I am increasingly convinced that Glenn Beck doesn’t even believe most of what he says. He’s only interested in fleecing his gullible flock. Which he does exceptionally well.

Take this Forbes article, for example.

With a deadpan, Beck insists that he is not political: “I could give a flying crap about the political process.” Making money, on the other hand, is to be taken very seriously, and controversy is its own coinage. “We’re an entertainment company,” Beck says.

I especially wanted to single this next bit out; Beck’s bestselling ode to Thomas Paine was poorly researched off-the-cuff effort that was only published because it could make him money, despite the fact that it completely misrepresents Thomas Paine and his views (most Tea Party folks would lose their shit if they knew Paine’s views on public education, taxes, Social Security, religion…)

His tribute to Thomas Paine, Glenn Beck’s Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government (2009), seemed to Beck, who wrote it over several 2 a.m. fits of energy, to have little commercial possibility; he planned to release it anonymously on the Web. Simon & Schuster disagreed and got the book on shelves in roughly 12 weeks, where it climbed to the top of the charts.

No, Glenn Beck is entirely about making money. Nothing wrong with that, per se, but perhaps the people that worship him as some kind of luminary should open their eyes to the truth:

He’s selling you what you want to hear, and he doesn’t even believe what he’s saying.

“I don’t necessarily believe that [what Beck says] is reflective of his own personal politics–I don’t even know if he has personal politics,” says Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers, a trade magazine devoted to talk radio. “I see him as a performer.”

In the halls of Mercury’s midtown Manhattan office hang pictures of Beck’s heroes: Orson Welles, Jack Benny, Paul Harvey, Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope. But it is a photo of Walt Disney that hangs alone outside Beck’s corner office. “I aspire to Walt Disney’s never-ending quest to try to improve the quality of what he’s doing,” Beck says, hands flailing, eyes intense, “his never-ending vision of yes, it can be done.” Not to mention his building one of the most lucrative and durable entertainment empires of all time.

Orson Welles – an FDR style progressive, but who’s professional career as an entertainer was prolific, and in many ways is reflected in Beck’s frenetic and megalomaniac style. Jack Benny – one of the leading American entertainers of the 20th century. Paul Harvey – one of the best examples of someone who “never let the truth get in the way of a good story” and was legendary at product promotion during his radio shows; Salon called him the “finest huckster ever to roam the airwaves”. And Bob Hope, of course, was the greatest entertainer I’ve ever known.

While most of these other entertainers worked very hard to avoid alienating a portion of their potential audience, it was being controversial that earned Beck his. He won’t step away from that as long as it continues to make him money.