On February 19, 2009, Rick Santelli helped create a movement whose political impact has not yet been fully realized. The "Rant Heard 'Round the World," as it has become known, was a profound, if hardly isolated example of the power of conservative pundits to enact political change.

That power has grown as Americans have become more sympathetic to the economic conservative argument--both the moral/spiritual element of it, and the strictly economic one. The American people have by and large come full circle in a short time, and the pundits that retain the most influence in our society have changed accordingly.

Santelli is the perfect example, as he was certainly not the prominent name he is now before he let loose on the floor of the Chicago exchange. Michael Barone explains the essential appeal of the rant. He wrote Wednesday that it "was both an economic and a moral argument."

MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan on Wednesday became the latest host at that channel to lash out at Fox News. He frothed that Glenn Beck is a "scumbag" for touting the company Goldline. Ratigan also promoted an investigation by Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner of the business.

He hyperbolically attacked, "The only problem here is that Glenn Beck and Goldline are largely snake oil salesmen and scumbags, trying to create money for themselves at the expense of everybody in this country." [Audio available here.]

Ratigan's over-the-top language continued as he ranted, "That man there [Beck] is paid by that other company to be a snake oil salesman at your expense. He's no better than the very politicians that he claims to be against."

A far-left Democratic congressman is accusing conservative commentators of improperly -- perhaps illegally -- conspiring with advertisers to shill for their products under the guise of political opinion. The accusers, however, conveniently ignore liberal commentators that do virtually the same thing, only on a far larger scale.

Rep. Anthony Weiner released a report yesterday alleging that Goldline "has formed an unholy alliance with conservative pundits to drive a false narrative and play off public fears in order to sell its products," according to a release. Under "conservative pundits," read the Fox News Channel, and specifically Glenn Beck.

Weiner has this far neglected to criticize Fox's cable news competitor MSNBC and its parent network, which consistently shill for policies that would dramatically enrich their parent company, General Electric. GE's communications arm consistently further's Weiner's own political agenda, so a double standard seems to be afoot in his failure to call NBC out on its colossal conflict on interest.

There's a cynical theme growing in the media that Faisal Shahzad, the man accused of attempting to set off a car bomb in New York's Times Square Saturday, was driven to violence by the loss of his job, the loss of his house, and his anger towards former President George W. Bush.

In all of this theorizing -- or what some might call psychobabble -- those making the assertion have yet to ponder if six years of Bush Derangement Syndrome might also be involved.

For over a year, Americans have been warned that so-called "hate speech" directed at Barack Obama and Democrats by conservative talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity, as well as others at Fox News, is going to manifest itself in violent acts against elected officials and/or our nation.

With this in mind mightn't years of "hate speech" directed at Bush and Republicans by liberal talk radio hosts and MSNBC in particular have incited Shahzad's anger to such an extent that he decided to become a domestic terrorist?

Consider what the Wall Street Journal wrote Wednesday (h/t Jennifer Rubin, photo courtesy AP):

Phil Donahue believes people should learn about Fox News's Glenn Beck by watching a video that was posted at the perilously liberal website Daily Kos.

In a preview of an interview to be aired on the "Joy Behar Show" Friday, the host asked her guest, "What do you think of this upsurge of the Becks and the Limbaughs and Fox News?"

Donahue curiously responded, "You know this kid Daily Kos?...He's got a thing called 'Full Mental Beck.' And it's, it's like seven minutes of, a montage of Beck" 

He amazingly continued, "So, if you've just read about Glenn Beck, and you don't want to watch Glenn Beck, check Daily Kos and watch it, because you better know what's going on here or you're going to be culturally illiterate" (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t Weasel Zippers): 

Glenn Beck struck back at Joe Klein and John Heilemann Monday for practically accusing the Fox News host, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh of being seditious.

As NewsBusters reported Sunday, Time magazine's Klein and New York magazine's Heilemann made some rather inflammatory comments about the trio this weekend on the syndicated "Chris Matthews Show."

When Beck saw our piece at the Drudge Report Sunday evening, he said, "[I]t was like a horse stepped on my chest." 

"I love my country," said an emotional Beck. "I don't even understand how speaking out now can be sedition."

