A taping of the Glenn Beck show last night was my first view inside the media-maligned but popularly acclaimed Fox News Network, as I joined thirty or so college-age conservatives in a feature titled “Time to be Heard: Young Conservatives.” Held as a town hall-style discussion, blackboards notwithstanding, Beck directed the group’s conversation to topics including the perils of conservatism in university life, the meaning of charity in a liberal democracy, and the nation’s political trajectory.
The students were the typical young Republican crowd—earnest and sprightly, policy wonkish, and insatiably concerned with national spending, healthcare, student loan economics, and government-expansionist policies. Surprisingly, of the ten or so students who spoke during the program, only two students—a female John Jay student and another female student from NYU—broached social topics, mentioning their pro-life views. As anyone who endured high school parliamentary debate can attest, it’s possible to get fired up about nearly anything, but—perhaps I’m just naïve—I had a hard time understanding the students’ passion for economic policy without requisite mention of social issues, which, after all, concern the rights upon which all policy is predicated.
After the taping concluded, Beck spoke to our group briefly, asking us how he might use his show to help young conservatives’ voices be heard. Inception (2010) While it’s hard to critique Beck’s well-developed, catchy, casual shtick, I couldn’t help but think his show would benefit from, well, a more academic engagement of conservative ideas. Beck is, in his own words, an entertainer as much as a critic, and at one point cited his aversion to confrontation. But I’ve seen him do well with confrontation, and on other occasions, well with intellectual conservative guests. If he can use his wildly successful platform for the good of young conservative college students, inviting a few more conservative intellectuals on his show might be the best move.
“Time to be Heard: Young Conservatives” will air at 5pm on Friday, April 9th on the Fox News Channel.