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Chasing Glenn Beck: A Personal Experiment in Reclaiming Our Hijacked Political Conversation Paperback – December 16, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Review

"Chasing Glenn Beck is a unique memoir from Michael Charney, a Republican who believes that the fear-driven hardcore right-wing fringe is destroying his party. Chasing Glenn Beck is a fascinating discussion on today's political climate. Highly recommended." --Midwest Book Review

From the Back Cover

Is Glenn Beck a liberal?

Perhaps not, but when Michael Charney decides to plant that idea out in the "Twitterverse" some interesting conversations begin. People shout at him (MORON!), block him (SCUMSUCKER!), and belittle him (WAKE UP, IDIOT!). Eventually, though, some people start to listen.

Today's political dialogue has been stolen, hijacked from us by those with the loudest voices. Until we begin to take that conversation back for ourselves, we remain at the mercy of those with the most radical agendas, the most extreme visions, for our country.  The risk is great: a country run by a vociferous minority that just happens to scream louder than the rest of us is NOT what democracy is supposed to be about.

With discussions about politics, education, national security, manifestos, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Flag Code--and the Senate Candy Desk--Charney cuts a wide swath through the issues facing our country, a country he claims has a serious case of "Electile Dysfunction."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Riddle Brook Publishing LLC (December 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984792708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984792702
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,327,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The most interesting parts were about how Twitter works. Much less political commentary than a story about the author getting sucked into the online obsessing of how he rated online. It was eye opening and understandable how people today end up thinking they are "winning the game" and somehow becoming important through ratings but if you want to know anything about the sad, distructive character Glenn Beck this isn't the book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was pulled in immediately by Michael Charney's writing style which was was personal, honest, and funny. He made me laugh and stay connected with the material from start to finish. But mostly he made me think. Think about politics. Think about life. Think about the choices we make every day. This wasn't just about Glenn Beck or Twitter, though I learned a lot about both. It was how we can engage with each other in all aspects of life, with respect, even when we disagree. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
Reading about what motivated Michael Charney and how he went about immersing himself into the Twittersphere as a way to understand the dynamics of political discussion in present-day America was truly enjoyable.

An unexpected benefit was how it helped to increase in my understanding of Twitter. Make no mistake, though, this is no dry read of definitions for things like hashtags and common Twitter abbreviations. It is a very witty but also serious and reflective treatment of how people communicate - and often fail to communicate - within and beyond the limitations of a tweet.

I lost count of the times I laughed out loud, as well as nodded my head in acknowledgement of a sad truth and then glimmers of hopefulness for a society that often seems to drift toward the gravitational pull of whomever is the loudest and most hyperbolic. (That's a hint, but doesn't give anything away. And don't let the title fool you. Thankfully, this is neither an attack nor a worship of GB.)

For me, this is a book about us as a society and what blind faith and extremism is doing to erase what little civility, rational thinking, and reason is left in American politics and the discourse surrounding it.

Buy it! Buy it for your Tea Party uncle and your Occupy Wall Street nieces and nephews. Buy a copy for yourself, too.
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Format: Paperback
If you follow politics closely--and are fascinated by the role of the media in the current presidential election--you'll love this book. The concept is, admittedly, odd. The author decides to conduct a Twitter experiment, trying to convince others that Glenn Beck isn't a true conservative. I found the idea ludicrous and thought the concept was the weakest part of the book. But I found his observations about GOP politics insightful, and his growing obsession with Twitter/social media a lesson we can all learn from. The book is very well-written and engaging--I recommend it highly.
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I have experienced a growing frustration with the rancorous nature of political discourse and have watched with great distress as reasoned, respectful debate has been buried under invective, distortions and flat-out lies offered by the extremists of both parties. These people dominate the media and, to a great degree, control the debate. Often they are professionals whose income depends on how nasty they can make it. And the worse they get, the more people I meet who feel like they no longer have a voice.

This rancor is nothing new and has been taking place since the origins of politics, yet somehow it is beginning to feel more dangerous. Perhaps it is the amplification level of people like Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann-- who I, like Mr. Charney, suspect are actors who don't actually care about policies and outcomes. They are just getting rich.

Mr. Charney's book presents a unique take on the subject, through the use of his Twitter experiment as a narrative thread. As we follow his progress building a Twitter following, we learn about all sorts of other stuff that helps make the current state of nastiness both possible and desirable for so many people. Along the way he covers such territory as the cognitive processes that allow people to believe utter nonsense in the face of overwhelming contradictory information; how the anonymity of online discourse spurs personal attacks in lieu of reasoned debate; why it's too risky for politicians to actually try to fix things; and one of my favorite subjects-- how the pundits, media and the online screechers constantly present every issue in black/white terms, when all I see is shades of grey (not the erotic novel series, gawd.).
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