The 2010 Beck Apocalypse: A Year of Lies in Review

Glenn Beck Sells the Apocalypse

With the year drawing to a close, Media Matters remembered some of Glenn Beck’s low points for 2010. They’re pretty low; after all, Beck was Media Matters’ “Misinformer of the Year” for 2009. Unfortunately, he seemed more than equal to the task:

  • Asserting that “violence will come. And violence will come from the left. Violence is part of the plan.” He accused the Left of “setting up another Oklahoma City” and claimed that progressives support “armed insurrection.”
  • Claiming that “We are headed towards a thugocracy.” Glenn Beck has likened the Obama administration and progressives to Mussolini, Stalin, Nazis, Al Qaeda, and vampires. He insists that a cabal of radicals who hate the country is operating out of the White House.
  • Equating unions for TSA employees to a “private army” for Obama. Beck also said unions have “raped” police and fire fighters, and that violence is a “self-fulfilling prophecy” of labor unions.
  • Describing progressive policies as murderous, apocalyptic and conspiratorial. Beck called a proposed food safety bill a “perfect storm” that was about “control and eventually starvation.” He called net neutrality a “hostile takeover” and said health care reform amounted to “pulling the plug” on seniors.

They started me thinking, these absurdist claims.

  • Violence is in the rhetoric of the right-wing, in Tea Party and the Republican Party. It is notably absent in left-wing rhetoric. It is the conservatives who are pro-gun, pro-secession, armed, and forming militia units and talking about asserting Second Amendment rights. The allusion to Oklahoma City is especially ironical since that terrorist act was the work of a right-wing bomber, not a progressive.
  • Thugocracy, if this charge can be taken seriously at all, thugocracy came about when Bush won in 2001, immediately setting about plundering not only the United States but Iraq when it was conquered. Halliburton is only the tip of the iceberg. The real threat at this point is from theocracy, which Republicans, Tea Partiers and Beck all seem to support. Of course, this theocracy will support a right-wing thugocracy as a matter of course, especially if in the control of Grifterella herself, Sarah Palin.
  • The TSA reference is fascinating, since it is Republicans who want to outsource the TSA’s job to some private firm, which would make it a private army in the same way Blackwater became a private army for President Bush. But they won’t just peek through you clothes, they will rape you, and you won’t have a right to complain. We’ve seen how Republican-sponsored private security firms behave.
  • Progressive policies are murderous, apocalyptic and conspiratorial? Yes, Glenn, and your Christian fundamentalism is not at all apocalyptic, or don’t you share the beliefs of your close friend Sarah Palin? Fundamentalist Christianity is all about the apocalypse. And murderous? It was a Republican administration that invaded Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and brutalized and tortured others in violation of International Law and the Constitution. And conspiratorial? Really? It’s the corporations who want to take over the Internet, Glenn, not the government.

And Glenn won’t tell you how he’s profiting from selling the Glenn Beck apocalypse:

Glenn has taken everything conservatives have done and want to do (publicly) and leveled them at the door of the left. It isn’t the work of a few minutes to show what he has done. Google or Bing it, and see for yourself.

There is no more substance to Beck’s rants than there were to Coulter’s. And what’s going on anyway, has there been some passing of the torch? Or did they agree that Coulter would condemn liberals while Beck took care of progressives? Whatever happened, they are both consistently and diligently avoiding facts in their nasty, fantastic narratives.

Beck is a purveyor of fiction, and poor fiction at that. Good fiction, at least is believable. But Beck can’t offer us anything of the sort. His blackboard can’t conjure anything remotely believable. He invents things, yet constantly complains that nobody is talking about it. “Why isn’t anyone talking about it?” he shrieks.

There is nobody talking about it because it is untrue, Glenn. You made it up. Until you lied about it on your show today, nobody had even heard of it. You might as well start your show by saying a dragon ate your underwear. Why isn’t anyone talking about that?

Oh that’s right: it didn’t happen.

Sadly, all too many people do believe Glenn, including people who go on to murder others, inspired to do so by his lies. People gather around the radio to eagerly take in his most salacious gossip, all too willing to believe it because it feeds their fear and their suspicions. This is how Hitler worked too, sowing doubt and fear, feeding paranoia and suspicion and xenophobia and homophobia. Little separates them in terms of what they say and how they say it. And that’s not Godwin’s Law; it’s a fact.

Sadly, Glenn Beck is living proof that dishonesty pays. There is such a thing as a perfect crime, and Glenn Beck is committing it.

5 responses so far

Humbug: Glenn Beck Charges $125 A Ticket In Ohio Town With 15.8% Unemployment

Dec 14 2010 Published by under Featured News

In the spirit of Christmas, Glenn Beck will be bringing his radio and TV shows to economically devastated Wilmington, Ohio tomorrow, and he is even inviting residents to join him at his radio show taping. Of course, Beck being the “populist” that he is, will be charging the residents of a county where unemployment is at 15.8% $125 to attend.

