a little bit in maybe seeking out some people on the left in talking about how they contributed to the overall corruption of how we talk to each other and how we think of each other in this country, I think it would have been a heck of a lot better.

GLENN: I will tell you, Marc, you're right on the money. And I'm waiting for somebody to do that. And so far, nobody is willing to do that. Everybody is willing to dog pile. And I keep waiting for somebody to say, well, hey, wait a minute, it's us too.

MARC: Well, again, look at what's happening to you. Look at what's happening in your attempts to do this. I can't even imagine the amount of hate mail you get over just this particular subject.

STU: That's just from the staff.

MARC: I posted this article. I'm getting hate tweets myself. I'm just a nobody who writes an article on the internet. So I can't even imagine what that would be like a million fold, like what you're dealing with here. And I think that people on the left, particularly those that make their living in the media and they have this image that they have to uphold are thinking the same thing and saying, holy crap. I don't want that happening to me. I want to give my audience what they want.

And that's kind of what I think Samantha Bee was doing when she was doing her Nazi shtick with CPAC attendees. Is that, oh, well, maybe she got a few hate tweets of her own off of appearing with Glenn Beck or having you on her show. And thinking, well, I got to go throw a bone out here to my listeners or my viewers and, you know, let them know I'm not going all soft on them, right? And that's problematic.

STU: We're talking to Marc Giller from The Resurgent. And, Marc, I was fascinated by that point. Because you're right. It was a cheap joke at the expense of some guy on CPAC. Now, it turns out that the guy has cancer, and there was a lot more to the story. But she didn't know that at the time.

GLENN: And it wasn't her joke.

STU: It was some correspondent.

GLENN: It was the correspondent.

STU: But I was interested at seeing your article. Because you talk about the days of 970 WFLA, the mother ship of this particular show.


STU: And, you know, those were great times, and they were really funny. But also really harsh.

GLENN: They were mean.

STU: And we a lot of times made fun of the appearance of somebody on the left. And we joked and made all sorts of things like that -- it was a harsh show for laughs. And I remember at the time Glenn saying, in comedy, there's always a victim. There's always a victim. We should just always make the first victim ourself. And so that's the way we ran the show.

STU: But her joke, is that just a funny line that we should all just be able to get over? Or is it really some attack that shows that she's not being an honest partner in whatever was trying to be done here?

MARC: Well, you know, I love to employ humor in the stuff that I write as well. And God knows, that Twitter being the medium that it is, it just lends itself to snark, and I've definitely been guilty of doing that myself from time to time, although I've never called anyone a commie or a pinko or anything like that. But I do -- I really -- one of the things about the mean culture that we have right now, that, yeah, it does make it increasingly difficult to make even good jokes and to laugh at each other because everybody is taking themselves so damn seriously. It's very, very difficult to do.

And I think that, you know, if -- maybe the way we react to things like the Nazi joke on Samantha Bee's show, is because we on the right have taken it to the shin so much from the popular culture, where we're always cast as the fuddy-duddies. We're always cast as the ones who want to get into everyone's bedroom, and we don't want you to have fun. When, really, a lot of that is what's going on in the left these days. I guess it just makes us really mad because we've been the butt of jokes so many times. And that, you know, leftists really typically have an extremely difficult time laughing at themselves. So, you know, maybe that's where we are.

GLENN: I tell you, Marc, when somebody actually hears -- really hears what you just said on the left, when they really hear you, things will change. But they don't so far. I've been trying. And they don't hear that message yet. But once they do, I think we can come together.

MARC: I do hope that that is the case. Because my fondest wish in our politics is that we stop yelling at each other and actually start talking to one another instead.

But, you know, the way things are right now, it's all emotion. It's all ID. It's very little debating the actual facts. How we came to that -- obviously we have the mainstream media that's out there stirring the pot as well too because get some clicks, get some views. People are screaming at one another. Washington is happy with that because they can get away with whatever they want to get away with, because people are distracted with minutiae, rather than taking a look at the big issues and the things that are affecting them on a day-to-day basis. So you do have this entrenched power structure that's in place that has a vested interest in keeping us at each other's throats. So it's going to be really tough.

GLENN: So I only have about ten seconds. What I really wanted to ask you was you said, I think it's doomed for failure. So do I continue or do I not continue?

MARC: No. It's only if you get the wrong partners that it's doomed for failure. The interesting thing about what you were mentioning about Riaz, your friend as well too, is that maybe he's going to be more of an honest partner, but he's less of a celebrity. So he's got less of a reputation to uphold I guess with his audience since he's a more behind the scenes type of guy. So I think maybe you might be more productive with that -- going back to the last segment, maybe you ought to watch How to Look Good Naked.

GLENN: All right. Thank you so much. God bless. Marc Giller from


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