A billion people hate Glenn Beck

By A. James Memmott

July 11, 2010 at 9:04am

Perhaps a billion people worldwide will watch the finals of soccer’s World Cup today.

Presumably that number will not include Glenn Beck, the conservative radio commentator.

“The soccer thing, I hate it so much, probably because the rest of the world likes it so much,” Beck said on his program. “And they riot over it, and they continually try to jam it down our throat.”

Beck’s tirade - or mock tirade, he does seem amused by himself throughout - came at the end of a logic chain in which he argues:

Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck

Barack Obama’s policies are the World Cup, the United States doesn’t want the World Cup; therefore, the United States doesn’t want Barack Obama’s policies.

As Henrik Hertzberg noted in The New Yorker, Beck is not alone in linking soccer with Barack Obama and/or liberal opinion.

Marc Thiessen of the conservative American Enterprise Institute argued that soccer is a socialist sport because teams at the youth level in the U.S. “don’t even keep score and everyone gets a participation trophy.”

Conservative media critic Dan Gainor, chatting on the “G. Gordon Liddy Show,” notes that soccer is popular in a lot of “third world nations” because it doesn’t take a lot of equipment.

And Liddy brought in the immigration debate by observing that soccer is especially popular with people who speak Spanish.

Hertzberg counters with some numbers, noting that some Americans may actually like soccer, as more than 19 million U.S. viewers saw the U.S. team’s last game in the World Cup, its loss to Ghana.

It is hard to know the political preferences of those views, though given soccer’s popularity in traditionally Republican suburbs, it may be fair to guess that not all U.S. soccer fans are sympathetic to socialism.

That is not to say, however, that the World Cup doesn’t have political or social overtones.

For one thing, the games are being held in South Africa, a country that 25 years ago was an international pariah for its policy of apartheid.

That changed with abolition of apartheid and other segregationist policies, and with the World Cup, South Africa has drawn attention to its progress, as did China with the staging of the 2008 Olympic games.

In addition, the teams competing in the World Cup, perhaps especially those from Europe, have increasingly become emblems of racial and ethnic diversity.

The German team alone is a kind of mini-U.N. Two of the players are sons of Turkish-German parents, another is the son of father from Ghana and a mother from Germany, yet another is German-Nigerian.

Nearly all of the 32 countries that made this year’s World Cup finals are democracies, though some of the European countries do have socialist political parties.

It should be noted that Obama decided to stay in the U.S. and monitor the Gulf oil spill rather than attend the World Cup games in person. Vice President Joe Biden did go in his place. And former President Bill Clinton was at two of the U.S. team’s games.

Obama is a soccer dad, as his daughters play the sport. And in 2008, he was reported to be a fan of West Ham United in England’s Premier League.

However, his primary interest would seem to be basketball, a sport left unmentioned by Beck in his soccer diatribe.

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  • #1.   Ivan 07.11.2010

    I don’t think people even care about that clown, Beck. Heck, he is barely getting ove r a million lunatics to watch his show every night on the Joseph Goebbels network.
    As to futbal’s popularity in the US, there’s every indication that the beautiful game is already America’s game. The haters are a dying breed, literally.
    More people watched the US/Ghana and US/England games than the NBA, NHL, and (gasp) MLB finals.
    A baby league like Major League Soccer already has a higher average attendance than both NHL and NBA.
    With changing demographics and decline of white trash Billy Bobs, futbol will be a top spectator sport in this country in less than 20 years.

  • #2.   Andrew J. COOK 07.11.2010

    Glenn Beck seems to hate poor people. Anyone who espouses compassionate policies that seek to help poor people are branded socialists or worse. He is all about shilling for the rich and big corporations. Beck follows in a long line of demagogues spewing hatred and misinformation. He is most similar to Senator Joseph McCarthy and radio priest Father Coughlin.

  • #3.   Mike Sense 07.15.2010

    Would someone please just shoot the bastard and be done with it? I’d look at it as a personal favor.

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