Posts Tagged ‘Glenn Beck’

Glenn Beck off the Deep End

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

It seems like Glenn Beck may have finally gone too far.

The week that the Egypt protests broke wide open, Beck seemed to go off the deep end with his talk of how the peaceful protests in Egypt demanding the end of Mubarak’s rule could be a precursor to the eventual establishment of an Islamic Caliphate that would take over the entire Middle East and potentially spread into Asia and Europe.

If you didn’t know that Beck was a pasty faced huckster with no real sense of international politics or history, then you might get really freaked out watching him manipulate his touchscreen to create a phosphorescent Islamic Caliphate out of the entire Middle East and then explain how Spain, France, Britain and Italy could come under the sway of the new Caliphate because they also have some Muslims living in their countries. Beck goes on to weave a complex tapestry of conspiracy, which includes among its members both President Bushes, “the Left,” and labor unions, just to name a few. In fact,  throughout the week Beck tied the Islamic caliphate theory to quite an impressive list of Fox News villans, including Islamic Socialists, ACORN, Code Pink, Anarchists and Bill Ayers, all of whom Beck claimed were engaged in a  ”well orchestrated campaign” to pave the way for the caliphate.

The next week, Bill Kristol at the American Standard, the most idealistic (Pollyanish?) of the neo-cons, called Beck out. Kristol contrasted Charles Krauthammer’s words of caution about events in Egypt and Beck’s paraniod ravings, noting:

hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.

In fact, as Chris Matthews pointed out, Beck’s paraniod ramblings seems to be cribbed directly from the John Birchers‘ recent talking points.

In the month that has followed, a number of prominent conservatives have joined Kristol in denouncing Beck. Joe Scarborough (no fan of Glenn Beck before) called him ”bad for the conservative movement” and said that he was “losing it before our eyes.” Peter Wehner, from the uber-conservative website Commentary, called him the “most disturbing personality on cable television,” and urged conservatives to distance themselves from him before he “blows apart professionally.” Time columnist Joe Klein noted that he had heard from more than a few conservative sources that “prominent conservatives” have approached Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes and pushed for his ouster at Fox.

While Fox has never been a network particularly concerned with the truth, perhaps a better motivator may be Beck’s declining ratings: January’s ratings were the worst he’s posted since his Fox show debuted in January 2009.

My own take on this is that two trends are driving this backlash against Beck and people like him:

First, the country has had a full two years of heart rending bitter partisanship. While Obama and Pelosi were running the country and the Right was fully mobilized against them, there was a strong tendency toward cohesion. The nutty conspiracy theories that Beck was spouting were tolerated because they were aimed at a common enemy. Now that the inexorable march toward liberal “tyranny” has been stopped, people are looking for a respite from the continual pitched battles between left and right. This has shown up not only in Beck’s declining ratings, but in public opinion about Sarah Palin after she clumsily and agressively went on the attack after Gabby Giffords was shot. At a time when the country needed healing, Sarah Palin showed the same pettiness that she has shown throughout her career, and the public took note. While Obama delivered a stirring speech on the need to come together as Americans and tone down the rhetoric, Palin once again seemed obsessed with her own public image and sense of victimhood.

In a similar vein, the Republican victory is revealing cracks in the facade of conservative unity that were obscured during the fight against a common enemy. These cracks were conspicuously on display during the Egyptian protests.  Neo-cons who still believe in Bush’s “freedom agenda” have a far different worldview from the cautious realpolitik that Repulicans like Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft used so effectively (and that Obama’s team has tried to emulate), and Glenn Beck’s Bircher influenced conspiracy theories are almost diametrically opposed to the neo-con worldview. As events unfolded in Egypt, you had people like Beck and others basically arguing that Muslims can’t be allowed to have democracy and neo-cons like Kristol arguing that Middle Eastern democracy is essential to achieving our national security objectives.   

While no faction has a monopoly on truth, Beck’s recent rantings are undeniably nutty and it is clear that it’s probably in the interest of the Republicans to distance themselves from him. As Kristol alluded to, we may finally be seeing a replay of the early 1960′s when William F. Buckley famously denounced the John Birch Society in the National Review.

The secretive Birch Society had views that were not far from Beck’s. It’s founder, Robert Welch had called President Dwight D. Eisenhower, ”a conscious, dedicated agent of the communist conspiracy” and he claimed that the US government was “under operational control of the Communist party” (can’t you hear Beck saying something like this on his show?).  

In his 1962 editorial, Buckley called Welch “idiotic” and “paranoid” and said his views were “far removed from common sense.” This effectively banished the Birchers from the conservative movement for almost 50 years, until  they re-emerged in 2010.

Could we be watching history repeat itself 5o years later? I won’t hold my breath, but this might be fun to watch. 

Scarborough: Moving Past Right Wing Rhetoric

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Here’s a link to another great Joe Scarborough piece on the Giffords tragedy and his discussion of it this morning.

Scarborough is fast becoming the chief critic of Palin and Glenn Beck in the Republican party, perhaps because of the fact that he is more concerned about the Republican party’s future than he is in saving his own political bacon.

