Over the course of his improbable transition from CNN talk-show host to media mogul and Tea Party icon, Glenn Beck has been compared (and has likened himself) to plenty of iconic Americans. More recently, in light of the sustained media spotlight on his "Restoring Honor" rally, he's invited controversial comparisons to Martin Luther King Jr (there was that small detail of him choosing to deliver an address on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial 47 years to the day after the "I Have a Dream" speech).
But the many pundits who have penned MLK comparison pieces appear to have compared him to the wrong civil rights figure. Glenn Beck, in a variety of ways, is like Malcolm X, argues The Daily Beast's Reihan Salam. Salam manages to find ample evidence to bundle together the weepy talk Fox News host and the influential African-American firebrand. Here's the highlights of his take:
Like Malcolm X, Beck terrifies mainstream liberals, who see something sinister in his inexplicable ways. And just as Malcolm X mellowed in his old age, embracing a more traditional interpretation of Islam shortly before his death, Beck seems to be self-consciously moving past the politicized anger that defined his program for much of the past two years towards a heavy emphasis on spiritual uplift for his people.
...One gets the impression that Beck, like Malcolm X and many others before him, intends to lead a spiritual revival, if not a Great Awakening. Somehow I suspect we’ll be hearing about Beck for many, many years to come.