David Brooks: Doing What He Does Best

David Brooks doing what he does best; and that is, miss the real story.

Brooks: Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, have no power because they can not merely summon a wish, and have millions act upon their specific command.

Wow, Brooks is amazed, and so reasons they have no real power or influence because they are not Merlin the Magician! (Except when it comes to turning non truths into believable assertions, that is. Then, sometimes, they are pretty Merlin like.)
He also suggests:

They are enabled by the slightly educated snobs who believe that Glenn Beck really is the voice of Middle America.
No, they are enabled by those who do not directly address and illustrate the pattern of wildly manipulative, and often profoundly ignorant representations engaged in, or who dismiss them as "unimportant" and to be ignored because, well, those same "slightly educated snobs" (who write for the NY Times, in this instance) don't tend to listen to them.

Beck is a somewhat deranged, rhetorically gifted genius, who has a very difficult time not only telling fact from fiction, but from not relying upon those fictions to support his often incendiary and outrageous views. He taps into a nerve, because hyperbole and outrageousness aside (which also, to many, make him appealing), he reaches a general distrust and concern that people have, as well as plays upon the very ignorances that he himself does great service to wildly exacerbating.

And it is in this quality — their effect upon general mainstream information and perception, and the overwhelmingly influence upon the nature of our debate that this small handful of not very well informed by wildly accusatory and fanciful pundits otherwise thus have — that these pundits are far far more important than they should be. Not in their ability to singlehandedly, and magically, make millions change their primary voting predilections near instantaneously, as Brooks otherwise ludicrously reasons.

It should also be noted that Brooks essentially uses the example of John McCain, somewhat exaggerating these pundits’ scorn for him, to make his point. But for the 2008 primaries and general election, McCain easily pulled the most dramatic character change, from a somewhat media beguiling and crafty statesman, to blatantly Machievellian figure, perhaps ever occassioned on our national stage.

And he did so why? Because he was not far right enough otherwise to win the nomination. And what are Beck, Limbaugh, and Hannity, essentially?  Far right.
But Brooks missed that little detail, too.  [The people that argue that because Beck sometimes rips into Republicans --notice it 's almost never far right Republicans -- plays to populist undertones, or makes wildly hypocritical libertarian leaning suggestions, he is not simply a slightly libertarian tinged far right winger, are misssing what Beck does as well.]

If by Beck and the like being “enabled” by “educated snobs” who continue to dismiss them as being “so obvious” to people, while notparticularly in the media – making the effective case as to how wildly misinformed and misleading these same pundits are, particularly given their enormous audiences and constant mentions — then yes, Brooks is correct here. But Brooks does not state anything like this.  But perhaps it is high time some of our “real” pundits like Brooks, however, started to.