Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:
Bill-O said that he doesn’t think that Obama is a Socialist, but Limbaugh and Beck think he is. Beck said, “If you wanna be technically accurate, he’s not a not a Marxist. He’s not a Socialist. He is a Progressive…The spirit of it. The idea is, people don’t understand what progressive really means. The difference between Marxism and Progressivism is Marxism has a revolution, like what Van Jones would like to do. Progressivism says bit by bit we’ll eat at the Constitution in the name of progress.
O’Reilly defined progressivism as, “Progressivism wants to take your stuff. That’s it. That’s what it is. They want to take your stuff. Beck added, “I will go a step further. They don’t just want to take your stuff. They want to control every element of your life.” O’Reilly wouldn’t quite go that far, “Maybe…I don’t think Obama cares what you do in your spare time.”
What Beck and O’Reilly did here was use the basic propaganda technique of name calling. The name they want to label as the enemy of democracy is progressivism. The propaganda won’t be effective if they first don’t define the term progressive, which is what Beck does when he equates progressivism to Marxism, and since the Marxists became the Communists who were the enemies of the US during the Cold War, this makes progressives the modern Marxists and the enemies of America.
That is a nifty little trick they pulled there, but it isn’t accurate at all. In order for the right wing effectively demonize the word progressive, they first had to change the terms meaning. The American progressive movement was originally a turn of the 20th Century movement of modernization and progress that featured Republicans, like Teddy Roosevelt and Robert La Follette. If this doesn’t seem very Marxist, that is because it wasn’t.
What the right wing has managed to do is take the classic European definition of Progressivism and apply it to American liberals, who are too terrified to call themselves liberals, so they cower in fear behind the inaccurate term progressive, with their intended result being to turn the word progressive into a political smear, just as conservatives did with the term liberal decades ago.
The point which was lost on O’Reilly and Beck is that they are applying the wrong definition to the wrong group of people. This was an example of Fox News propaganda at its finest. They fed their viewers inaccurate information, which they passed off as fact in order to advance the right wing agenda. This was propaganda 101 from Fox News and company.