To the surprise of no one, except maybe Beck himself, Glenn is having a bit of trouble selling tickets. Despite the fact that his appearance is tomorrow, seats are available starting in the seventh row of the 999 seat Murphy Theatre. This fact has more to do with the $125 price tag of tickets to watch Beck tape his radio show than it does the popularity of the Fox News host.

You see, Wilmington, Ohio has been devastated by the Great Recession. The town lost 10,000 jobs when their major employer DHL closed down in 2008, and is still mired in an economic nightmare.

Here is the background from CBS’ 60 Minutes:

Fast forward to 2010, the unemployment rate in Clinton County, where Wilmington is located sits at 15.8%. The overall unemployment rate in Ohio is 9.9%. Into this daily struggle for survival, steps Glenn Beck to spread a little holiday cheer for the small price of $125, or $500 if you would like to personally meet the conservative embodiment of populism. Beck gave a preview of his message to Wilmington today on his radio show.

Beck told the people of Wilmington, “We’re going to go do a show there tomorrow, and we’re going to show the nation that you don’t have to be depressed. You don’t have to hold your hand out and cry about it. You can stand up, and stand together, and pull yourself up, and that is exactly what Wilmington is doing. The small towns are going to give us the answer and the way out, and Wilmington, Ohio is going to lead the way.”

As Media Matters pointed out, in his feel good conservative story of self-sufficiency, Beck neglects to mention that Wilmington has received $13 million in federal funding, “So in total, approximately $13 million in federal funds have flowed into Wilmington in recent years. But Beck pretends the town isn’t accepting “any money from the government.”” The real kicker is that the very theatre will Beck will be taping has $300,000 in federal aid, and is set to get $1.5 million tax payer dollars to cover the cost of refurbishing.

Glenn Beck sells himself as the everyman populist, but only an out of touch egomaniac would attempt to go to a town where unemployment is running rampant and literally sell the message, at hundreds of dollars a pop, that these people need to stop whining and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. It is an insult to every single unemployed or economically struggling family in that county that Beck would dare charge $500 for the chance to meet the Pasty Prince of Propaganda in person. Beck claims that his appearance there tomorrow has gotten an overwhelming response. I guess selling six rows worth of seats is what passes for overwhelming in the imagination of Glenn Beck.

If Beck was a true Christian or actually cared about the plight of the people in Wilmington, he would be putting money back into the community, instead of trying to extract rare and precious dollars out. Why isn’t Beck appearing for free? Why isn’t he donating the cost of tickets to see him to help feed the hungry over the holiday season? The answer is that two things matter to him more than anything else, money, and Glenn Beck. Many of us have known for a long time that Beck is a fraud and a phony, but stealing from the poor during Christmas is something straight out of A Christmas Carol. America, it is my great displeasure to introduce to you Glenn Beck, the multi-millionaire media Ebenezer Scrooge.

Note Beck’s website claims that all “net proceeds” will go to local non-profits. It should be noted that Glenn is not donating the total proceeds, but the net. This means that after all costs associated with the events, some local unnamed likely politically allied with Beck non-profits will get a small cut after Beck takes his for appearance fees and expenses. Don’t be fooled. There is a big difference between donating ALL proceeds and net proceeds. Beck will make sure that he gets paid.

76 responses so far

Palin, Beck, and Limbaugh: The Idiot Influence in American Politics

Dec 11 2010 Published by under Featured News

American politics is out of control and it’s not only because of the lies and deceit from Republicans, or their incessant call for less taxes and corporatism. The problem is that pundits, media celebrities, and think tanks are defining the narrative for ignorant voters and it is destroying democracy.

Radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh spout hateful racist commentary to their audiences and rail against imagined enemies to the point that their lies become reality to listeners. Does Limbaugh have expertise in governance or setting policy for America, or is he just an entertainer? It is obvious that although he has no standing as an elected representative, he does wield power over the Republican Party, and their relationship is strong enough that he is a featured speaker at Republican functions.

Glenn Beck is not an elected representative, but he “educates” his audience daily about government and Obama’s Socialism and tyranny. Beck is instrumental in pushing the Tea Party agenda on his radio program and his show on Fox adds visual acuity to his vitriolic rhetoric against all things not Glenn Beck. Although Beck and Limbaugh are staples in the nonstop attacks on Democrats and especially President Obama, it is Sarah Palin who is most offensive.

Palin holds no political office, and in fact, quit her job as governor when her incompetence became well-known and she became the target of investigations for malfeasance. The question is; what does Sarah Palin do? She weighs in on every subject as if her opinion carries any weight outside of her moronic Facebook followers. It doesn’t matter that every time Palin opens her filthy mouth, she gives her detractors reason to belittle and demean her.

