I have documented numerous examples of right-wing advocacy of violence, as have many others. But nobody crosses further over the line, or more often, than Glenn Beck. And here is the ultimate display of deliberate hostile intent. It is an overt call for violence and an instruction to viewers:
“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.
They are dangerous because they believe. Karl Marx is their George Washington. You will never change their mind.” ~ Fox News, June 10, 2010
This cannot possibly be justified as acceptable political discourse. This is not merely an expression of opinion. It is not metaphorical. It is a call to arms. And Beck’s audience is listening. They have heard him say that “The country will be washed with blood.” They have heard him warn that he may have to speak in code:
“I fear that there will come a time when I cannot say things that I am currently saying. I fear that it will come to television and to radio, and I will stop saying these things. Understand me clearly. Hear me now. If I ever stop saying these things, you will know why. Because I will have made a choice that I can only say certain things, and I haven’t lost all of the rights. But know that these things are true. And if you hear me stop saying these things, it’s because I can no longer say them to you. But hear them between the sentences. Hear them, please. I will be screaming them to you.“
One of those to whom Beck was screaming was Byron Williams who was apprehended following a police shootout as he was on his way to San Francisco to kill people at the ACLU and the Tides Foundation. In a prison interview he said…
“Beck is gonna deny everything about violent approach and deny everything about conspiracies, but he’ll give you every reason to believe it. He’s protecting himself, and you can’t blame him for that. So, I understand what he’s doing.”
That’s right, Byron understands what Beck is doing, and so do I. A new poll by Public Policy Polling reports that 13% of Tea Partiers say the that violence against the current American government is justifiable. While that may sound like a small percentage, there are two things to keep in mind: 1) It’s more than three times the percentage of non-Tea Partiers who say violence is justifiable. And 2) It only takes one lone nut to wreak havoc. One lone nut like Byron Williams or, perhaps, Jared Loughner, as we learned in Tucson a week ago.
Let me be crystal clear. I am not associating Loughner to Glenn Beck. There has been no evidence (yet) to link the two. However, there have been other lone gunmen in addition to Williams who were indisputably linked to Beck.
It is because of statements like the one above that Beck has forfeited his privilege of hosting national broadcasts. His language is brazenly irresponsible and he knows it. He cannot escape accountability for the tragic consequences it produces. And neither can Roger Ailes or Rupert Murdoch.
In addition to his hostile streak, Beck also has demonstrated a flagrant prejudice against blacks and Jews. I previously noted that a rather large proportion of Beck’s targets are black, beginning, of course, with Barack Obama. Media Matters recently made note of Beck’s program on “The Big Lie” wherein Beck cited nine individuals whom he implicated in a tyrannical plot to control the minds of Americans in order to advance a socialist agenda. Was it just a coincidence that eight of them were Jewish?
This racist, anti-Semitic, provocateur must not be be permitted to conduct his terror campaign on America’s airwaves. Now that does not mean that he should be subjected to censorship or suppression of his First Amendment rights, but the First Amendment does not guarantee everyone a television show. Radio and television networks, and the advertisers and audience that support them, must be persuaded to act responsibly. And that is our job.
You can go to Glenn Beck Unhinged and click on “Take Action” for a list of organizations that are working to hold the media accountable. Then pass the links around to spread the word.
The quote above is not an isolated incident. The results of such rhetoric are predictable. His disciples believe that he is giving them covert directions, and he encourages that belief. So we have to redouble our efforts to make people like Glenn Beck pay for the harm they do to our nation. And we have to do it before there is further violence or loss of life.
[Update to Inquire] Eric Fuller, a victim of the Tucson shooting, was arrested and involuntarily committed to a mental facility for psychiatric examination. This occurred after he attended a town hall meeting and said “You’re dead,” to a Tea Party leader while snapping his picture. That’s it. Just words. He had no weapon and made no threatening gestures or movements toward anyone. If that warrants arrest and commitment then why isn’t Beck undergoing a similar examination after explicitly advising his viewers to shoot their political adversaries in the head?
[Glenn Beck Responds] On his radio program Friday he complained bitterly that his remarks were taken out of context. That’s a pretty gargantuan heaping of irony from the reigning king of contextual misrepresentation. Without out of context references Beck’s show would be shorter than his commercials.
Beck’s contextual explanation is that he isn’t telling his viewers to shoot people in the head, he is telling people in the administration (and the media) to shoot people in the head. Is that really better? He’s advising government officials to murder American citizens. Thanks for clearing that up, Glenn.
However, the broader context of these remarks has to include Beck’s warning to his viewers that they have to “listen between the sentences,” as Byron Williams did. So Beck is still narrowing the context to fit his demented vision.