Commentary: Do we really want to live in Glenn Beck's world?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 9:28pm

Following up on my back and forth with Fox News' Roger Ailes on ABC's This Week, Glenn Beck went on his radio show and attacked what I'd said about him — and, in the process, ended up spewing a lot more misinformation.

Beck's key point of contention was over my assertion that he had warned people that they were in danger of being "slaughtered" by the Obama administration and its friends. Ailes had insisted that Beck had been "talking about Hitler and Stalin slaughtering people, so I think he was probably accurate." Beck and his on-air partners, executive producer and head writer "Stu" Burguiere and contributing editor Pat Gray, tried to stick with that story:

Beck: I don't even know if I've ever used the word "slaughtered." And if I used the word "slaughtered," if it wasn't in a context of Mao, Stalin or Hitler, it was in the idea that the truth is being slaughtered by this administration . . . not saying that this administration is going to slaughter anyone.

Gray: Never, never.

Unfortunately for Ailes, Beck and Gray — but fortunately for fans of facts, reality and the truth — we live in the era of DVRs, YouTube and embeddable video. And what Beck actually said is recorded for posterity. Here is a rant Beck delivered on Nov. 3, 2009, about Service Employees International Union's Andy Stern and the Obama administration:

“I told you yesterday, buckle up your seatbelt, America. Find the exit — there's one here, here and here. Find the exit closest to you and prepare for a crash landing. Because this plane is coming down, because the pilot is intentionally steering it into the trees!

Most likely, it'll happen sometime after Christmas. You're gonna see this economy come up — we're already seeing it, and now it's gonna start coming back down again. And when you see the effects of what they're doing to the economy, remember these words: We will survive. No — we'll do better than survive, we will thrive. As long as these people are not in control. They are taking you to a place to be slaughtered!

Not Stalin. Not Hitler. Not Mao. Not "the truth" being slaughtered. you. "They are taking you to a place to be slaughtered."

So, chiding me on This Week, Ailes said of Beck: "I think he speaks English. I don't know. I mean, I don't misinterpret any of his words."

Well, if Ailes didn't misinterpret what Beck was saying (and if Beck didn't misinterpret his own words), I suppose that means they either weren't paying attention, or they are willfully walking away from the kind of paranoid statements that have become Beck's stock-in-trade.

For context, it's good to remember that Glenn Beck didn't come out of nowhere. He's the latest example of what the great historian Richard Hofstadter called "the paranoid style in American politics," which he defined as angry minds that traffic in "heated exaggeration, suspiciousness and conspiratorial fantasy" and see "the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms . . . always manning the barricades of civilization."

Sound familiar?

Beck preys on fear, political instability and economic suffering, which, in turn, means that Fox News profits from fear, political instability and economic suffering. The questions to ask Roger Ailes are: You put Beck on the air — would you want to live in a world in which Beck triumphed? In which his world view won out? Is that a world you want your children to grow up in?



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14 Comments on this post:

By: idgaf on 2/9/10 at 10:47

I watched the whole tape and you are an idiot if you didn't know he was talking about the economy.

If Beck was a prof in college his cource would be much in demand.

If you are't watcing him you don't have a clue what is really going on in this country.

Notice his facts are not disputed they just call him names and take things like this out of contex.

Much of what he says about barry's pals are documented on video or audio in their own words praising Mao etc.

By: eastnashville37207 on 2/10/10 at 2:33

One thing I like about Beck is that he is honest about both parties being corrupt and it's been going on for decades.

It's called the New World Order and yes there are plans indeed to eliminate the population with stages attacks on our country. Remember George H Bush calling for a New World Order in his speeches, Kissinger does the same thing, alond with George W and Obama. New World Order/New World Government etc etc.
Glenn was wrong regarding the FEMA Camps as there are many being set up with coffins to take care of those of us who do not make it.
The terrorist are our own government leaders that use muslims from other countries as pawns to set up these attacks to freighten us and yes kill us. Remember 911. Christmas bomber was also a hoax and a stage event to freighten the American People to push their agenda of the NWO.
Beck is doing an ok job trying to get the message out that Alex Jones has been talking about for years and now Dick Morris and others are now agreeing that Alex Jones and others where correct. Even Jessie Ventura has had documentaries on our government and the NWO our government has instore for us.
Obama, Bushes, Clinton, Kissinger, Ruppert Murdock, Gov Rick Perry, Rudy, Kerry etc etc are all members of the Bilderberg Group who are all controlled by the Rockefellers, Rothchilds etc can you say big banks as they all rule the backs through out the world and the collapse of our dollar.