It is also curious that the main stream media gives Palin coverage when she is a big nothing in American government. Does the media give Palin attention because they think she has any prescient insight Americans can learn from, or do they publish her remarks so intelligent people can deride her? In a non-scientific poll, 70% of men said they like Palin because they want to have sexual intercourse with her. The remaining 30% said that regardless of her attraction, they wouldn’t have sexual intercourse with her because she is too stupid. Outside of the ignorant Christians and gun fanatics who worship her, Palin’s reputation is little more than a joke.

Palin is a clown and a curiosity for most Americans, and few think she is qualified to lead the country. Her reality show on The Learning Channel is one big advertisement for guns and Sarah Palin. Does the network believe that Palin beating fish and shooting majestic animals is a teachable moment? Palin’s show is a mutual benefit for the network and her, but it sends a message to Americans that she is little more than an idiotic killer. Even Karl Rove has commented that Palin or her show do not represent leadership necessary to be president. Karl Rove is not a politician either, but he at least has experience in government; although why he continues to wield power is a mystery; unless one follows the money.

The problem with allowing entertainers and pretenders to educate and inform the voting public about issues is that, like all things American, they are fueled by money. Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, and the commentators on Fox News are money-making machines, and that is not bad in itself. It is bad that their unilateral opinions favor the party that is raping America and they are responsible for much of the support Republicans have today. It doesn’t matter that their commentary has as its basis nothing but lies and deceit; they are making money for themselves and conservatives.

If Americans were intelligent, they would look to more than one source for their information about American government they elect. But Americans are lazy and full of hate so they hear exactly what they want to believe whether it is true or not. The main stream media is culpable as well as Fox News and the lying entertainers because they refuse to cover stories that expose the lies from the right wing entertainers.

It is sad that so many Americans listen to the likes of Beck, Limbaugh, and Palin to learn how they should vote.  American politics is becoming a carnival with clowns and actors setting the narrative and policy of one political party, and it has damaged democracy in the process. Voters base their beliefs on lies from Beck, Limbaugh, and Palin, and refuse to look elsewhere for verification or repudiation of alleged facts from the right.

The midterms demonstrated what happens when voters choose candidates based on an entertainer’s endorsement. Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, and Joe Miller are examples of idiots who are so bizarre that voters rejected them for their ridiculous views and policy statements even though they enjoyed undying support from Sarah Palin.

Until Americans learn the issues that shape America’s future, we are in for a wild ride. There is no justification for listening or following the suggestions of money-grubbing entertainers who have no sense of what government is or does. But that is what happens when people with no standing in the governing process make policy for Republicans from a position of stupidity.

Although Beck and Limbaugh are hate-mongers, everyone knows their game, but why anyone would listen to Sarah Palin is a mystery. She is wrong all the time, makes up facts to suit her pea-brain, and has no standing in the government. Just what does Palin do? What gives her the right to weigh in on every single issue in politics? The answer is so obvious; Americans like success stories and Palin has parlayed a failed political career into a multi-million dollar industry. It always boils down to money; truth is not relevant.

7 responses so far

Republicanism Kills History on Contact

Dec 04 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Republicans are fond of describing liberalism as a disease of some sort which infects the body politic, weakening it and eventually, destroying it. You’ll find this on countless conservative websites and blogs. You will find it on the racist white supremacist site Stormfront. This is no coincidence. You can Google it (feel free to take some time to laugh, or perhaps to cry).

The truth of course seems to be rather the opposite. Liberalism, the idea of liberty, the endorsement of the idea that people possess certain inalienable rights – natural rights – is a development of the European Enlightenment. Liberalism freed Europe from the Dark Ages and from the horrors of state sponsored religion, from inquisitions, holy wars and witch burnings.

Before liberalism, it was impossible to talk about individual human rights.

Disease?

No. Liberalism is not the disease. It is the cure.

Republicans hold that universities are places of evil because they are liberal-leaning – meaning students are not properly indoctrinated per Texas School Board Standards.  Academics are obviously as ill-thought of as under various totalitarian regimes – Communism and Nazism come to mind. In this anti-intellectual atmosphere, education is a weakness and people with book learning are, in a monumental display of insecurity, to be despised and feared.

Any of us who have cited our sources in our writing have experienced the reaction, generally an infantile rejection along the lines of “you’re childish!” – a remarkable claim from people who apparently can’t think without being told what to think. The poster of Reagan shown above is really rather ironic. Conservatives really don’t believe in common sense.

Remember, modern Republicanism, wedded to Christian fundamentalism (Christofascism), endorses the idea that choice is heresy (and yes, that’s the meaning of the word heresy – choice). If common sense and choice entered into it, it is difficult to believe so many Republicans would say the absurd things they say, let alone believe them.

Speaking of absurdities (and childishness), you can’t go far down that road without Glenn Beck’s name coming up.

Media Matters for America presents a truly remarkable example of Republicanism’s historical revisionism. Glenn Beck has become obsessed with historical parallels, mostly recently with the Roman Empire. He fancies himself a student of history (much like Newt Gingrich, I suppose) but he shows the understanding one would expect of somebody who got their history from comic books.

