Glenn Beck never misses an opportunity for self-aggrandizement, and when he apologized last week for slandering the largest religious denomination of American Jews, Beck used the occasion to boast of his own "honor" and "integrity," and said: "I lead with my mistakes, because I think it's important as a human being to demonstrate to other human beings that we can be stronger if we correct our mistakes and flaws and move on."
But it turns out that Beck's apology came only after Salem Communications -- a company that owns major stations that broadcast Beck's show -- asked him to address the controversy.
In a statement obtained by Media Matters, Jeff Reisman, a manager of the Salem station that carries Beck in Chicago, acknowledged that Salem Communications "requested that Glenn Beck respond directly regarding his recent comments":
Thanks for your e-mail. WIND's parent company requested that Glenn Beck respond directly regarding his recent comments. As I am sure you already heard, Mr. Beck issued a public apology this morning and clearly stated that he made a mistake and referred to himself as ignorant and having made one of the worst analogies of all time. Furthermore, he referenced Abraham Foxman and stated that Abe was absolutely correct. If you have not heard the audio, I can send it to you.
I appreciate your e-mail and concern.
On February 22, Beck likened Reform Judaism to "radicalized Islam," in that they are supposedly both "more about politics" than faith and religion. Two days later, Beck apologized at length for his comments, saying that his comparison was one of the "worst analogies of all time" and conceding that his remarks were "ignorant." Beck also claimed that he immediately knew his comments about Reform Judaism were a "nightmare." As Media Matters previously pointed out, this raises the question of why he then waited two days to apologize for them.
Beck also used his apology to boast of his own journalistic integrity, claiming that it surpasses that of the New York Times:
BECK: I do this, because I have always told you to do your own homework, and in this case, I didn't do enough homework. I also tell you that you, you have to guard your word, you have to guard your honor and your integrity, because people have to be able to believe you. The only way people will believe you is if when you get it wrong, you do apologize, and you, and you point it out, and not like the New York Times or anybody else, bury it on page two. I lead with my mistakes, because I think it's important as a human being to demonstrate to other human beings that we can be stronger if we correct our mistakes and flaws and move on.
Beck's self-professed strict adherence to a code of "honor" and "integrity" notwithstanding, his apology came only after he was condemned by two national Jewish groups and had lost yet another sponsor, which suggests it was more likely an attempt at damage control.
Salem owns stations that broadcast Beck's show in both Chicago and Los Angeles, and Beck has extra incentive to keep them happy right now. Beck's show is currently not syndicated in New York City. Though five stations have confirmed that they will not carry Beck, two holdouts remain. Both are owned by Salem.
If you've tuned into the news today, you've likely witnessed our intrepid media excitedly reporting on the latest hugely important celebrity gossip. During a call to his friend Alex Jones' radio show yesterday, Charlie Sheen uncorked yet another bizarre rant, leading CBS to place his sitcom Two and a Half Men on hiatus.
While I understand that things like Sheen's rant are catnip for the media, outlets have been mainstreaming fringe conspiracy theorist Jones in their rush to report on Sheen's latest outburst.
For example, here's Jones' appearance on NBC's Today this morning. If you weren't aware that he believes, for example, that the plastic lining of juice boxes are part of a government plot to make people gay, nothing about this segment would lead you to think he is anything other than a "nationally syndicated" radio host who apparently has exciting interviews with unhinged celebrities:
Just a reminder as outlets scurry to talk with Jones about the Sheen interview: You should really let your audience know that Jones is absolutely nuts. Like other conspiracy theorists (such as Glenn Beck), Jones thrives on selling supposedly exclusive access to information that most people are too blind to see.
I'm willing to grant the fact that when you put together a daily three hour morning show like Fox & Friends, mistakes are bound to happen (labeling Elie Wiesel a "Holocaust Winner," for example).
However, incidents like this really test the limits of what can be considered an honest mistake.
As protests and legislative gridlock continue in Wisconsin regarding Gov. Scott Walker's (R) proposal to strip public employee unions of collective bargaining rights, Gallup released a poll yesterday showing that 61% of people would oppose a similar proposal in their state. If you thought Fox would either ignore the poll or claim it is inaccurate, you underestimate the network's capacity for blatant dishonesty in service of pushing GOP propaganda.
