Ablow Job

Headline in the current edition of The New Republic:

Right Mind

Meet Glenn Beck’s shrink.

Lede:

It’s roughly two weeks shy of the September 12 march on Washington, and Glenn Beck is distraught. Behind him on the cavernous Fox News set is Beck’s familiar dry-erase board, upon which various insults are written in Beck’s looping print. “This is what people have said about me just this week … the blogs and everything else,” Beck says, before proceeding to tick off a few: hysterical, cult leader, shameless opportunist. There’s a quaver in Beck’s voice and a familiar dewiness in his eyes when the host finally sits down next to Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and Fox News contributor with a gleaming Lex Luthor pate. How, Beck asks Ablow, should he respond to ravings like these?

Ablow’s answer to Beck is immediate and emphatic, delivered with crisp hand gestures and a faint but noticeable New England accent. Think of your critics as drug addicts, Ablow suggests, before changing gears and exhorting Beck to be strong. “We need leaders to be willing to say, ‘You know what, I’ll take the pain.’” Ablow’s arms briefly go cruciform. Beck nods. “And you gotta know who your friends are,” Ablow continues before adding, softly, “and I’m one of your friends.” Beck’s murmured, emotional “thank you” arrives moments later.

Beck then pivots toward the camera, bright of eye and apparently rejuvenated. He proclaims that “some things are worth standing up for” before thanking Ablow and charging into the commercial break. For Ablow, the in-house psychiatrist at Fox News, it has been another successful session.

That would be pride-of-Boston Keith Ablow, a paragon of shrink-rapped wisdom.

Except . . .

In hindsight, it was only a matter of time before Ablow and Fox found each other. Though he mostly played it straight early in his career–a degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, a grant from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, bylines inThe Washington Postand Newsweek–there were always signs that he was a different kind of psychiatrist. In a profession that has valued gray areas since Sigmund Freud defined neurosis as “the inability to tolerate ambiguity,” Ablow–like any good conservative culture warrior–believes in the Truth, capital T. For Ablow, Truth is both his singular objective and the center of his personal brand. His 2007 self-help book is titled Living the Truth, as is the website for the online self-help community he created around it, and he uses the word with a frequency most people reserve for personal pronouns.

To heighten the psychological tension, insert this backstory via the New York Post:

Writer (briefly) disowns ‘hit’ piece on Dr. Ablow

Nut graf:

A freelance writer for The New Republic apologized to Dr. Keith Ablow because editors turned his profile of the best-selling psychiatrist and frequent TV guest into “a silly hit piece” — but then apologized to the editors for saying that.

David Roth was assigned to profile Ablow, but after writing 10 drafts of what he intended to be “an interesting article on an interesting guy,” Roth said he was told his editor would rewrite the story himself to make it more “direct.”

Early yesterday, Roth e-mailed Ablow a lengthy apology, a copy of which Page Six obtained, saying his story was re-edited to be “crude and dorky and unilluminating” and “snarky and full of a bunch of stuff that just plain sucks.” The article, which went live on The New Republic’s Web site yesterday, was an even-tempered, if somewhat critical, take on Ablow’s appearances on Fox News Channel’s “Glenn Beck” show.

Somewhat critical?

Read the whole piece.

As my good friend Emily Rooney would say, it’s a toe-curler.

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3 Responses to Ablow Job

  1. Curmudgeon says:

    Good theater, but isn’t all of this just theatrics?

    And ask yourself (-selves) if the reiteration and commentary isn’t playing into the theater?

    If such things were allowed to pass, people like Beck and Matthews, and O’Reilly and Olberman would have gone the way of Carville and Novak and Crossfire by now.

  2. sharethisurlaboutglenbek says:

    You may enjoy my blog, The Glenn Beck Review.

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