Glenn Beck Invents Roman History

Some of Beck’s mischaracterizations:

  • Beck Points To Beginning of Roman Empire As Example Of “What’s Happening To Us”
  • Beck Ignores Years Of Slaughter To Claim Octavian Rose To Emperor “Without Violence”
  • Beck Misleadingly Claims Roman Republic Was Characterized By “Freedom”
  • Beck Incorrectly Claims That First Emperor Of Rome “Refused To Be Called Caesar”
  • Ignoring Caesar, Beck Calls Octavian “The Last Guy Of The Republic”

If you know any Roman history you are now pulling your jaw up off the floor. Neither Hollywood nor Television are famed for their faithfulness to the historical record, but even the HBO miniseries Rome got history better than Beck. In fact, it is difficult to imagine getting history more wrong.

There are a great many lessons to be learned from history, but as philosopher Georg Hegel observed, “What experience and history teach is this – that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it” (Philosophy of History, 1832). We can add Glenn Beck and the Republican Party to this list.

But then, we are talking about principles here.

It might seem remarkable that a person who occupies such a public position as Beck would not bother to check his facts, but then Beck knows his audience – his audience won’t fact check. They listen avidly, feverishly, hanging on every word – and believe all of them. They have had their Republican-approved history lesson and they will all feel the required levels of righteous anger at the evil liberals who have brought low the American Republic.

It doesn’t matter that the evidence speaks to the opposite conclusion because they won’t be checking the evidence either.

Beck, like other Republicans, have fabricated a history more congenial to Republican ideology. Real history – that is, the actual facts of the past 2,000 years, are inconvenient – Stephen Colbert’s reality has a liberal bias lament. Since the real history won’t do, a new one must replace it. History books must be re-written in the same way the Communists and the Nazis rewrote the history books. History must be understood from an ideological perspective. The problem is, history does not survive contact with ideology. If you invent the history, what can you learn from it?

Nothing.

You can justify what you have done, but what you have done is in ignorance or defiance of the past and its lessons. Marx’s demonstrably false claim that “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” (The Communist Manifesto, 1847) comes to mind.  Demonstrably false, yes. Yet millions died for that demonstrably false claim.

If the Republican revision of history runs its course, millions more might die from their demonstrably false claims. Bush made a good start in Iraq. Other Republicans want to continue to pogrom in Iran or North Korea. And they kinda like the idea of state-sponsored religion too. It’s no accident that the only vice-presidential candidate to have a witch hunter for a pastor is Sarah Palin.

Ironically, given Beck’s complete disregard for Roman history, it was a Roman historian who said it best: “The knowledge gained from history is the truest education and training for political action” (Polybius, The Histories).

It’s a shame Republicans seem aware of this, and would rather do whatever they want and then re-write the history books to justify it because they’re not the only ones who will pay the price of their ignorance.

6 responses so far

Just in Time for Christmas Glenn Beck Calls The Suffering of the Poor A Lie

Dec 01 2010 Published by under Featured News

Glenn Beck recently celebrated the fact that millions of people will lose their unemployment benefits by Christmas, by using his Fox News program to call the idea that the poor are suffering a lie. Beck labeled the poor greedy and said, “What’s poverty in America today? Well, we just want our stuff.”

Here is the video from Media Matters:

While defending the rich, and claiming that they don’t get justice Beck “debunked” the “lie” that the poor are suffering. Beck said, “When you get things for free you don’t appreciate them. We don’t appreciate the things we have, and I mean even me, we don’t appreciate our country because it was handed to us. Instead, we just long for things other people have. We never have enough. We shouldn’t begrudge millionaires or billionaires. Our grandparents would have taught us that we could be the next millionaire or billionaire. Hell, it’s America.”

Then Beck attacked the poor, “We’re often told about the plight of the poor in America, and there is poverty in America, but let’s put it into perspective here. The poor in America 97% of them have television sets, 25% of those television sets are big screens. That’s poverty? 89% have a microwave. 80% have an air conditioning unit. 73% of the poor in America have a car. 64% have a washer. 57% of have a dryer. We have been sold a lie that that’s not enough. How much is enough? What is economic justice? Do I need to remind Americans what poor really looks like? I got news for you in other countries they’re not washing their clothes and sitting in air conditioning watching their big screen TV’s. They’re dying. That is poor.”

After comparing today’s poor to the Great Depression, Beck claimed that the poor are just greedy, “What’s poverty in America today? Well, we just want our stuff.” The point Beck was trying to make, just hours before millions of Americans lost their unemployment benefits was that the poor aren’t really poor. They are greedy people who want more stuff, but who don’t want to work to pay for it. Beck’s message to all of the people who are facing the prospect of going hungry this Christmas is to stop being greedy and get to work.

