In the biggest sign yet that Glenn Beck’s fame is on the decline, Beck opened his national Restoring Honor tour in New Jersey yesterday in front of only 700 people in a venue that holds 8,000. Organizers were able to sell less than 10% of the tickets for the event, highlighting the fact that Beck is not the mega draw that Fox portrays him as.
According to the Asbury Park Press, “A crowd of about 700 people, comprised mostly of Tea Party supporters, gathered at Six Flags Great Adventure on Saturday to help kick off conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck’s “Restoring America” tour. Spectators paid $50 for a ticket or $125 for special VIP privileges to listen to speeches by various conservative and libertarian activists, radio talk-show hosts and musicians in a six-hour event.”
Here is some video. Notice all the empty seats:
Organizer Janet Longo blamed the small crowd on the fact that they only had a couple of weeks to promote the event, “We only put this together in a couple of weeks. But I’m glad the people came out.” The problem with this excuse is that Beck has drawn a crowd on short notice before. Remember, 2,000 people showed up on 9/11 for a Beck event with an appearance by Sarah Palin in freaking Alaska for an event that Beck didn’t promote on his Fox News and radio shows. If 2,000 people could show up in sparsely populated Alaska, where was the crowd in New Jersey?
The truth is that much like Sarah Palin, and the Tea Party itself, Glenn Beck on his own, can’t draw a crowd. Despite oodles of media coverage and promotion, all of Beck’s events have underperformed. Before the disappointment that was the Rally to Restore Honor, there were Beck’s assorted Tea Party tax protests and 9/12 group events. The little secret behind all of them is that none of them drew a crowd equivalent to the hype and publicity that the events were given.
This weekend, Beck was even on the cover of The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and he could not attract a crowd. Unlike Palin, Beck has a long track record of drawing a crowd, especially when he is hawking new book, but since his ratings have declined there is no doubt that the crowds have gotten smaller.
This attendance disaster could indicate that Beck, like Sarah Palin, has oversaturated the market to the point where crowds will no longer come out for him. Just like Sister Sarah, Beck is in it for the cash, and he has taken every opportunity to squeeze a buck out of his audience. It is not a coincidence that when Palin is on her own she often draws only hundreds to her events, and only 700 showed up for Beck yesterday. Without the Fox News publicity megaphone or the help of other Fox talent on the bill, the Tea Party audience is extremely limited.
Beck’s popularity has been waning since the beginning of 2010. It was a good ride, Glenn, but I think it is coming to an end. Because the Right seems especially slow to catch on to these things, organizers will continue to believe the hype and pay Beck big money to appear, and lose their shirts when nobody shows up.
Without Fox News, Glenn Beck is nothing. His lunatic Armageddon shtick seems to be getting old even to the very fringe he is playing to and his transformation into Glenn the Evangelist is not putting butts in seats. Like Palin, Beck is on his way down, and history will remember him as nothing more than the voice of reactionary fear and anger after the United States elected their first African American president.
HT: Media Matters