Remember when Hillary took Obama to a secret meeting in an undisclosed location? They went to meet those with the Bilderberg Group.

By: eastnashville37207 on 2/10/10 at 2:37

People can also check out Bohemian Grove where all our world leaders and big money people meet and have met for decades.

By: dargent7 on 2/10/10 at 5:56

I would encourage all open minded people, aka "liberals and Democrats" to log onto The Huffington Post.
As for the two right wing nut cases posted below me, one should learn how to spell and the other should take off the tin foil hat w/ matching rabbit ears.

By: artsmart on 2/10/10 at 8:35

I'm not sure about NWO but I can tell you neither party represents the folks in the middle. The sad part to me the middle is disappearing. I;m not sure that this is a thought out process by Government officials, my belief they are so insulated from the rest of us they have no clue. Their only concern for the average citizen is getting their vote after that they care not. I will never understand the staunch party people on both sides. The Dems the minute they do not like the issue being discussed the person is either stupid or racist. The staunch Repubs are scared of their own shadow. It would be nice to have everything be free and an entitlement but that is just not just reality if you want the next generations to have a chance to thrive. Unfortunately we now have a certain portion of the population that believe they are entitled to everything for free.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 2/10/10 at 8:46

artsmart, it is sad that we do not have more centrists in government.

By: pswindle on 2/10/10 at 9:18

He is totally out of toucn with life. He is a dry drunk and a drug head. He is in the same class as Bush becasue both were alcholics and heavy drug users. He is so crazy, he makes me laugh. I can only wach him for abut a minute at a time.

By: Anna3 on 2/10/10 at 9:28

And..........Hardball with Chris Mathews, Countdowner with Keith Olbermann, Rachel Madcow. etc... are supposed to be unbiased...not to mention Katie Couric, Dan Rather, Letterman, etc........??????????????? Get real! At least the Fox nes crowd is being HONEST about the fact that all media is biased...and don't throw up NPR...its the worst. Liberal media simply pushes their stuff like Pablum for the intellectually deficient to obsorb as fact. Liberals all amaze me... they are all so intolerant of others with differing views all while defending the Olbermann's of the world...what phonies they are.

By: brrrrk on 2/10/10 at 9:54

Beck is a dry drunk idiot who wouldn't know a fact if it smacked him up side the head. C,mon folks! Do you really really watch him? And by watch, I mean critically assess what the man says?

One of my favorites is when he harkens back to the days of our founding fathers in an attempt to support his skewed views. His use of Thomas Paine in particular is ridiculous as Paine was about as liberal and free thinking as you can get. But for some reason Beck likes to use him to back up his right wing views, maybe thinking that he might attract some liberals to his side? Who knows what goes through that little pea brain of his.

By: idgaf on 2/10/10 at 11:41

The Tea Party is the voice of the unrepresented centrists that are as mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore.

By: brrrrk on 2/10/10 at 2:11

idgaf said

"The Tea Party is the voice of the unrepresented centrists that are as mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore."

centrists? Now that's funny!

By: govskeptic on 2/11/10 at 7:34

Ms. Huffington is just as loony on her side as Beck and the
others are on their side. A successful website doesn't mean
your doing anything other than talking to the choir!

By: eastnashville37207 on 2/11/10 at 11:18

Faux News isn't being honest either. I must say more honest than others but they forgot to mention that Sarah Palin was chosen by Henry Kissinger (Bilderberg Group/Rockefeller) to be McCains running mate. She is just another pawn for the Bilderberg Group to hood-wink the Republican Party with this so called Tea Bagger.
Let see Palin was for TARP and never talks against them taking your guns away does she?

By: kennyj on 2/11/10 at 3:03

It seems that those who have, and express, opinions formed in their own heads, without the benefit of data, or skewing the data, resort to name calling. Pretty ignorant regardless of who.

Where is the hard data showing Palin was chosen by Kissinger. I'm no Palin supporter, but I discount your opinions.