Jason talked the other day about Glenn Beck’s claim that he is not peddling hate. But if he is not peddling hate, why does he seem to be telling listeners to “shoot them in the head” on his June 9th episode?
A video of Glenn Beck saying “shoot them in the head” has been making the rounds, purporting to show Glenn Beck urging that people be shot in the head. It’s 22 seconds long and it never really reveals who is to be shot. As a smoking gun, it must be admitted that the clip is insufficient, being clearly taken out of the larger context of the discussion taking place.
The Blaze reports that “Liberals have used the statement as proof that Beck is calling on his audience to take up arms against the government.”
The video clip in question:
The Blaze says that the full context of those comments reveals that Beck is actually “was discussing what might happen if the progressives succeed in rallying the left to violent revolution.” I guess trying to build up hatred of the left isn’t hate speech, and neither is saying people are going to have to be shot in the head. Here is the longer clip which provides the context. See what you think:
Glenn Beck even went on the radio to try to justify his remarks, saying ““I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”
It might be best to mention here, since Glenn curiously does not, that The Blaze is a right-wing blog founded by Glenn Beck. This is not, as is the impression given, some independent, fact-finding blog. It is Glenn Beck’s blog, founded three days after his “restoring honor” rally in Washington. He says it is an alternative to “mainstream media outlets”, which Beck says are “distorting facts to fit rigid agendas.” For the sake of honesty (speaking of distorting facts), that should have been revealed. Of course The Blaze is going to defend Glenn Beck.
“You” Glenn says refers to the leftist politicians and “they” are the potential revolutionaries (including Nancy Pelosi) who, he says, have called for a violent revolution (they have not). He says “they” will kill “you.”
Here is the transcript from FOX News (the full episode transcript can be found at that link – this is only the part matching the clip):
Just because you in Washington and you who are so out of touch with life in the media, just because you don’t believe in anything doesn’t mean nobody else does. We do. You know why you’re confused by this show? It’s because I believe in something. You don’t.
Tea parties believe in small government. We believe in returning to the principles of our Founding Fathers. We respect them. We revere them. Shoot me in the head before I stop talking about the Founders. Shoot me in the head if you try to change our government.
I will stand against you and so will millions of others. We believe in something. You in the media and most in Washington don’t. The radicals that you and Washington have co-opted and brought in wearing sheep’s clothing — change the pose. You will get the ends.
You’ve been using them? They believe in communism. They believe and have called for a revolution. You’re going to have to shoot them in the head. But warning, they may shoot you.
Glenn says he is calling violence “on himself.”
I think this is more than a little disingenuous on Glenn’s part. He is telling an outright lie about liberals in order to create a climate of fear – “communist activists” he calls them. He says they “might shoot you.” They are armed and dangerous (an almost laughable lie given the relative positions of left and right on gun control and the complete absence of armed left-wing militias). Even if he is not saying that he or conservatives are not going to shoot people in the head, he is still talking about shooting people in the head; about the need to shoot people in the head.
This is precisely the kind of rhetoric we do not need today. This is precisely the kind of language that incites people to use violence against liberals. Fear them. They’re violent. Fear them. Liberals are dangerous. Progressives “believe in violent revolution and death camps.”
This is okay? This is benign? “You will have to take me to one of your death camps because I will never shut up. Never, never, never.” Glenn hopes he will have the “Bonhoeffer courage.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, you may remember (is this where we call “Godwin’s Law!”) was a German Lutheran pastor, martyred by the Nazis.
Glenn Beck the Martyr? Even the suggestion that Nancy Pelosi and liberals like her would line people up against the wall and shoot them, or that they “might shoot you” is reprehensible and beyond the pale. This is the kind of fear and hate Glenn is stirring up.
But Glenn says since he wasn’t telling his listeners to shoot anybody that all’s good. No apology needed. Just make up lies about liberals and progressives wanting to shoot you. That’s okay.
I fail to see how any of this makes the words in the clip any more benign. Panterico’s Pontifications says the charges are groundless. Right-wing blog Red State says “Glenn Beck Did Not Tell His Audience To Shoot Anybody.”
Maybe not. Maybe he didn’t urge his listeners to shoot anybody. But what about the incitement of hatred? What about the outright fabrications about left-wing revolutionary intentions are concerned? What about the fear he is trying to incite among his listeners? Let’s face it: “shoot them in the head” is violent imagery. He used that term for a reason. He didn’t have to use it. He could have used different language. But that is not Glenn’s way. He has, and always will, go for the lowest common denominator and the most extreme position possible in his denunciation of what he charges is left-wing extremism.
Listen to both clips; read the transcript; listen to Glenn’s radio “apologia”: decide for yourself what he said, what he meant, and if it is all as benign as he claims.