In classic professorial fashion, before the blackboards that have become a trademark of his show, Glenn Beck tonight spoke simply and convincingly, as he recapped the lessons he has learned and taught as the host of his own TV show for the past five years (only the last two and a half of which were on Fox).
“I didn’t do it as just an exercise,” Beck said of his show. “We tried to teach you things to help … I’m a dad, too. I want my country to be around. What we’ve been trying to tell you this last year is that you are the answer.”
Beck’s program surely did cover an impressive amount of ground in five short years, as a chalkboard labeled “What We’ve Learned” hinted. Beck, after all, fearlessly left few topics untouched.
His 5 p.m. hour featured firsts that quickly became signatures of the show — the chalkboard, staggeringly long monologues (42 minutes!) and a decidedly bookish bent, among others. (About that last one: As just one example, Friedrich von Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom supposedly sold more in the month after Beck plugged it than it usually does in a year.)
But, Beck says, nothing shaped his show more than the unadorned truth.
“I contend that is the reason we are successful here … because it’s true,” he said tonight. “It seems as though there’s no truth anywhere anymore. We’ve made a lot of enemies on this program. We’ve taken on every single person we’ve been told not to take on … because the truth has no agenda. It will lead us where it leads us. This show has not only survived; we have thrived. We’ve done amazing things together … It’s easy to do things when they’re from the heart. It’s easy to do things when you believe them.”
The Glenn Beck Show broke every record in the 5 p.m. time slot, always stirring speculation and controversy. So, it’s no surprise, really, that his decision to leave the show only fueled more such speculation. But Beck sought to clarify tonight, and the story of his decision seems to have implications for anyone who wonders if “something more” awaits than whatever has become the day-to-day routine:
I told you at the beginning of this year that I was going to roll up my sleeves and get to work. This summer is the beginning of that for me. I’m going to Israel to learn about courage. … I begin my search tonight after this broadcast. …
We’re not that different. I bet that when we look at the current crop of candidates that you’re as tired as I am of looking for George Washington or Ronald Reagan … This show has become a movement and that’s why it doesn’t belong on TV anymore. It belongs in your homes. It belongs in your neighborhoods. Not on television. …
I hope I have earned some level of your trust. At the same time, I want to thank Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch and everybody at this network for their trust. …
I have given up on admiring the problem. I am focused solely on the solution. They’re making their plans. What are you doing? …
You have to find out for yourself what is true. I didn’t run away from something; I’m running to something. I know exactly where I”m supposed to be.
I was told nobody ever leaves this business … There’s never a bigger platform than the Fox News Channel. There’s never a smarter guy I’m gonna work with than Roger Ailes. … Here I am at the pinnacle. … How could it be divinely inspired that I leave?
I am overwhelmed with the feeling, ‘If you don’t leave now, you will not leave with your soul.’ … Never want anything too much. Never. It will destroy you. I learned the hard way who I was. We as a country have a chance to learn who we are, what we’re truly capable of, before we’re forced to learn it the hard way.
Beck hinted at a new initiative — Mercury One — aimed to help the nation do just that, and he urged viewers to look to GlennBeck.com for the reveal.
Then, just as simply as he began, he concluded: “It is not the person who leads the parade. It is not the person on the stage who deserves credit. We don’t actually run credits. We wrote them on a chalkboard. I thought that was appropriate.”
Update (Allahpundit): Here’s video of the very end of tonight’s show. Wondering what’ll replace GB at 5 p.m.? Well, wonder no longer. For the rest of the summer, at least, it’s “The Five”:
The new opinion show will feature a roundtable ensemble of five rotating FOX personalities who will discuss, debate and at times debunk the hot news stories, controversies and issues of the day.
In making the announcement, Shine said, “The Five brings together an eclectic group of FOX talent whose knowledge of key issues and unique insights will undoubtedly make for a dynamic program.”
Some of the revolving FOX personalities to be showcased in the weekly ensemble include: Greg Gutfeld, Juan Williams, Dana Perino, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Geraldo Rivera, Andrea Tantaros, Eric Bolling, Monica Crowley, Bob Beckel and Kimberly Guilfoyle. The program will also feature added guests, including politicians, celebrities, sports figures and key newsmakers.
One thing about Beck: He was always lively. Unless “The Five” is planning to feature a whole lotta Gutfeld, which it should, his replacement sounds … less than lively. Read this withering take from Inside Cable News, noting that the show sounds like a broadcast version of Fox’s webchat “Strategy Room.” Exit quotation: “FNC had months to prepare for the day it would be without Beck and this is the best it could come up with? The TV programming equivalent of a band-aid?”