During the peak ratings years of The Jerry Springer Show -- an alleged reality show -- a fight would break out among the guests during almost every episode.


It seemed obvious to me that these fights were orchestrated by the producers. What are the odds that a fight would break out during every episode and yet no one would ever get hurt or arrested?

The surprising thing is that everyone I talked to about the show during its glory years believed the fighting was genuine and spontaneous. I found that level of gullibility to be mind boggling.

Likewise, when big name TV magicians perform spectacular tricks on TV, such as making a jet disappear, and the witnesses on the scene act amazed, it's obvious to me that those people are in on the trick, and/or their comments of amazement are taken out of context. The magician's only obligation is to entertain the gullible viewers at home. Paying actors to claim they don't know how the jet disappeared, and filming reactions out of context, is the easiest way to do it.

All of this gets me to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Both of them have been in the news a lot for their outspoken and controversial views. And once again, people don't seem to understand that their jobs are entertainment, nothing more.

I enjoy sampling the content from the far left as well as the far right. When I listen to Limbaugh, I generally have two reactions:
  1. I don't agree with the viewpoint expressed.
  2. This man is an entertainment genius.
Talk show hosts have no legal or ethical obligation to do anything but entertain. And judging by their successes, Limbaugh and Beck are brilliant at their jobs. I find it mind boggling that anyone believes a TV talk host is expressing his own true views.

You could make a case that the things Limbaugh and Beck say influences the gullible masses in ways that are not helpful to society. But that's probably true of every pundit, left or right. It's a price of free speech.

Do you think that Limbaugh and Beck have the same views in private as they spray into the entertainmentsphere?

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+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 14, 2009
Glen Beck used to be an early morning radio personality in our local market. I don't think he believes the positions he takes on his current show. I think he's ten times crazier than THAT, but his bosses won't allow him to speak his real mind.
Oct 14, 2009
Of course they do, why would they not have those views? Besides, as you've said yourself if you keep saying something you'll convince yourself eventually
Oct 14, 2009
Of course they do, why would they not have those views? Besides, as you've said yourself if you keep saying something you'll convince yourself eventually
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 14, 2009
Sorry, I can't quote my sources on this. It might have been Howard Stern's "Private Parts." I remember Howard Stern accusing Rush Limbaugh of directly developing his act based on Stern.

Colbert is the first to just be obvious about it. It is entertainment. When asked on NPR, though, if it was hard for Colbert to play his part each night, he responded "it's getting easier." Fake it till you make it I guess.

There was a time when people believed in Pro Wrestling, too. The show severely suffered until they finally just made it transparent that the wrestling was all fake. Then, people realized they liked to watch anyway. The same thing happens to many of us with Santa Claus. Eventually it's just a good excuse to have your secretary sit on your lap and ask her if she's been a bad girl this year. Entertainment!
Oct 14, 2009
"I do think that Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh, and O Rielly are much more secular than they are on their shows, and they don't do a good job of faking their religiousity"

O'Reilly in particular seems to have quite a few such views. I used to watch him all the time. I read his books.

I clearly remember him saying - and I'm paraphrasing here - that the gay marriage debate is stupid because the government shouldn't be regulating marriage, and that the whole Adam & Eve thing is not to be taken literally.

Side note... I was rummaging around the Vatican observatory's website, and they had no qualms whatsoever referring to the Big Bang without qualification.

Meanwhile, I was banging my head on the keyboard reading all the _ridiculous_ ideas that scientifically illiterate liberals were spreading about NASA's LCROSS mission.

A large number of people don't actually know what craters are or where they come from.

My impression is now that the whole "young Earth creationism" thing is less about religious zealots, and more about a pervasive & complete ignorance of all science. Then you combine that with an American obsession with rationalizing everything in scientific terms, even if said terms are gibberish.

And from that you get "ghost hunters" going around with EM field detectors, and people trying to explain that the Grand Canyon was formed a few thousand years ago by a great flood.

I've thought longer & harder than I should have about the topic, and it IS stupid; history is there. You can look at it through a telescope, you can dig its bones out of the ground, and you can see it on Moon rocks. If God made the universe 6000 years ago, than 6000 years ago God made a ~13 billion year old universe.

And if God went through the trouble of making a really cool, elaborate back story for the universe, isn't it kinda pissing on God's work to ignore that?
Oct 14, 2009
Say something often enough and it becomes so. Even if they didn't start out believing what they spew, I think they shore up their convictions each time they say it.
Oct 14, 2009
Limbaugh is a fraud. The REAL voice of conservatism is Colbert.
Oct 14, 2009
I believe all of those hosts to be genuine in their opinions. I do think that Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh, and O Rielly are much more secular than they are on their shows, and they don't do a good job of faking their religiousity (which is a plus for me, because Christianity is as hippie liberal as it actually gets when put into practice). I think that they are actually more libertarian, they probably watch !$%*!$%*!$% just like everybody else (O Rielly probably gets some of that hot staff tale off the set). I'll even go further to say that Glenn Beck probably smokes pot in private, that is how he can get so paranoid and come up with all the conspiracies he does. BUT this is why people like them, in addition to their ramped up viewpoints, like a pissed Chimpanzee, that is entertaining, lol.

