Glenn Beck has risen to fame as the voice of America's distressed conservatives, but the famous author and media personality's greatest strength may lie not in his skill as a speaker or pundit, but rather as a marketer. This was put in sharp relief this week as Beck simultaneously released his latest book and drew widespread attention for his endorsement of a survivalist food company.
Hitting shelves on Tuesday, Beck's latest book, Broke, drew attention to his impressive marketability as an author. His eighth print book (he's also published three as audiobooks), Broke plays to Beck's ability to balance anger and hope. Like three of the author's books that made The New York Times bestseller list, it offers a critique of America's progressive history, finishing with what the subtitle describes as "The Plan to Restore Our Trust, Truth and Treasure." Speaking of the book on his radio program, Beck suggested that Broke ends on a positive note, offering "Real solutions to restore our trust, our truth, and our treasure. And really the first two, once you do the first two, trust and truth, treasure will restore itself."
As an author, Beck usually finishes with a sunny outlook, but as a paid spokesman, he tends to paint a dark picture of the future. A longtime spokesman for Goldline, a gold investment company, he endorses the rare metal as a hedge against a collapse of the dollar. In an interview with Goldline's CEO, Mark Albarian, he paints a somewhat surprising worst-case scenario, arguing that "You have to think like a German Jew in 1934 . . . People had food, diamonds, gold, artwork, anything of value that people would say, oh, you know what, things are going to change. So I'll be able to trade in gold or whatever."
Beck's recent endorsement of a survivalist food company reflects a similarly grim outlook. Foodinsurance.com offers freeze-dried meals that, according to the website, will remain edible for up to ten years. The company asserts that this product "protects us and gives us peace of mind," and finishes by asking "Why not make sure you and your loved ones are prepared with enough food and water to survive the ever-increasing number of disasters in the world?"
The dark theme continues with Beck's endorsement, in which he describes his relief after buying food insurance. Looking at his crates of freeze-dried meals, he claimed that he felt a load rise off his shoulders as he realized, "I could lose my job and my family will eat." For millions of workers who have lost their jobs over the past three years, Beck's endorsement probably seems especially trenchant.
But what of the rest of the country? While layoffs can threaten food security, Beck notes that they aren't the only potential threat. In a promotional video, the pitchman offers a vague warning about the unforeseen dangers that are out there: "Do the easy stuff now. Prepare yourself now for what we all hope won't happen . . . but probably will if you're not prepared."
For Beck's fans, the commentator provides a compelling and addictive mix of best-case and worst-case scenarios, simultaneously outlining what he feels America needs to do while warning about what will happen if his suggestions are ignored. While neither Beck's predictions nor his prescriptions may come to pass, one thing is certain: either way, the master of all conservative media is sure to make some money.