Many of our long time readers are well familiar with the work of Alexander Zaitchik over the years in Think Magazine. His witty and direct to the punch style builds up layers and layers of facts until the big picture slaps you in the face for not seeing it.
This spring, Wiley & Sons will release his first book, Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance . It is the first in-depth look at this bizarre conservative icon for the new century - his biography, his shtick, his politics, his business, his "meaning."
Half of the book chronicles his coke-fueled years as a Top 40 deejay, his early talk radio success in Tampa, and his rapid rise to multimedia super-stardom.
The second half of the book analyzes his worldview, his tactics, and the shifting media and political landscapes that have enabled him to become the second most influential conservative voice in the country (behind only Rush Limbaugh.) The book's most detailed case studies examine Beck's high-profile campaigns against Van Jones and ACORN.
It's too early for reviews, but below is a sampling of the critical response to the four-part excerpt he published at Salon in September:
"Horrifying... Chillingly informative." - Christopher Knight, The L.A. Times
"A must-read." - Michael Tomasky, The Guardian
"Highly recommended." - Sarah Posner, The American Prospect
"Fascinating." - Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic
"Fascinating." - Joe Conason, The New York Observer
"Superb." - Glenn Greenwald, Salon
"Edifying." - Todd Gitlin, Talking Points Memo
"A terrific antidote to Beck dreck." - Kevin Drum, Mother Jones
"Yeoman's work. Zaitchik digs deep." - Simon Malloy, Media Matters for America
"Despicable, yellow journalism." - Glenn Beck, Fox News Channel