Another conservative that is pretty genuine is Adam Carolla, and at least he has the ability to come out in public and openly say he is an atheist, and also he expresses his opinions more bluntly and less gaurdedly than the other talk show hosts do:

Oct 14, 2009

Since you asked, I don't think all opinions are equally valid. But they have to be analyzed to determine that. And we should be careful as to what is excluded off-hand.
I fear that most people have lost or never had the ability to do critical thinking. Instead, I see comments like
"I've never listened to X, but he's an idiot".

As for the analogy I gave, I see it as the views of people around me now. "Everyone is stupid, except for me". If only everyone would drive the same speed (have the same opinion), everything would be great. Our society is becoming increasingly intolerant of differing opinions. We declare ironic statements like "Diversity is great, as long as it conforms to a certain way of being".

People have becoming entrenched and polarized in their opinions now. People are no longer wrong, they are evil. And once people accept that the other side is evil, there is no longer room for rational discourse. That is where we are now.
Oct 14, 2009
As somebody who does drugs, I don't think that it is entirely impossible to use drugs but be against them at the same time. It's dumb, but not impossible. I know plenty of people who smoke cigarettes who think that cigarette ads shouldn't be allowed on tv. Rush limbaugh, after he returned from rehab, actually pointed out the fact that he had almost entirely avoided the topic of drugs on his show. He hasn't really tried to take a hard line against them, because he knows how bad that would look. He pretty much just avoids the topic.
Oct 14, 2009
Limbaugh says he supports the (stupid and evil) War on (some) Drugs, yet he got caught violating its "laws". That means he can't really believe what he claims to believe.
Oct 14, 2009
In his private life, limbaugh has admitted to being conservative from the waist up (multiple ex-wives and girlfriends). He did get hooked on pain-killers too, but that kind of thing is possible for anyone if they were given specific types of pain-killers. Aside from those things I haven't heard anything else. No clue as to what Beck is really like... maybe he doesn't cry as much. I would think that as hated as these two are by the far left, if they were vastly different a lot more dirt would have been floating around by now.

Of course as far as I know, the real Scott Adams might be a carnivorous anti-environmental religious type who goes to a traditional place of worship every day and has never worked in a traditional office once. Scott, maybe you also have a smog factory that uses a loop-hole from the EPA in your plot to destroy the ozone layer and only post the things you do because you too are an entertainment genius and your public life is completely different from your private life.
Oct 14, 2009
"Do you think that Limbaugh and Beck have the same views in private as they spray into the entertainmentsphere?"

I know...let's ask Bill O'Reilly. He crucified Clinton for doing tamer things with Monica than he did with his producer. Also...how forgiving to you think Rush would have been if Ted Kennedy had come out and told people he had a problem with pain killers.

You're right. These are just entertainers. The scary part is that some people (including my late, dear parents) believed every word they said. My biggest problem is that it DOES affect policy. My parents were dead set against government run healthcare because they thought my special needs kids would never get any treatment. And they would do anything to stop it.

Then again...I am a religious person, so that makes me gullible in Scott's eyes too.
+6 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 14, 2009
Brilliant! Linking Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck (you forgot Sean Hanity) to Jerry Springer (who was the mayor of Cincinnati at one time) makes perfect sense, of course! Too funny...

I suspect, No they do not share the same beliefs in private as they do "on-air."

Phantom II - just couldn't resist your lengthy response could you? I am becoming convinced that you must be an attorney or a talk show host who is paid by the word? Am I wrong?
Oct 14, 2009
You could argue that Beck says things he doesn't believe just to get ratings. Limbaugh essentially invented the genre, so either he believes it and was fortunate that lots of people wanted to hear it, or he was so brilliant that he was able to identify something that hadn't been done on radio previously and intuitively know it would be successful. I believe the former is far more likely.

That does not mean Limbaugh believes everything he says. He admitted (on air) the day after the 2006 mid term elections that he felt liberated because he would no longer have to carry the water for a bunch of defeated Republicans that didn't deserve his support. So either he didn't believe they deserved his support in advance of the election, or wanted to distance himself from them after the fact. Either way, he said something he didn't believe 100%.

I have a little talk radio experience. Very little, and certainly no where near their level, but a little. When you are on the air 10 hours a week, you've got to be yourself as much as possible; you couldn't keep things straight otherwise. Sometimes you'll say something that exaggerates for effect, or because it's funny. However, it's your job to sit behind that mic and keep the show moving, not to sit there and carefully think through and analyze each and every thing you're going to say. That's not to say you make stuff up, but you do come to snap judgments in addressing breaking news or new information brought to you via calls / email / social media / whatever. And you might "contradict" yourself later, because times change, you've had a chance to think though it more, whatever. It's just not possible to remember every detail of every show, because you've gotta move on to the next show. Hosts like Limbaugh & Beck have an advantage with largish staffs including research people, but it is still difficult.
Oct 14, 2009
The fact that they are entertainers misses the point. Whether or not THEY actually believe the BS they spout also misses the point. The point really is the media apparatus' behind them and their efforts to promote that BS as something other than entertainment. I think half of what they babble is borderline yelling fire in a crowded movie theater.
Oct 14, 2009
Full disclosure on Rush Limbaugh:

1. I do agree with most of the viewpoints expressed.
2. This man is an entertainment genius.

You are the typical left-wing elitist, Scott, as evidenced by your question. You believe that your views are the only views worth holding. Moreover, you believe that anyone having opposite views can't really believe them, but must be expressing them just for their entertainment value.