Two million Americans are set to lose their unemployment benefits by Christmas, while Republicans and Glenn Beck tell us why millionaires and billionaires deserve more tax cuts. America is on pace for a record increase in poverty. The poverty level is expect to reach at or near 15% of the population, and 20% of children will be poor. Poverty among working age people is expected to hit its highest levels since the 1960s, but to Glenn Beck and the right the people are the undeserving poor.

Notice how Beck didn’t present any actual statistics about hunger and poverty? In the 1980s and 1990s the myth used to demonize the poor was that of welfare recipients driving Cadillacs. In 2010, the big screen TV has replaced the Caddy in the attack on the poor. The reality for the poor is something that Glenn Beck and Republicans don’t want to discuss. The poor in this country face a daily struggle for food and shelter. If they are lucky enough to have a job, it is probably at somewhere like Wal-Mart where pay is low, overtime is often not compensated, and benefits are non-existent.

In 2010, millions of Americans aren’t going to have a Merry Christmas. They will spend their holidays haunted by the looming specters of debt, hunger, and possible homelessness. Since this reality is not comfortable, and facing it would make the right’s position tax cuts indefensible, they have created a false reality where poverty is the fault of the poor, and they can justify not aiding the those in desperate need because they are undeserving.

People are suffering, and no amount of tax cuts for the top two percent can fix that. The issue of the unemployed and the poor is the perfect example of why bi-partisanship is an impossible dream in American politics. People like Glenn Beck are creating a false reality for the right every day. The right is living in a fantasy world where the unemployed and the poor are leaches on society who don’t deserve the government’s help.

It is true that the goal of the right is to take America back to the 1920s, and the sooner the left, and the White House, realize that the very existence of millions of Americans is under attack maybe they will stop getting distracted by TSA scanners, and start to see the real issues and the big picture. The lives of millions of Americans are literally depending on it.

125 responses so far

Glenn Beck Claims That Fox News Is Chock Full of Liberals

Nov 29 2010 Published by under Featured News

On his radio show today Glenn Beck and co-host Pat Gray made what could perhaps be labeled as their most fantastic claim yet. They claimed that Fox News is crawling with liberals, “How many liberals does Fox have on the network? Many. Not just guests either, there are some who actually host programs.”

Here is the audio from Media Matters:

Beck co-host Pat Gray claimed that Fox News is full of liberals, “How many liberals does Fox have on the network? Many. Not just guests either, there are some who actually host programs. I mean yes. Can you think of any? I mean they come immediately, they spring immediately to mind. This idea, this notion that I have clearly stated in the past that there are no dissenting points of view on Fox, it’s ridiculous. It’s unbelievable. Beck chimed in with, “ Well it doesn’t matter, because look, once they start going down this trail, they’re done.”

What I found most interesting is that Gray used the same argument to defend Fox News that racists use to defend their hiring practices. Compare, Gray’s statement, “How many liberals does Fox have on the network? Many. Not just guests either, there are some who actually host programs,” to, “Sure we have lots of black people who work for us. In fact, some of them are even managers.”

Wow, who knew that Fox News was just crawling with liberals? I love their liberal shows like….hmmmm, you know, and then there is that other…..wait a minute, there are no liberal shows on Fox News. I guess Beck and company were trying to sell Shep Smith as one of the many liberal hosts on Fox, but I don’t view Shep as liberal. Smith is more like a lonely sane conservative island surrounded by a sea of right wing crazy.

I know that Beck and Gray think that their audience is stupid, and if their audience is a little light in the gray matter their condition can be attributed to spending their days listening to Glenn and Pat, but this claim should be an insult even to the intellectual black hole known as Glenn Beck fans.

The very reason that Fox News is so profitable is because it caters to the audience of the closed-minded. The typical FNC viewer does not want to watch a liberal host or guests. If this was what they wanted, they wouldn’t be watching Fox. (To some degree MSNBC follows the same model, but at least some of their hosts like Rachel Maddow and O’Donnell try to give a fair hearing to the opposing point of view. I won’t even venture to include Fox News/Bill O’Reilly styled Keith Olbermann in this discussion). It is a joke that Beck and Gray would even try to sell FNC as a home for dissenting points of view.

The problem with much of cable news is that there is too little discussion from differing points of view, but at least MSNBC is honest about what it is, while Glenn Beck continues to treat his audience like paste eating three year olds, who he continually urges to take their allowance money and buy his latest endorsed trinket, scam, or book.

13 responses so far

It’s A Teabagger Life: Glenn Beck’s Assault On a Liberal Holiday Classic

Nov 24 2010 Published by under Featured News

On his radio show today, Glenn Beck continued his assault on the liberalism of It’s A Wonderful Life by claiming that the Christmas classic has no liberal values. Beck said, “Progressive is about going past the Constitution, and having people at a government level babysit people because they’re all too stupid. That’s the opposite message of It’s A Wonderful Life.”

