This point is worth recalling:
let's drop the idea -- pushed hard by Beck himself -- that he's simply a modern-day Howard Beale, from the classic film Network, just an angry, I'm-mad-as-hell everyman lashing out at the hypocrisies of our time. Nonsense. Beale's unvarnished on-air rants from Network targeted conformity, corporate conglomerates, and the propaganda power of television. ("This tube," he called it.) Beale's attacks were not political or partisan. Beck, by contrast, unleashes his anger against, and whips up dark scenarios about, the new president of the United States. Big difference.
It's also striking to me that Beale's frustration was a long, long time coming. This has erupted in three months. And in protesting fiscal recklessness, there is no clear attack on the people who actually brought us to this sorry state: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. If they were burning effigies of Bush to protest the massive debt we now face, I might take their good faith more seriously.