I have listened to Mr. Limbaugh for many years. His views are consistent and come from the heart. He has the ability to present his views in ways that are both communicative and entertaining, which is why he is so popular.

60% of the people in this country self-identify as either mildly or strongly conservative. But elitists like you think that Mr. Limbaugh or Beck couldn't really believe what they say because of. . . what? Because you are a liberal, and you believe that everyone with a brain must be a liberal, too; or they are just lying to be popular. Are you really that clueless?

Here is one of the most stupid things you have ever said, and that means it's really dumb: "You could make a case that the things Limbaugh and Beck say influences the gullible masses in ways that are not helpful to society. But that's probably true of every pundit, left or right. It's a price of free speech."

OK, so let's see if I understand you, here. Left-leaning speech is not helpful to society. Right-leaning speech is not helpful to society. Only mediocre opinions from whatever you perceive to be the "middle" can be helpful to society. You say that it's actually a negative to society that competing ideas from the left and right are able to be aired openly because of the First Amendment.

By expressing that point of view, you have just moved from elitist to tyrant. You have now numbered yourself among those for whom the Bill of Rights is just a pesky impediment to "helping society." What's really needed is to cast those stupid old white men's ideas aside, and replace them with your enlightened ideas of what the gullible masses should be forced to do in every aspect of their day-to-day life. For their own good, of course, because they're too stupid and gullible to ever be allowed to decide how their lives should be lived.

Moreover, you believe that Limbaugh and Beck are liars. You relate them to Jerry Springer, saying they don't believe what they're saying and are only saying it to get ratings. That is one of your favorite methods: drawing false syllogisms while engaging in ad hominem attacks.

Rush Limbaugh has been on the air nationally for twenty years. In that time, he has been incredibly consistent in his views. A person who didn't believe in his positions would waffle and vacillate as public sentiment swayed. Rush has not. He believes what he's saying, Scott, not because it gets him ratings (although it does), but because he believes in the principles outlined in the founding of the nation. Same with Glenn Beck.

You can't believe it simply because you don't want it to be true. You are being illogical, Scott, but then, paraphrasing the Red Queen, "Sometimes you can believe in seven impossible things you want to believe in before breakfast."

+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 14, 2009
You've mentioned a lot on here the relationship between how what you say and write can influence your own views. I think it's entirely possible that these pundits started off just saying whatever would get them good ratings, but over time they gradually started to believe their own rantings. I also think it's quite likely that the same thing happened to Hitler.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 14, 2009
People also have to realize that Rush Limbaugh is on the air 1.5 hours a day (let's say an hour and a half when you remove commercials) five days a week. That comes to 7.5 hours a week of air time. Most of what he says is unscripted and off the cuff. Compare this to John Stewart. John is on the air about 20 minutes a night 5 days a week (after commercials). That comes to an hour and forty minutes of true on air time per week. Also, John Stewart has a massive writing staff, side anchors, interviews, etc. How much of that show is actually John talking?

Considering the massive amount of time talk radio hosts spend on the air, it shouldn't be surprising that he often says things that a lot of people find offensive. How many of us would seem idiotic and offensive if we shared our views on air, live for 7.5 hours a week every week? What about the unlistenable radio that was/is air america? Just because rush is a conservative, he has a big target on his back.
Oct 14, 2009
I don't even find people like limbaugh or beck to be all that out there. They usually don't say anything that controversial, and when they do, it's short and sweet. Only the lunatic left really sees the lunatic right as being that much of a problem. Yes, I'm sure if you pour through hours of limbaugh, you'll find some controversial statements, but 90% of the time, it's jokes and reading news articles. I like how scott tries to be cool by pointing out that he doesn't agree with rush limbaugh. People on the left feed on that whole "image" thing. "If I talk about Rush Limbaugh, I must make it clear that I don't agree with anything he says." In actuality, I'm sure that scott and rush would agree on plenty of things. I disagree with much of what I hear Scott say, and I don't even think he is much of an entertainment genius. I guess that makes Scott worse than Rush limbaugh.

"@awa64.... you act as if people don't have a mind of their own. I don't listen to Beck or Limbaugh, but regardless of what they espouse I still firmly believe that their listeners still have the ability to think for themselves, not necessarily agreeing with every word they say."

What kind of groupthink, intolerant jackass gave this comment thumbs down!?!? I hate your rating system, scott. It seems so arbitrary at best or biased as hell at the worst.
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