Here is the audio courtesy of Media Matters:

While attacking Lauri Lebo’s article Glenn Beck Hijack’s It’s A Wonderful Life, Beck and Pat Grey made the claim that It’s a Wonderful Life has no progressive themes. Beck first claimed that the movie is already a conservative film because it is a Christmas movie with God and Angels, “Well first of all, it’s a Christmas movie with Angel in it and God, so I am pretty sure that’s already got the religion theme in it.”

Beck went on to state that Frank Capra’s classic has no progressive themes, “I think the progressive themes are that, you know when Jimmy Stewart is talking about my father had dreams of helping people out. I happen to know that the bank turned down these loans. I think the progressive theme, what they would argue is, is that no there’s justice. It’s this big awful capitalist that is only into money, and we’ve got to progress past that.”

Beck and crew claimed that it was the people who really saved the building and loan in Bedford Falls. The government didn’t bail them out. Beck continued, “You remember, the bank was bailing everyone out along with remember because this was history the government closing down the banks, so they could reopen. The banks and the government were in collusion. I know that’s hard for Lori to understand that might be happening now. It’s the little guy. It’s the independent person that says look I have no problem with the bank. In fact, I celebrate it. Any local bank, they’re not the ones that were in trouble. They didn’t make these kinds of loans. Because just like George Bailey, they knew the people. You know what I know this guy. He’s good for it. He’s good for it. The local banks were the ones that didn’t have a problem. It’s the gigantic banks run by people like Potter that were just trying to get rich and didn’t care about people. The local banks are the George Bailey’s that’s not progressive.”

He concluded, “Progressive is about going past the Constitution, and having people at a government level babysit people because they’re all too stupid. That’s the opposite message of It’s A Wonderful Life.” Beck then offered a simple common sense solution to airport security. He wanted to get rid of all technology and keep it small and local, and let the screeners get to know people.

As usual with Beck, we first need to clear up a bit of history. FDR and the banks were not in collusion. The banks were not bailing people out. The banking system in the United States collapsed under the weight of the one-two punch of first the stock market crash and resulting Great Depression, and a national panic that caused a run on banks. In early 1933 statewide banking systems began to collapse as panic spread and the American people began pulling their money out banks and hoarding it under their mattresses. By March 1933, in 28 states banks all banks were closed, in 10 states banks were some or mostly closed, and in 11 other states deposits and withdraws were restricted to 5%. The American banking system had collapsed.

FDR’s bank holiday wasn’t an act of collusion with the banks. It was done in order to restore faith in the banking system, so that people would bring their money back. The bank holiday was the topic of Roosevelt’s first Fireside Chat where he said, “I can assure you that it is safer to keep your money in a reopened bank than under the mattress.” Once again, Beck completely and inaccurately distorted history.

The second false claim that Beck’s reworked theme of It’s A Wonderful Life depends on is that small banks were not the ones harmed by the most recent banking crisis. According to Standard and Poors, this is simply not true, “Over the past two years, bank failures have been concentrated among smaller, unrated banks that typically have less than $1 billion in assets. Although the loan composition of small banks that have failed over the past two years has varied, one commonality is their relatively large exposure to CRE loans and to both commercial and residential construction loans. In addition, a significant proportion of banks that have failed were located in overbuilt areas (such as Florida or Georgia) or other economically depressed areas (such as Illinois). We believe that problems in the banking sector will likely persist for some time. The FDIC has recently identified an additional 829 problem banks, most of which are smaller banks. This is up from 775 problem banks identified at the end of March 2010.” The small banks have been hit hard by the crisis, because they also made plenty of bad loans while pursing profits.

Contrary to the popular notion, Frank Capra was a Republican, but his films, including It’s A Wonderful Life, had a decidedly liberal populist slant to them. Capra’s films were a reflection of the time in America when liberalism dominated. The political tone of the United States during the Great Depression through the post-WWII period was decidedly liberal. This liberalism would continue until the 1980s and Ronald Reagan. Beck’s reworking of It’s A Wonderful Life tries to turn the film into something that it isn’t. The bank panic on the Building and Loan was `a not so fictionalized retelling of the bank panic during the Great Depression. Capra was capturing the feelings and mood of his country and that sentiment was entirely liberal.

I know this concept is certain to elude Glenn Beck and every other partisan zero sum game ideologue on both the left and right, but Frank Capra was a Republican who made liberal films. George Bailey’s beliefs in people and community come straight from FDR and the New Deal. These were the prevailing ideas of the day. Capra was making his films for a liberal audience during a liberal time, so it is ridiculous for Beck to suggest that It’s A Wonderful Life is conservative epic.

What is so conservative about George Bailey’s behavior? He made loans to people he trusted, even though they might not be able to pay him back. He turned down a job that paid more money. He completely ignored the profit motive. He selflessly put his dreams aside and stayed home to run the family business. He trusted and believed in his community. In fact, the entire film is tribute to communitarianism, which is the very concept that Beck and the Tea Party’s glorification of selfishness and greed attacks every day.

