Glenn Beck launched the next phase of his career on Monday with the premiere of his new network and his two-hour Web TV show.
Beck is banking on the Web to help him maintain his status as one of the country's influential (and controversial) media figures. His new show looked and felt nearly identical to his Fox News show, from the set to Beck's emotional, freewheeling monologues. The difference, of course, is that he has complete control over the program. As he put it, "if it doesn't work, I'm flat broke. But I don't owe anyone a dime." He told his audience that he would never pander to them because he did not consider them "morons," and that he would always tell them the truth.
Beck spent much of his first hour on the 9/11 anniversary. Unsurprisingly, he zigged where others have zagged. Beck said that he found it to be a "complete and total disgrace" that the first responders who came to the site of the attacks were not invited to the 10th anniversary memorial. The city said there was not enough room to accommodate them because of the number of family members and security at the site. Beck felt that this was a shoddy excuse. He also called the lack of clergy at the memorial "a slap in God's face."
"I think they've tainted this ceremony, tainted this space," he said. He also criticized the government and the developers of the new World Trade Center for a variety of other sins, including not leaving the lights of the tower on all night to honor the attacks and building the tower so slowly.
"The memory of 9/11 has been bastardized," he said. Later, Beck got choked up at several points recounting 9/11, and he brought on some of the first responders who had apparently not been at the anniversary memorial on Sunday.
Beck also weighed in on the controversy surrounding Paul Krugman's recent blog post on the attacks, which many conservatives have condemned for saying that 9/11 has become "poisoned" by political exploitation.
"I notice that the points he made are nearly identical to the points made on a blog on AlJazeera.com," he said. "Al Jazeera and the New York Times are one and the same, finally. Welcome to GBTV, where we can finally say that we are very, very different from Al Jazeera."