Raining Tears | Private Eye | Salt Lake City Weekly

Raining Tears 

The conservative crying machines sing the same old tune for millions.

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Few things are as predictable and consistent as San Diego weather. Even with our mountains covered in snow, Salt Lake City feels like San Diego as I write this. But such a sensation is neither predictable nor consistent in Utah. Today, we don’t need jackets outside and more than a few shirts have been tossed to the wind. Tomorrow, those same fellows might be seen eating walrus blubber for fuel and skinning yaks for extra warmth. It’s like that in Utah—the exact opposite of San Diego on 364 days of the year.

But, that’s just the weather. Utah is a fair place to use the words predictable and consistent when it comes to other matters. Such as, Utah will vote Republican in national elections until the second coming of Christ. Never mind that Christ was visiting this past Palm Sunday and many Utahns failed to notice. Or, that Utah always does well in spelling bees. Or, that Utah is not a good place to live if you are either a trophy elk or a trophy wife. The trophy elk will be shot soon enough, and the trophy wife has no place spectacular to go to show off.

Or, that Utah is considered money in the bank by the best and brightest of American minds—Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. If ever any of those folks have a statue erected in their honor, you can predict upon even odds that said statue will reside in Utah. There’s nearly nothing that they can say that will not be accepted as part gospel here in Utah, which is consistent with the way Utahns accept all kinds of kooky conspiracy theories ranging from race relations to sexuality to vote tallies on American Idol.

The above, the Conserv6 as I like to call them, are known to many Americans as right-wing talk radio wackos, Fox News cult leaders, pseudo-journalists, liars and blowhards. Three of them are women that even Rasputin would reject. That hardly matters in Utah. They’re heroes here, a couple of them so highly regarded that they’ve hosted the most holy of holy events: Provo Utah’s annual patriotism placebo known as the Stadium of Fire. There’s something about the smell of smoldering magnesium that musters the locals into an orgy of cash-register sales and singing off tune. The Conserv6 are there for such people, even if just to light the fuse.

For years, this group lacked a magical sixth member that more easily divides into the number of hours in a day. As such, their heavy-handed preaching, liberal baiting, Obama bashing and never-ending book selling appeared diminutive thanks to the fractional hours of daily propaganda those five felt personally obligated to deliver. But, it gradually became clear that even the most die-hard right-wing advocate could barely tolerate 4.8 hours of Sean Hannity daily. Not to mention that ugly dog Rush Limbaugh. His message became so tired that when Limbaugh wished failure upon President Barack Obama, people of his own stripe criticized him—they could smell blood. He message needed a rest.

Enter the sixth man: Glenn Beck. Now that Beck has switched to Fox News, his national ratings are nearly that of veteran shouter Bill O’Reilly. With ratings like his—at the horrible dinnertime hour at that—Beck simply had to be admitted into the hierarchy of conservative talking heads. The good news is that Americans are spending less time with Ingraham and Coulter. The bad news is that Beck has taken up their slack. Is that good for America? Only if you really think dividing even numbers into even numbers is a good thing.

Because, other than that, his message is Hannity’s message, is O’Reilly’s message, is Limbaugh’s message. It’s just a new package and one with a special twist. Beck is a self-professed crybaby, a trait that genuine and credible crybabies like me easily recognize as horse crap. He cries about his success.

He cries about 9/11 families (when not criticizing them, that is, as smartly pointed out in a pinpoint skewering by Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert). He cries about the flag. About the dollar. About the Wall Street bailout. About the auto bailout. About the size of his paycheck.

He’s a crying machine. It’s only a wonder outside of Utah what took Beck so long to bust into the starting lineup of conservative pundit quackery. Utahns regard crying an accepted art form and God’s evidence of repentance, faith and honesty. Cry enough around here and you can consistently and predictably make a million bucks—enough to fly away to San Diego on.

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About The Author

John Saltas

John Saltas

John Saltas, Utah native and journalism/mass communication graduate from the University of Utah, founded City Weekly as a small newsletter in 1984. He served as the newspaper's first editor and publisher and now, as founder and executive editor, he contributes a column under the banner of Private Eye, (the original... more

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