Glenn Beck is an accessory to murder. I think that many people have known this for a long time now. Of course, he’s never pulled the trigger himself, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is responsible for making killers into what they are, and ordinary gullible people into violent conservatives.
Conservatives have always been a violent group, supporting militarism, retribution, and a tribal us versus them worldview. Vicious rhetoric is no stranger to them. But not since the era of Senator Joseph McCarthy before have we seen such violent rhetoric normalized and promulgated over mass media. Fox ‘News’ is omnipresent throughout today’s media, and their formula to success is to promote sensationalism with a mob mentality. Their very red meat is presenting exaggerations, half-truths, and outright lies as news with impunity.
There are no fact-checking organizations that have the same reach as Fox into the public square, so many of their assertions are simply repeated as facts until proven wrong. Even then, Fox acts as if they either never said anything or did nothing wrong, and simply moves on to the next work of sensational rubbish. Some hold the view that this is okay, as long as people only watch Fox for opinion rather than facts or news. Glenn Beck has proven the power to single-handedly prove them wrong. His opinions, time and time again, incite people to violence.
There’s a litany of examples that I could turn to, but first let’s go to the most recent example of Professor Frances Piven. Ms. Piven is 78 years old, and she is a widow. But these are just things to make one feel even more pity for her -- they’re not even relevant in light of the events. We all know how Glenn likes to find a person and rant about them with the help of his famous chalkboard, crocodile tears, and unfounded accusations. Well unfortunately, Ms. Piven happened to be his latest target.
45 years ago -- yes, you read that right, 45 years -- Professor Piven co-authored an article with her husband about establishing a national guaranteed income. The topic of the article (again, not entirely relevant) was a call for a movement to overwhelm public welfare rolls in order to bring this about. It’s not a view that makes sense to me, because I don’t think that ends justify means. But nevertheless, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a minimum national income. Or is there? There sure is, or at least that’s what Glenn Beck says. According to him, average people with money is known as “the fall of capitalism”. And if we’re talking about the Republican version of capitalism, in which income disparity continues to grow by the year, then I’m actually inclined to agree with him. Disgusting.
Anyhow, it seems like Piven is Beck’s latest Van Jones (remember that?), and his sick lie-filled rants are proving just as effective. Van Jones, as we know, resigned. Well Piven is 78 years old, and a bit past the point where she can just retire from the spotlight to get away from Beck. In fact, she’d already done that -- these articles were written when Beck was only two years old. So why did he do it? Maybe he figured that if he picked any relevant material it would be too easy for people to call him out on his crap. Maybe he’d exhausted his supply of modern ranting material. Or maybe, he’s just a drunken Mormon dingbat that sees something and wants to yell about it. I pick the latter.
But I digress. Ever since Glenn started his deranged little pontifications, conservatives have been doing what they do best -- they listen without thinking, they get angry without seeing why, and then they get violent. And in this case, they threaten to kill. Piven has received threats to her email including, but of course not limited to ‘Die you c***’ and ‘May cancer find you soon’. Comments were posted on Beck’s site directed at her. “Maybe they should burst through the front door of this arrogant elitist and slit the hateful cow’s throat.” “Big Lots having a rope sale I hear, you buy the rope and I will hang the wench. I will spin her as she hangs.” Beck’s program has never even tried to contact Piven.
Of course, Beck claims to denounce violence. Fox claims to denounce violence. But this, of course, is just another lie in a long string of fabrications from the people responsible for a litany of death threats, pressured resignations, and even killings. If they cared about these threats, if they did not support these threats, they’d delete them from their websites, they’d apologize, and Beck would speak out against them on his show. Hell, I’ll make a vow right now -- if anybody ever comments on my site with a serious death threat, I’ll delete it. And if it lasts long enough for somebody to catch wind of it, I’ll apologize. It’s only the right thing to do.
Threats of violence and death from Beck’s crowd are old news to us, and old hat to them. What’s (only slightly) newer? Actual killing. Of course, he didn’t quite make it, but let’s start with Byron Williams. He planned to drive to the Tides Foundation with his rifle, shotgun, and pistol, and go on a killing spree. Luckily, the police pulled him over and arrested him after a firefight, but that’s not where his story ended. In prison, he gave interviews, expressing his love for Glenn Beck’s program in particular(along with Alex Jones and others), and how it was Glenn’s vicious attacks on the Tides Foundation, over many programs, that validated his desire to kill eleven people or more.
Wouldn’t all of this be enough? After shootouts, attempted murder sprees, and twisted death threats, couldn’t a person just call it quits? Admit that what they were doing wasn’t helping, or at least change their course of action so that they were sharing opinion without inciting hatred? At least, after all this, if nothing else a person could issue an apology.
Well not Glenn. Most people would choose the apology, but instead he chooses to continue on his current path, and help inspire Jared Loughner to kill six people and shoot Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in the face. It’s demonstrable that Loughner was a mentally ill man, but ideas like his do not come from nowhere. Beck is the most outspoken proponents of returning to the gold standard, as was one of Loughner’s many unhinged opinions. But furthermore, Beck had launched into an attack of Giffords on his program just months earlier. Of course, we can’t blame everything on Beck, but I’d certainly say that we can hold him responsible for being one of the multiple things that pushed him over the edge.
After the shooting, Beck issued a plea to stand together against all violence. Of course, this particular statement was one of the biggest ‘epic fails’ in recent memory, because a) he uses explicitly violent rhetoric on a weekly basis, and b) the statement was posted right next to a picture of himself… holding a handgun and trying to look like some kind of action star.
Violent rhetoric, you ask? Just months before, Beck (surprise surprise) called democratic leaders ‘communists’ that ‘have called for a revolution’, and told his listeners “You’re going to have to shoot them in the head”. That is an exact quote. As for the handgun, if you hadn’t believed in his complete insincerity before then, that should definitely be the clincher.
Glenn, I don’t want anybody to kill you in cold blood, as you seem to want for so many people with ideas you dislike. I’m not going to paint a map with targets on your house, I won’t even use any violent rhetoric without providing a disclaimer in the same breath. When I don’t like somebody, what I hope for is that they get taken out of the spotlight, arrested, and/or hit with a hefty fine. And I’d like all of those for you.