Glenn Beck: On Outrage and Empathy


For The Curious,

A few months ago, my friend Alex Banayan was doing radio shows and podcasts to talk about the publication of his book: The Third Door.

I helped mentor Alex through that book – which is now a national bestseller. So I know how much work he put into it, and also the difficult period he went through when his father passed away not long before the book was published.

That’s why I was struck by a moment that occurred when Alex went on Glenn Beck’s program. Early in their conversation, Glenn asked Alex about his dad. Alex did not expect the question coming and was noticeably knocked off balance. Then, I heard Glenn act in a way that really told me something about him.

Instead of boring in to make a dramatic moment, he took a commercial break and let Alex compose himself so he could feel comfortable when the conversation continued.

I sensed that it was more than an act of kindness. I sensed there was an empathy in Glenn that goes very deep. My conversation with Glenn on this week’s episode went to that place. And it actually traces how the death of Glenn’s mom when he was 15 – a suicide – shaped Glenn’s life.

When Glenn subsequently moved in with his dad and stepmother, he was forbidden to speak about his mother or his mother’s death. And this internal compression actually led him to what he now calls his best friend: the microphone.

Glenn went on to host shows at CNN and FOX, and to start his own Internet television network back in 2011, around the time that Netflix began streaming content. It was a visionary move that many people in the industry thought was nuts. But hundreds of thousands of members of his right-wing audience came along with him.

Over time, Glenn has come to see that the sense of outrage he promoted has done its part to divide the country. And his new book, Addicted to Outrage, is a call for changes that America needs to make to get back a sense of balance.

This podcast is exactly the kind of conversation that sheds light on someone we may only see on the surface, and it makes me feel like I’m in just the right place. I hope you enjoy our talk as much as I did.

You can listen to it above.

There will also be video highlights from the conversation up on the Big Questions Instagram page, the Big Questions Facebook page and the Big Questions YouTube page. Much thanks to Glenn’s team for recording the conversation with a three-camera shoot so that it can be shared.

This pushes me to new territory, and it feels like something much bigger is developing.

We’ll see where it leads. For now, thanks for coming on the journey with me.



Kevin Hekmat1 Comment