Can we please stop talking about Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh?

Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are not worth getting fired up about. They are not even worth a post saying "Look at the latest outrage from these two." Because it's their job to do outrageous stuff. As I've said before it's not their job to find the Truth, or argue fairly, or have a consistent set of beliefs, or even represent conservative views. Their job is to make money by attracting as many viewers or listeners as they can. And they've found a very successful formula for doing this; tell a story of fear, communism, and populist economics that has little base in reality, and which gives people a warped view of the world. While I can't blame people for wanting to be entertained, and feel a little better about their political group at the expense of another group, it's a shame that people fit the opinions espoused by Beck and Limbaugh into their worldview. But when Megan McArdle, Ezra Klein or Andrew Sullivan post about the latest outrage by these guys, I don't believe that they are helping anything. The people who already follow Beck and Limbaugh aren't going to be swayed, and for everyone else you're merely preaching to the choir. I am surprised that they seem surprised by the antics of Limbaugh, Beck and the rest of the Fox News crew. Beck et al. boil frogs on live TV because they want attention; the antics drive viewers, and profits, to their shows (and that's what they are - "shows"). The problem goes deeper than the pair of talkers; for the majority of people in the United States, politics are a form of entertainment; there's no money riding on false, or hurtful beliefs. That is, people have no incentive to believe in policies that work. We're not going to change that, or the ability of the Becks & Limbaughs to thrive unless something happens that changes politics as entertainment. Update: Limbaugh's response to David Brooks's critical column, "You're jealous," pretty much sums it up.

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