Beck then demonstrated how absurd AND hypocritical Klein and Heilemann's claims were (video follows with partial transcript and commentary): 

"Avatar" director James Cameron had some nasty words for Glenn Beck and global warming "deniers" yesterday.

Cameron said at a news conference that he would like to shoot "those boneheads," referring to skeptics of anthropogenic global warming. "Anybody that is a global warming denier at this point in time has got their head so deeply up their a** I'm not sure they could hear me," Cameron added.

As for Beck, "he's a f****** a**hole," the 2010 Oscar nominee so eloquently put it. He backtracked a bit, but still maintained that the FNC host is "dangerous because his ideas are poisonous," echoing a statement by NPR's Cokie Roberts yesterday. "Of course he wound up on Fox News, which is where he belongs, I guess."

Journalists love the marketplace of ideas until people start selling ideas they find objectionable. The liberal media somehow manages to shout about its right to speak freely while demanding others be silenced.

Glenn Beck is probably the most popular target for the left's demands for censorship. Cokie Roberts and her husband Steve picked up that ball and ran with it today in their joint syndicated column. They dubbed Beck "a traitor to the American values he professes so loudly to defend" and claimed he is "corrupting the very essence of democracy." And all this just by speaking.

Unsurprisingly, the immense damage Beck is doing to the American political process can only be demonstrated anecdotally:

Time cover for June 21, 1971 edition"Why Does Glenn Beck Hate Jesus?" asked Time's Amy Sullivan in a Sunday March 14 Swampland blog post:

When Glenn Beck told listeners of his radio show on March 2 that they should "run as fast as you can" from any church that preached "social or economic justice" because those were code words for Communism and Nazism, he probably thought he was tweaking a few crunchy religious liberals who didn't listen to the show anyway. Instead he managed to outrage Christians in most mainline Protestant denominations, African-American congregations, Hispanic churches, and Catholics--who first heard the term "social justice" in papal encyclicals and have a little something in their tradition called "Catholic social teaching. (Not to mention the teaching of a certain fellow from Nazareth who was always blathering on about justice...)

So to whom did Sullivan turn for complaints about Beck's characterization? Some theologically conservative Catholic theologian? A conservative Protestant theologian like Baptist seminary president Al Mohler or Presbyterian theologian R.C. Sproul?

Nope. She highlighted two stalwarts of social gospel-oriented liberal Christianity:

Compliments sometimes come from strange places, but you'll take them where you can get them, no?

It seems that Fox News' March 10 "Glenn Beck" program, in which host Glenn Beck interviewed former Rep. Eric Massa, D-N.Y., captured the attention of both the left and the right. And it may have even put to rest some of the misconceptions about Beck, which are mostly generated by outfits that operate with just out-of-context sound bites.

"Let me tell you something," "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough said on his March 11 program. "[Beck] was not on his heels. He just - he played straight-man and Donny Deutsch, he was - he did it very, very well.

Liberal talk radio host Mike Malloy on Saturday blamed Glenn Beck for Thursday's shootings at the Pentagon.

"So, a shooting at the Pentagon, a Glenn Beck fan who obviously went beserk and decided to kill police officers at the, at the Pentagon and didn't succeed," Malloy disgustingly said on his radio show Saturday.

"The perpetrator apparently is not dead yet either, so maybe they can, when they fix him up, they can waterboard him a bit and find out what it was that Glenn Beck said that made him decide to open fire."

Readers are strongly cautioned before proceeding for this is astonishingly offensive (YouTube audio embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t Radio Equalizer):

For those who have neither the time nor the Red Bull required to wade through Al Gore's windy "We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change" in the New York Times, permit me to summarize:
  • Record winter storms and revelations of warmist fraud notwithstanding, we "face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it."
  • Unfortunately, "television" has replaced newspapers as the dominant medium.  And "television" serves as the tool of powerful forces favoring "unrestrained markets" and opposing regulatory "reform."  Though Gore stops short of naming television names, you don't have to read too hard between the lines to see that he's pointing the finger at Fox News in general and Glenn Beck in particular.
Key excerpts [emphasis added]: