I had intended to write an article this morning congratulating President Obama on his selection of Susan Rice for National Security Adviser and Samantha Power to succeed Rice as U.N. Ambassador. Not only are these two public servants brilliant and capable, the GOP will regard their appointments as a poke in the eye, which they thoroughly deserve. I intended to further note that Power was singled out by Glenn Beck as the “most dangerous woman in America,” at least partly because she is married to Cass Sunstein who Beck has called the “most dangerous man in America.” And then all my plans were upended when this happened:
Rachel Maddow recently did a segment on how the right-wing media has been mainstreaming conspiracy theories once thought to be beyond the fringe. She went into great detail with examples of batty theories and the people who propound them. Included amongst the theorists were folks you might expect like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck.
Apparently Glenn Beck took offense. He devoted a considerable portion of his program to swinging back at Maddow and questioning her “intellectual integrity.” [I'll wait for you to stop laughing and get get back into your chair --- OK then] Beck took particular aim at the suggestion that he is a conspiracy theorist. He even went so far as to make this explicit declaration in his defense:
“I’ve never been called a conspiracy theorist in my life.”
Oh my. This may be the best example of severe detachment from reality that’s ever played out in public. It was just one week ago that Beck bitterly complained that there is “a concentrated effort now to label me a conspiracy theorist?” How he can go from a concentrated effort to label him, to never having been called a conspiracy theorist, in only one week is mind-boggling. But it isn’t just a matter of acute short-term memory loss, Beck has been addressing allegations of his conspiracy theorism for years:
- Oct 6, 2009: I don’t have a stealthy agenda, but I’m still called “conspiracy theorist.”
- Jan 11, 2010: It’s funny to be called a conspiracy theorist because I’ve always made fun of conspiracy people.
- Aug 17, 2012: You talk about a conspiracy theorist, you know, me being a conspiracy theorist, I didn’t get the decoder ring in the box of cereal.
- Jan 8, 2013: When they try to make me look like like a conspiracy theorist, they always use [Alex Jones'] arguments and assign them to me.
- May 10, 2013: And the media smeared anyone who said these things. I know because I was one of them. I pointed out the truth. I showed you the truth. Early. I was a conspiracy theorist. I was a crazy man.
Beck has got to know that he is frequently called a conspiracy theorist (and with good reason). It’s simply impossible for him not to be aware of it after all these years and after all of his own references to it. So what could come over him that would cause him to deny that he was ever called one? Can he really be that delusional? Or is he just so confidant of the mental squishiness of his audience that he doesn’t care at all about trying to be the least bit coherent?
No matter how many times Beck demonstrates his shaky grasp of reality, it continues to amaze me that someone with such cognitive impairment is capable of attending to the routine chores of daily life, much less turn his dementia into a financial bonanza.