Glenn Beck, Environmentalist?

Wed Feb. 24, 2010 1:40 PM EST

Is Glenn Beck, right-wing TV superstar and Tea Party darling, a closet treehugger? If you've read his books or watched his show or listened to his radio broadcast, you'd consider such a question insane, even blasphemous. But as our own Kate Sheppard writes, Beck's private views on the environment and climate change are startlingly different from his public stance:

In fact, Beck appears not only to be convinced that global warming is real, but that it's a genuine problem. "You’d be an idiot not to notice the temperature change," he [told USA Weekend recently]. He also says there’s a legit case that global warming has, at least in part, been caused by mankind.

The article also says that Beck has felt compelled to "buy a home with a 'green' design and using energy-saving products." "I’m willing to do anything but use the CFLs," he tells USA Weekend, referring to energy efficient light bulbs. "I put them in once and couldn’t stand the way they lit up the room." These are hardly the words or actions of a hardcore climate denialist.

The comments—made in passing during the course of a longer interview—attracted almost no attention. But they've stirred up a frenzy among right-wingers in certain corners of the web who are horrified to hear their standard-bearer sounding suspiciously like Al Gore. Prison Planet, a news hub for conservative conspiracy theorists, called his remarks "a shocking stab in the back of conservatives who consider Beck to be their anointed leader." A post on the interview provoked more than 200 comments on the right-wing website Free Republic, with one asking whether Beck was "moving to the left," and another saying the news was the "final straw for Beck with me." WorldNetDaily attempts to explain the remarks by musing that they perhaps reflect Beck's "kinder, gentler" side. (In the same interview, Beck also admits to liking liberal celebrity George Clooney, and it's noted that his publicist is Matt Hiltzik, a Democratic heavy hitter who worked on Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign.)

On his show, Beck had plenty of criticism of the USA Weekend story. But he didn't raise any objections to the article's portrayal of his environmental views. That must leave his supporters contemplating the possibility that when it comes to climate change, Beck may not really be one of them.

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