The votes are in, and The Konformist readers have spoken. Glenn Beck is your choice for the 2009 Beast of the Year - a choice that is well deserved.
One of the two big stories in the year following Obama's first 100 days was the rise of an extremely far right - and an often extremely crazy - movement given the label of "Tea Party" by some, or (more appropriately) "Teabaggers" by others. Point Zero of the Teabagger movement was Glenn Beck and his multimedia empire. Of course, there is nothing new here: during the Clinton years, Rush Limbaugh became a powerful media voice in his own right, and during the era of George W. Bush, Beck's current employer Fox News fueled the rise of Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, while Ann Coulter became a shrill media commentator in her own right (among others.) So mark Beck down as the latest example of the right wing media darling, the only question being if this self-described rodeo clown will become a harmless buffoon who becomes a self-parody, or if he becomes a figurehead for a frightening reactionary movement. Stay tuned...
Runner-Up: Ben Bernanke
In the unlikely event that Beck can no longer fill its duties as Beast of the Year, Ben Bernanke is ready to take over the crown. Rest assured the BOTY trophy is in good hands either way. As the other big story of the past year has been the continued enrichment of the giant banking monoliths by the US government after the election of Obama, Bernanke, as head of the Federal Reserve, is ground zero of this vast larceny.
In any case, we salute you, Glenn and Ben. Congratulations, and keep up the great work!!!