Exit Interview: Glenn Beck

The former Philadelphia radio talker makes a splash on Fox News

Glenn Beck’s yapper has carried him a long way since 2002, when he moved to Philadelphia and brought his rantfest to “The Big Talker 1210 AM.” Now, in addition to his syndicated radio show, the 45-year-old has stormed cable news, defecting from CNN to the Fox News Channel, where he’s become a ratings “phenomenon,” according to those lefty hacks at the New York Times. Beck shared his thoughts on Nazi sight gags, hot Fox News anchors, and why the tears he cries for America are so real, they’re practically in 3-D.

Did living in Philadelphia make you feel better or worse about America? At the time, I wasn’t as concerned with the direction of the country. It was at the beginning of the second Bush administration that I began to sense real trouble on the horizon. But Philadelphia always made me really sad. It is one of the greatest cities in America, but corruption is just destroying it.

How’s your relationship with local radio colleague Michael Smerconish? Did you two get together on weekends to watch baseball, barbecue and recite the Constitution? [laughs] No. I believe that I have too much hair for him to trust. Michael’s a good guy; we just never … I don’t hang out with a lot of people, if you will. The time I have off, I spend with my family.

So honestly, did you switch from CNN to Fox News for the anchorbabes? That network is like an auto show, minus the cars and bikinis. Is that what it is? [laughs] Well, I think there are some beautiful people and some very smart people as well. May I just say, I can’t tell you how many people tune in to see how sexy I am.

Your hemlines have definitely gone up. How else has your show changed, aside from the volume level and more guests with red neckties? There are probably fewer politicians on my show than there ever have been. I do not like having politicians on my program, because I don’t believe any of them. They say exactly what I would expect to hear. I found myself so bored during an interview that I stopped listening.

Care to name that politician? Nope! [laughs] But the thing that nobody wants to print is that you’ve never seen a news show like this. It has a real sense of humor to it.

Like the time a Nazi propaganda film played behind you during a speech about America’s road to fascism? That was clever, wasn’t it? The show is the fusion of entertainment and enlightenment. I always try to make my point in an entertaining way, so it causes you to think.

You also launched the “9/12 Project,” aimed at bringing us back to the mind-set America had on September 12, 2001. Do you mean crapping our pants in fear? Or ready to exact bloody vengeance? No. That was 9/11. To me, 9/12 is signified by that morning. I got up and stood in line at a blood bank. I must have put money in the boot of a fireman at four different stoplights. We did the right thing because we knew what was important. We knew how fragile our country was. We weren’t Republicans or Democrats. We were just Americans.

You got choked up on camera the day you announced the 9/12 Project. Is it true your tears ran red, white, and blue? [laughs] You are such a jerk! No, that’s not true. If you’re going to make that case, I deserve a frickin’ Emmy. That’s unbelievable acting.

But really, how much of that is the entertainment part of your show? Do you think that a grown man crying on the air is something I wouldn’t get hammered relentlessly for? I used to be a hard-livin’, hard-drinkin’ bad-ass SOB. I fired a guy once for bringing me the wrong kind of pen. I hated other people because I hated myself. Now I can see the good in people. What made me so emotional was that people don’t need a giant state apparatus or anything other than being good to each other, speaking their mind, being vulnerable, and saying “I need help” or “I want to fix this.”

What’s ahead for the Glenn Beck show? I’m hoping for 3-D news. [laughs] Everyone will wear the glasses.

So when the tears come, they’ll fall in the viewers’ laps! No, no, no! They’ll shoot out at you, and you’ll spend most of the show trying to grab them.