The Atlantic

Glenn Beck’s Regrets

His paranoid style paved the road for Trumpism. Now he fears what’s been unleashed.
Source: John Cuneo

Glenn Beck looks like the dad in a Disney movie. He’s earnest, geeky, pink, and slightly bulbous. His idea of salty language is bullcrap.

The atmosphere at Beck’s Mercury Studios, outside Dallas, is similarly soothing, provided you ignore the references to genocide and civilizational collapse. In October, when most commentators considered a Donald Trump presidency a remote possibility, I followed audience members onto the set of The Glenn Beck Program, which airs on Beck’s website, theblaze.com. On the way, we passed through a life-size replica of the Oval Office as it might look if inhabited by a President Beck, complete with a portrait of Ronald Reagan and a large Norman Rockwell print of a Boy Scout.

On one side of the main stage hung a drawing of an old pickup truck, captioned “Edward Janssen Farms.” (Janssen was Beck’s maternal grandfather; Beck’s family sells a line of American-made clothing that bears the Janssen name.) Over the truck, in large type, was the word honor. On the other side of the stage sat an old-fashioned radio and a comfy blue armchair. The scene was warmly reassuring, except for the television offstage, which was blaring an advertisement for a year’s worth of “emergency survival food” to be consumed in case society unravels.

Beck asked an audience member to lead a prayer, then filming started. Someone asked, “How do

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
‘News From Here Doesn’t Go Out’: Kashmir Simmers Under Lockdown
There have been daily protests since August 5, when the Indian government revoked the region’s special status.
The Atlantic9 min readSociety
America Moved On From Its Gay-Rights Moment—And Left a Legal Mess Behind
Half a decade after the Supreme Court’s same-sex-marriage decision, the justices and Congress are still trying to figure out what federal law should say about LGBTQ rights.
The Atlantic5 min readScience
A Tissue Sample From 1966 Held Traces of Early HIV
To understand the virus’s history, a team worked to reconstruct its genome from a time before anyone knew the virus existed.