Check this out:

We get it, Sarah Palin. You’re not morally culpable for the tragic shooting in Tucson, Ariz. All of us around the “Morning Joe” table agree, even if we were stunned that you would whine about yourself on Facebook as a shattered family prepared to bury their 9-year-old girl.

The same goes for you, Glenn Beck. You’ve attacked your political opponents with words designed to inspire hatred and mind-bending conspiracy theories from fans. Calling the president a racist, Marxist and fascist may be reprehensible, but it did not lead a mentally disturbed man to take a Glock to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s “Congress on Your Corner” event.

Good on ya, buddy. You weren’t personally responsible for the slaughter at the Safeway. Maybe you can put it on a poster at the next “Talkers” convention.

MEOW!

Later in the article, he makes the point that it’s not only the right thing to do to call out people who engage in this kind of rhetoric, but it’s probably the politically savvy thing to do as well because, while overheated political rhetoric might be a great way to win elections in midterm years,

Presidential-year elections are driven by a completely different demographic. Good luck trying that “Second Amendment remedies” crap on swing voters in the suburbs. It just won’t fly. And neither will the cacophony of crazy talk that has gripped the far right for the past two years.

Nice to know that at least some nationally known Republicans have managed to survive the Obama-Pelosi years with both their brains and integrity intact…  

BTW, The reference Scarborough makes to Bryon Williams and the Tides Foundation is about a guy dressed in body armor who was on his way to shoot up the ACLU and the obscure San Francisco based Tides Foundation last July, but who was stopped by the police for drunk driving and decided instead to take on 10 CHP officers. I wonder where he could have heard about the Tides foundation?

Glenn Beck: The Puppetmaster

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

This is brilliant.

Check this out first.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
George Soros Plans to Overthrow America
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor The Daily Show on Facebook

Then this.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
The Manchurian Lunatic
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor The Daily Show on Facebook

Jon Stewart on Fresh Air

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Great Terry Gross interview with Jon Stewart.

Topics include his upcoming Rally to Restore Sanity, Glenn Beck, the showdown with Jim Cramer, the abdication of responsibility on the part of the media, how the daily Show is put together and his early career as a stand up comedian.

Stewart is a Modern Day Mark Twain.

If they had You Tube in the 1800′s… well, you get it.

The Shameful Saga of Shirley Sherrod

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

A little more than a year ago, Shirley Sherrod addressed a meeting of a local NAACP branch and told a poignant personal story about how she successfully struggled to overcome her prejudices twenty four years ago and learned that the struggles that she had witnessed poor black farmers go through in rural Georgia were very similar to the struggles white farmers were facing. Her story was a beautiful modern day parable about overcoming pre-existing prejudices and dedicating oneself to the cause of assisting the poor regardless of race.

This past week, that speech was used as a political football in a cynical game that eventually cost Shirley Sherrod her job and once again ripped the scab off the race issue in America.

The backstory can be read here or watched here.

It is a story that is shameful on so many levels and in so many ways.

It is shameful that Andrew Breitbart posted the edited clip of a speech about an experience of racial reconciliation that occurred 24 years ago and twisted it into a claim that Sherrod was bragging about racial discrimination in her current job. It’s shameful that Fox News used its usual lack of journalistic integrity, not-so-subtly stoking white backlash with fears of pernicious “reverse discrimination” at the hands of the “liberal elite” in the Age of Obama.

By now, we’ve come to expect these kinds of things from the conservative media and it shouldn’t surprise us. What is surprising is the fact that the NAACP was so nervous about condoning “reverse discrimination” (after calling out the Tea Party for their racist elements) that they condemned Shirley Sherrod without apparently even watching the tape of the speech that occurred at their event.

But perhaps the most shameful part of this whole incident is the way that Tom Vilsack’s Department of Agriculture and–by extension–the Obama White House, so cavalierly threw this woman under the bus, demanding her resignation without doing a full investigation or even allowing her to defend herself. Sherrod reported that Cheryl Cook, an undersecretary in the Department of Agriculture, wouldn’t even allow her to return home, demanding that she pull over in her car and text her resignation to the department since she was “going to be on Glenn Beck tonight.”

Really? Glenn Beck?

They fired a woman for allegations of racism without looking into them because they wanted to preempt a pasty-faced huckster conspiracy theorist who regularly spouts paranoid fantasies about how Obama and his administration are part of a socialist plot to impose their “deep seated hatred of white people” on the country?

It’s not surprising that these nutjobs are trying to hijack our democracy with misinformation and lies. We knew that already. What is surprising is that the very people they are trying to throw out of office and discredit are playing right into their hands.

This incident would have been the perfect catalyst for a multiple point indictment of the right wing media, their pre-existing agenda and the lengths they will go to make facts fit their pre-existing narrative. It shows how they are so craven that they can take a great example of racial reconciliation and turn it into a Bizarro World accusation of racial discrimination. This would have been a perfect time for the Administration to dig in their heels and expose Fox News and Breitbart for what they are.

But they were so busy running away in fear that they surrendered without a fight.

They’re gonna need to be tougher than that if they want to turn those poll numbers around.