Glenn Beck’s Youth Bashing Crushed By Van Jones’ Optimism

Glenn Beck has spent much of the past two years dismissing young people as ignorant, brainwashed, and/or “useful idiots.” He regards them as societal appendages whose obligation is to be obedient and silent. Most recently he blamed the uprisings in the Middle East on unruly kids led by Google executives and intent on forming alliances with western leftists and Al Qaeda to invoke Shariah law from Tripoli to Topeka.

Today Beck replayed old clips of Al Gore motivating young environmentalists by telling them that “There are some things about our world that you know that older people don’t know.” That is objectively true for every new generation. If it were not it would mean that civilization is standing still. We are supposed to get smarter as time goes by. Aren’t we?

Not according to Beck. In Beck’s world Gore’s remarks are an appalling affront to parental authority. As is the speech that Van Jones gave at the Power Shift Conference for young leaders this past weekend. Beck played a short video of Jones encouraging members of the audience to be forthright in their advocacy for a clean environment. As usual, Beck cut the video so as to mislead his viewers. What he left was this snippet:

“When you go home, shift the power at the Thanksgiving table. When your Uncle Joe, who loves Fox News, starts talking to you and starts dominating the discussion.”

That’s where Beck cuts it off to insert his response:

“I will tell you this, in a side note. That is why I’m leaving this network. This network has this audience cornered. You are here because it is telling you the truth. We have got to get to the youth.”

First of all, that is not why Beck is leaving the network. He is leaving because he was fired for alienating over 300 advertisers and losing half of the audience. Secondly, Beck doesn’t explain what audience he alleges to have cornered, but presumably it is not the youth audience. In fact, Beck’s viewers, like Fox in general, skew older than any program on cable news. That aside, it is important to hear the rest of Jones’ thoughts to understand the depths of Beck’s intention to deceive. Just following the point where Beck cut the tape:

“When you go home, shift the power at the Thanksgiving table. When your Uncle Joe, who loves Fox News, starts talking to you and starts dominating the discussion, and starts making you feel small, and that your ideas don’t count, and that you’re some kind of bizarre freak, shift the power. Because this movement is not just for Democrats, and it’s not just for lefties. This movement is for everybody. And you have the opportunity to say to your Uncle Joe, ‘Excuse me sir. Don’t you believe in liberty? And if you do, how can you live in a country where every American is forced to be an energy consumer for the rest of our lives?

“Shouldn’t we have the right as Americans to be energy producers?’ Shouldn’t we be able to put up solar panels on our own houses? Shouldn’t we be able to put up wind turbines in our backyards? Shouldn’t we be able, as Americans, to power our own community? Shouldn’t we have the right and the liberty to be energy producers and not be dictated to twelve times a years by energy companies that dictate how much we’re gonna pay for energy, when we’re gonna pay it, how many asthma inhalers we’re gonna have as a consequence? Shouldn’t we have the liberty, as Americans, to power this country in a new way?”

Beck surely knows that the rest of that segment was entirely respectful toward Uncle Joe. He knows that there was no attempt to dishonor the role of parents or elders. He knows this yet he purposefully manipulates the message to cast young people in a negative light. And he has the gall to do this while declaring that he wants to “get to the youth.” That’s a goal he also spoke of in Albany on Saturday, where he said that he planned to build a way to deliver news directly to the youth of America. Does he plan to do that by frightening them as he does his radio and television audiences? Because that won’t work with this demographic. They are far more independent and self-directed. And for all the disrespect that Beck hurls at them, he cannot win them over with lies and fear mongering.

And just for the heck of it, here is Jones’ inspiring conclusion to the speech (which you can watch in full here):

“I love liberty. Given what’s happened with my ancestors, nobody loves liberty more than I do. But the pledge of allegiance doesn’t stop there. The pledge of allegiance says ‘liberty and justice for all.’ ‘Liberty and justice for all.’ And that’s what your movement is about. Liberty, yes, and justice. Justice for the immigrant. Justice for the lesbians and the gays. Justice for the African-Americans. Justice for women. Justice for the rural poor. Justice for the Native Americans. Liberty and justice for all. Shift the power!”