Glenn Beck’s America: If you aren’t familiar with it, you should be

Too many people focus on the same 15-20 China analysts for their insights on Sino-U.S. relations.  Elizabeth Economy, Nicholas Lardy, Jonathan Spence and Orville Schell among others are all extremely learned and no doubt represent the backbone of American Sinology.  For Chinese observers, though, it is critically important to expand their horizons beyond the academic and intellectual elites to more populist personalities who can often have far more influence over the debate in Washington.  
Glenn-beckCurrently, the man to watch is Glenn Beck who hosts both a nationally-syndicated radio show along with a daily television program on the cable network “Fox News Channel.”  Beck is an extreme populist with a large and growing audience that can only be described as passionate.  His audience is almost exclusively conservative, white and generally oppose anything that is associated with Obama administration.  His audience is also very nativist and largely opposes (some would say misunderstands) the forces propelling globalization.  This is where it becomes critical for Chinese observers of American society to understand Glenn Beck.  Watch this video for an example of Beck’s ideology with regard to China.  He is suspicious of Beijing and positions China as a clear threat to the United States.  Moreover, he casts China as a menacing superpower with ultimate ambitions to either challenge American hegemony or surpass it.

Final thought on Glenn Beck: while he is a critical player in American popular culture, it is also important not overweight his importance.  Beck’s influence does not extend across the political spectrum.  He is widely followed by Republicans and conservatives while ignored or disdained by liberals and progressives.  That said, Beck’s thinking represents an important current in American politics that must be understood by Chinese observers in order to successfully gauge U.S. popular perceptions of China.

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.