The Bold Fresh Tour has teamed up two of the most popular TV hosts at Fox News: Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly. Both bring to the stage their own unique brand of humor and politics. Set up in three segments, the show provides platforms for Beck and O’Reilly to showcase their distinctive styles, yet allows them to combine forces for a grand finale. I was fortunate enough to witness this phenomenon in Columbus, Ohio on June 18, 2010.
Glenn Beck, along with his infamous chalkboard, is an entertainer with a serious message. I found myself alternating between laughing and then gasping in shock. Along with his energy, Beck’s outrageous accusations are what mesmerize his audience.
Now at first, I too found myself being pulled into the emotional vortex that Beck creates. He is somewhat of a magician. He presents facts but uses slight-of-hand to manipulate those facts. If you get too caught up in Beck’s presentation, you will miss the holes.
For example, Beck presents a case that Obama is unethically connected to George Soros through Petrobras, a Brazilian oil company. Now while there is a suspicious connection, Beck’s analysis starts falling apart under closer examination. The $2 million loan Beck accuses Obama of giving Petrobras was actually approved by the Export-Import Bank of the United States, whose board of directors were appointed by none other than… drum roll please… George W. Bush. So while Beck does bring up some interesting points, it’s wise to approach his arguments with a bit of skepticism.
O’Reilly is a little more pragmatic in his approach to both showmanship and politics. O’Reilly, not as natural on stage as he is behind a desk, peppered his first few remarks with a lot of “Umms.” However, it wasn’t long before he settled in and gave us a true O’Reilly performance. I loved seeing his sense of humor shine through as he poked fun at an MTV reporter, and his impression of James Carville is hilarious!
O’Reilly also tends to be more fact based in his opinions. It is not often that I can poke holes in his arguments. Believe me, I’ve tried. His take on the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, suing Arizona over a state law, and the Obama’s handling of the oil spill are perfect examples. These are all major public relations disasters that may very well cost Obama his re-election.
The Grand Finale
Nowhere, are the differences between Beck and O’Reilly more striking than in the Q&A session that ends the show. Beck, dressed in jeans and a “K-Mart” shirt, is the comic relief and plays on people’s emotions. O’Reilly, on the other hand, plays the straight man and prides himself on logic and facts. His more formal attire underscores the seriousness of his positions.
The banter that embodied this segment was nothing short of hysterical. It’s been a long time since I’ve laughed that hard. I absolutely would have loved to see this portion of the show extended, though I suspect O’Reilly would lose in a battle of wits. Beck just doesn’t play fair.
Despite these differences Beck and O’Reilly do share common ground. Both men agree that while this country is making some terrible mistakes, it is, at heart, a “noble nation.” It will rise above the troubles of the times and triumph if each of us do our part in fighting evil. So while their analysis is often disheartening, the hope they leave the audience with is not.
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“Bogus Brazilian Oil Claim”