If George Bailey were to be in trouble today, Beck would tell his listeners not to give the Building and Loan any money because that would be not letting the free market work. Apparently, Glenn has forgotten that this is the same argument in support of the fire department that let a Tennessee family’s house burn to the ground because they did not pay the county’s subscription fee for the service.

It’s A Wonderful Life is a reflection of the challenges and struggles that many Americans faced during the Great Depression. It is a Christmas film, but not an overly religious one. It resonates with audiences today not because of its holiday backdrop, but because the story of George Bailey is one that almost every person can relate to. We all would like to believe that in a time of crisis, our family and neighbors will come together and support us. It’s A Wonderful Life lovingly pays tribute to the liberal value of community, and yes, the movie has socialist ideas running all through it, so no matter how much Glenn Beck cherry picks and strains, he can not diminish the unabashed liberalism/progressivism of It’s A Wonderful Life.

4 responses so far

Meet the New Enemies of Glenn Beck: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert

Nov 23 2010 Published by under Featured News


Poor Glenn Beck just can’t let go of his jealousy of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Today on his Fox News program, Beck went on the attack against Stewart and Colbert by claiming that they keep people in denial. He said, “What better way to keep people sheep then making sure that people get their news from a comedian?….Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, that’s not news. That’s a monologue. That’s jokes.”

Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:

In response to a comment from a member of a studio audience who claimed that people don’t get it because they get their news from popular shows, Beck said, “You know, I figured this thing recently. What better way to keep people sheep than making sure, and I’m part of this, keeping sure, making sure that people get their news from a comedian. At least, I’m giving it in context. I’m trying to make the news entertaining to bring people in. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, that’s not news. That’s a monologue. That’s jokes.” Beck’s guest Dr. Keith Ablow expressed the opinions that jokes were like drugs, and they kept people in denial.

Notice how Beck is trying to have it both ways. He claiming to be both a comedian and a trusted source of news, but this is part of what has becomes Glenn Beck’s modus operendi. Beck was not content with being the exclusive source of news and truth for his audience, so he used his 8/28 rally to become their spiritual advisor. Now he wants to move beyond even that realm and become the Oprah for the teabagger’s soul. It was kind of hard to miss how Beck has transformed his “news” show into an Oprah clone complete with studio audience, and his very own teabagging Dr. Phil. Glenn Beck is not only his audiences’ source of “truth” but he also is their connection to God, and now he is their therapist.

The problem is that Glenn Beck’s ego can’t accept the fact that Jon Stewart is more popular and influential than he is, so he has to not only discredit Stewart and Colbert, but he has now labeled them as a dangerous drug to the minds and souls of their viewers. Beck is portraying himself as the noble warrior who is fighting to wake up America from their sleep brought on by Stewart and Colbert. This is an elaborate false construct designed to keep his audience in the dark, and if you watched today’s show, you would know that his viewers are hopelessly clueless.

The success of the Rally to Restore Sanity has lead Beck to make Stewart and Colbert a part of his delusional holy war narrative. The reality is that it is Glenn Beck, not a couple of Comedy Central hosts, who is creating a flock of deluded sheep, who stay high on the drug of fearful crusade which Beck doles out in a dosage which is just enough to keep the junkie hooked, like any good pusher should. Beck is still smarting over the humiliation that Stewart and Colbert put on him, and now he is poised to unleash his Kool-Aid in the direction of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

13 responses so far

Glenn Beck Claims Comcast has Marked MSNBC and Keith Olbermann for Death

Nov 22 2010 Published by under Featured News

On his radio show today, while responding to Jimmy Carter’s claim that Glenn Beck and Fox distort the news, Beck stated that Comcast has marked MSNBC and Keith Olbermann for death. Beck said, “MSNBC is marked for death. Comcast is going to run it like a business…It won’t feature Keith Olbermann and they know that.”

Here is the audio courtesy of Media Matters:

While replying to Jimmy Carter’s statement on CNN Reliable Sources yesterday that he and Fox distort the news, Glenn Beck launched into his own Comcast/MSNBC conspiracy theory, “If I may make a prediction, they are going to make this into a talking point, a regular talking point. You are going to hear the liberals come out and start to throw MSNBC under the bus, and throw them under the bus hard, and here’s why, MSNBC is marked for death. If it is sold to Comcast, Comcast will run it like a business. If it remains liberal, it will just be a good liberal station. It will just run things that will actually get ratings. If it’s not, it will most likely just be a news channel, or I mean, I don’t know what they’re going to do with it, but it won’t feature Keith Olbermann and they know that.”

Next up, the conspiracy, “So just like everyone as soon as they start to outlive their usefulness for radicals and revolutionaries, they shoot them in the head, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen to MSNBC, and they’ll offer up a false choice, they’ll say look we’re willing to get rid of MSNBC and you get rid of Fox and we can have real news. Mark my words, that’s that what they’ll say. We’ll get rid of MSNBC, and you get rid of Fox. Yeah, really you’ll do that? You shoot the shows that nobody watches on one that’s marked for death anyway? Well, how big of you. I don’t think so.”

