Like any good faith-healer revival, Glenn Beck exploited and scammed thousands of people out of their money yesterday using common televangelist tricks of the trade, vague inspirational poster buzzwords and the American troops.
I'd be shocked if there weren't at least a few thousand suckers leaving Washington right now asking themselves, "Um. What was that?" From what I've read, nothing was accomplished except for a massive stroking of Beck's ego. Was there anything in Beck's speech that hasn't been said on his shows a dozen times over? In fact, between the 87,000 people in attendance and the 81,000 or so Ustream viewers, there were far fewer people watching yesterday's concert than a typical episode of his TV show -- on a bad day.
In other words, he could have accomplished the same claptrap on his show, and done so with a larger audience. Yesterday's concert was merely an extended episode of the TV show without the chalkboard, googly-eyed sarcasm and Nazi imagery -- there was no unique message, no grand announcement. Nothing. And so, again, what was accomplished?
Perhaps the Special Operations Warrior Foundation donations?
It turns out that everyone who donated money yesterday were tricked. Shocker. All of the estimated $5 million in donations are earmarked to pay for the event first and the troops get the leftovers. So most of that money pays for Beck's ego-stroking and if there's any money that falls into the seat cushions of Beck's limo, well that money goes to the SOWF. Nice.
How do we know this? The fine print buried at the bottom of the official Glenn Beck website:
"All contributions made to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) will first be applied to the costs of the Restoring Honor Rally taking place August 28, 2010. All contributions in excess of these costs will be retained by SOWF."
Suckers. Courtesy of Heather at C&L, here's Beck getting all weepy about a $600,000 donation which ostensibly would go to the troops, but actually will help pay for the concert.
There needs to be a full accounting of the cost of the event and how much money was actually donated to the SOWF. Beck is claiming all of the $5 million raised was donated.
With your support and help we were able to raise more than $5-million dollars for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
But clearly the fine print tells us something else. What was Sarah Palin's fee? What was the fee to rent the land from the (evil progressive) National Park Service? What was the real amount of the donation to the SOWF?
Of course none of that would matter to Beck's disciples who would probably blame Woodrow Wilson.
If you have an opportunity to pick up the underrated Steve Martin movie Leap of Faith (Debra Winger and Liam Neeson are also quite good), you should definitely check it out in the context of Beck's scam. There's also a recent documentary called A Question of Miracles about faith-healers, featuring the king of all grifters, Benny Hinn. I've posted both parts of the doc after the jump...
Part One: Part Two: