Glenn Beck received a mix of mockery and intrigue last year after crying several times on camera during his Fox News program. Now, the conservative lightning rod's assistants reportedly say he sheds the occasional tear even while rehearsing for the show.
In a Post feature story about the controversial Fox host, Howard Kurtz writes, "Some staffers say they have watched rehearsals, on internal monitors, in which Beck has teared up or paused at the same moments as he later did during the show."
Observers have speculated that his crying may simply be an act to boost ratings. But according to the Chris Balfe, president of Beck's production company Mercury Radio Arts, the fact that Beck does it both on and off camera is a mark of his sincerity.
"Glenn reacts the same way to issues whether he knows people are watching or not, and is proud to show his emotions, unlike the cowardly, two-faced critics who hide behind anonymity," Balfe told Kurtz.
Beck has wept on his show when discussing his love for America and separately while pining for a "simpler time."
"Love him or hate him, Beck is a talented, often funny broadcaster, a recovering alcoholic with an unabashedly emotional style," wrote Kurtz.
His on-camera crying was met with so much fascination and amusement that somebody created a Facebook fan page called "Seeing Glenn Beck Cry." Armed with an image of the right-wing host weeping, it currently has 390 members.
Comedian and faux conservative Stephen Colbert mocked Beck's tear-ups last April by pretending to be choked up about it: "I'm sorry. I just love Glenn Beck's sanity -- and I fear for it."
Kurtz writes about how Beck's "blinding burst of stardom" since the election of Barack Obama has overshadowed most of Fox News, alleging it's a worrying point for some in the organization who believe he's becoming the "face of the network."
"Beck has become a constant topic of conversation among Fox journalists, some of whom say they believe he uses distorted or inflammatory rhetoric that undermines their credibility," Kurtz notes.