Alex Koppelman over at Salon.com is puzzling over the surging popularity of Glenn Beck, whose ratings were abysmal back when he was on CNN Headline News, as Atrios used to point out regularly.
Many right-wing talkers are hard to pin down on the lying/stupid continuum. I'm pretty sure Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh don't believe a lot of the stuff they say, but they're such pros that it's hard to get a handle on what's real and what isn't. It's easy with Beck: He is a stupid, stupid man. For some reason I find myself thinking how annoying it must have been to have him as a classmate in the sixth grade, which is about the level of his wit and intellectual sophistication.
Anyway, I think the reason Beck's ratings have improved so dramatically is that he has found his soulmate in the viewership of Fox News. I doubt there's much if any overlap between Fox and Headline audiences, so it must have been a revelation for Fox viewers when they first discovered Beck's fatuous mirth, his doughy smarm, his addled, conspiratorial view of the world and his refreshingly unpretentious crew-cut hairstyle. I picture a Hollywood moment in which Beck and the Fox viewer locked eyes across a crowded room.
Anyway, I'd prefer not to dwell on Koppelman's question of what Beck's ratings say about America and instead relish the fact, which Koppelman also notes, that Beck has made it onto Stephen Colbert's radar, which means we'll be treated to a lot more of this.