I’ve been trying to avoid this — and other outlets have been talking about it already, including my compadre Rick Chandler over at Off the Bench — but the PR guy from this group keeps emailing me about it so why the heck not.
The group in question is Americans United for Change* and the change for which they have united is to get Glenn Beck off whatever airwaves will still have him.
Major League Baseball has become one of their targets because the interactive arm of the league — MLB Advanced Media — provides the streaming video platform for Beck’s loopy webcasts. The goal: to get the owners and GMs meeting in Milwaukee this week to dump Beck. They’re running radio ads in Milwaukee this week and have a petition drive going, trying to get MLB to act.
I think Beck is one of the biggest clowns on the planet. That’s not even a partisan thing. If I was a hardcore conservative I’d find him awful because he does a terrible job of advocating legit conservative views. That’s because he’s not terribly interested in them. He’s just an unhinged attention-seeking freakazoid who is laughable at best and downright toxic at worst, but does not seem to care as long as he can sell some books and snag a paycheck. He could be in favor of a cancer cure and he’d probably do a horribly counterproductive job of pushing his agenda.
But that’s America, right? There are all kinds of people like Glenn Beck, even if they’re not as (decreasingly) popular. They send out their silly newsletters and show up on radio shows and reserve time on cable access television. And we don’t seek to have the postal service, Kinkos, WBUT radio and the Hooterville Municipal Cable Company boot them from their client lists. They’re the medium, not the message, and as the saying goes, don’t kill the medium provider. At least that’s how I think it goes.
I hate Glenn Beck but I love that Major League Baseball takes his money and uses it to make their stats page better. And to work on the research that one day may allow MLBAM to unlock the secret to letting people embed videos from last night’s game (one day soon, I know it!). Their doing so doesn’t constitute an endorsement of Glenn Beck. And even if you can spin it that way, it’s not a really significant endorsement. Heck, the most famous baseball player in the world spoke at a Glenn Beck rally last year and that didn’t help Beck stay relevant. I’m not sure that some boring video platform agreement is going to do any better.
So good for Americans United for Change for doing something they believe to be important. I just have a hard time seeing it being all that important.
*Note: the name of any piece of legislation or any political action group is almost 100% guaranteed to be misleading in the extreme. If a bill is proposed called the “Everyone Gets Free Pizza and Hugs Act,” watch out because it likely hides horrors behind its euphemistic name. If a group speaks of “united” Americans, rest assured that it only represents a motivated but small number of folks who are absolutely not united with the folks who think about things differently than them. Just sayin’!