Ok, let’s break this down. It’s pretty much a given that if Comcast takes over, they will want to clean up MSNBC and run it like a business. MSNBC has been a circus for years, and it desperately needs to be reined in. There is nothing wrong with that. MSNBC could take the next step and continue to grow with a more professional structure.

If Comcast is going to run MSNBC like a business, the last thing they are going to do is kill the network and here’s why. MSNBC makes money. It is a small profit, but their expenses are flat and their revenues are growing. Revenue has really taken off for the network since they moved left. The reason why Comcast won’t turn MSNBC into a straight news channel can be found at CNN. The former cable giant is the only network remaining that does straight news. It is also the only cable news network that isn’t making money.

If Comcast is going to run MSNBC like a business, they are going to invest in the kind of programming that will produce the greatest amount of revenue. The partisan shows make money. Comcast won’t dump them, and they won’t go conservative because Fox News owns that market. Comcast could make quite a pretty penny catering to the under served liberal audience, and they know it.

Beck’s whole conspiracy theory is predicated on the idea that Comcast is going to kill off MSNBC, but he admits in his own comments that he has no idea what Comcast is going to do with MSNBC. He violates his own logic that Comcast will run the network like a business when he claims that they are going to kill it off. He contradicted his own conspiracy theory. Keith Olbermann is a different story. He has been a headache for MSNBC for years, and if the new bosses think that they can do something else with the 8 PM hour that will be less of hassle and make them more money, then they might not renew Olbermann’s deal, but again, it comes down to money, not liberal conspiracy to get rid of Fox News.

What makes absolutely no sense is why Comcast would want to go along with a liberal conspiracy to sacrifice MSNBC to get rid of Fox News? Why would Comcast throw away a profitable resource in order to do away with a network which their owner shares political agreement with? It makes no sense. Whatever occurs at MSNBC after Comcast takes over has nothing to do with eliminating Fox News, or Jimmy Carter’s thoughts on the media.

If anyone on the left actually believes that Comcast has some diabolical plan for either Olbermann or MSNBC, before you go any further, think about this. Glenn Beck agrees with you. That statement alone should cause anyone who is buying into the Comcast conspiracy theory to pause and rethink their views.

29 responses so far

Jimmy Carter Takes A Stand Against Glenn Beck and Fox News

Nov 21 2010 Published by under Featured News

Former President Jimmy Carter was on CNN’s Reliable Sources today where he took aim at both Fox News and Glenn Beck for what he described as deliberately distorting the news. Carter said,”The talk shows with Glenn Beck and others on Fox News, I think, have deliberately distorted the news.”

Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:

When asked by Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz about his comments in his recent book critical of the 24 hour news networks’ reliance on dramatization and exaggeration, Carter let loose on both Glenn Beck and Fox News, “The talk shows with Glenn Beck and others on Fox News, I think, have deliberately distorted the news. And it’s become highly competitive. And my Republican friends say that MSNBC might be just as biased on the other side in supporting the Democratic Party, the liberal element. But that’s part of give and take. And I think CNN, more than others, has kind of tried to play the middle to their detriment as far as viewership is concerned and profits are concerned. So, I think that describes maybe more than I — more than my credentials warrant about what I think about — quickly the balance.”

It is interesting that Carter would go on to include MSNBC in the discussion. Many on the left including MSNBC hosts like Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann have decried the false equivalency that was first brought up by Jon Stewart at his Rally to Restore Sanity between MSNBC and Fox News, but President Carter didn’t actually say that he believed that MSNBC distorted the news like Fox does, but that Republicans believe that MSNBC does the same thing that FNC does, which is a very accurate statement.

Republicans do love to lump MSNBC and Fox News together, but beyond the basic format of presenting programming from a partisan perspective, the two networks could not be more different. Fox News operates as not just a Republican information source, but the network institutionally engages in fund raising and political activity for the Republican Party. MSNBC may put liberal hosts on the air, but they have never fund raised for candidates, nor has MSNBC promoted something like the Tea Party Express.

President Carter’s bigger point is dead on. As more Americans limit themselves to news sources that reinforce their partisan biases, whether they be on the left or right, facts become distorted and warped as they are presented through the prism of partisan narrative. The news has gone from being about what is happening in the world to information that is used on both sides to attribute credit or blame for what is happening in the world to an ideology.

When people stop agreeing on facts, it tears away at the fabric of our society. If we can’t be united in agreement and acceptance of fact then the fragmentation that not only plagues our politics will spill out into the nation itself. Glenn Beck and Fox News have found that distorting the news is a very profitable enterprise. They don’t care about the toxic waste their enterprise is leaving behind. They are the foremost intellectual polluters of the American mind, and it is encouraging to see Jimmy Carter call them out.

71 responses so far

Older posts »