This morning, responding to Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman saying that mainstream Republican governors "are not siding with Governor Walker," host Brian Kilmeade responded that "Gallup, a relatively mainstream poll, has a differing view." Kilmeade then completely inverted the poll results, claiming that 61 percent supported ending collective bargaining for public employee unions.
At the end of the show, Kilmeade offered a brief correction, saying that he "had it reversed" when discussing the poll.
Now, it's possible that Kilmeade's butchering of the poll results can be chalked up to his inability to read a poll or misspeaking.
However, it wasn't just Kilmeade who "had it reversed." Fox News had a graphic ready to go that repeated Kilmeade's distortion, suggesting that this misrepresentation was premeditated by the network:
For centuries, religious hucksters have made hay (read: money) by convincing people that they have specific insight into when the world will end. (Hint: it's always just around the corner.)
Last week on his Fox News program, Glenn Beck hosted one such person. Author Joel Richardson was invited on the program to add some context to the events in the Middle East. During his appearance, Richardson mostly sat idly by while Beck tied Islam to the Antichrist, and Beck never pressed him on his actual beliefs on the end times.
Had Beck done so, his viewers may have heard Richardson discuss how Satan is using Islam as the "primary vehicle" to fulfill Biblical prophecy - an idea fleshed out in Richardson's book, Islamic Antichrist, to which Beck gave free publicity - or been treated to Richardson's explanation of how a "prophetess" foretold of Richardson's end times wisdom.
Via Kyle Mantyla at Right Wing Watch, it seems Beck will continue to use his Fox show as a platform for people who view current events through the prism of end times prophecy. This Thursday, according to a press release from Concerned Women for America, Beck will host author Tim LaHaye.
For years, LaHaye has suggested that we are quickly approaching Biblical Armageddon. He's even made a career out of it - writing the enormously popular and lucrative Left Behind series of novels and several "nonfiction" books based on this premise.
Beck has previously hosted LaHaye to discuss end times on his CNN program.
Beck opened the March 30, 2007 edition of his CNN program, by asking if the apocalypse is "almost upon us":
BECK (voice-over): Is the apocalypse almost upon us?
REV. PAT ROBERTSON, "700 CLUB": The Bible does indicate such a time will happen in the end of time, and could this be it? It might be.
BECK: Are the cataclysmic events of 9/11, Katrina, tsunami, famine and the threat of global pandemic signs we`re living in the end times?
One world government, one world economy, one world vision. Are we creeping even closer to the Book of Revelations' countdown to doomsday? And does an age-old prophecy foretell a Russian-Iranian alliance against Israel as well as a nuclear showdown? Apocalypse now? [CNN Headline News, 3/30/07, accessed via Nexis]
Introducing LaHaye and fellow guest Joel Roseberg that night, Beck said that "this is a show that I've wanted to do for a while, but quite honestly, what stops me from doing it is people think I'm nuts."
Based on how much he has been dabbling in end times theorizing lately, I guess he's no longer worried about that.
Last week, a poll from Public Policy Polling found that 51 percent of GOP primary voters think Obama wasn't born in America.
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, who has previously criticized media and polling outlets for covering birthers, downplayed the poll results and suggested that the attention paid to birthers is part of an effort to "marginalize Republican opposition in 2012 by painting them as nuts."
During an appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, Fox contributor Karl Rove endorsed this theory and said that "this is the White House stategy. They love this."
But Fox is trying to have it both ways.
While network personalities blame the birther "obsession" on "the media" and the White House, Fox News and its affiliated websites regularly dabble in birtherism.
For example, if you head over to Fox Nation right now, you will see the following story on their front page:
Fox Nation excerpts and links to a story from fringe conspiracy/birther website WorldNetDaily. The WND article promotes that site's ongoing "Where's the Birth Certificate?" billboard campaign and celebrates the recent poll numbers from PPP.
Who knew that the White House was in charge of posting stories to Fox's websites?
Author Joel Richardson has a long history of antagonism toward Islam, having written in his book The Islamic Antichrist that Islam will be the "primary vehicle" "used by Satan to fulfill the prophecies of the Bible." He has also agreed with the Florida pastor who planned to burn Qurans that "Islam is of the devil" and written a column headlined "What Obama and the Antichrist have in common."
During his month-long public meltdown over Egypt, Glenn Beck has somehow managed to become progressively more incoherent -- moving from fearmongering about an Islamic caliphate and Code Pink to claiming that the Bush State Department was "in bed" with "communists" and "radical Islamists" to warning his viewers not to do Google searches, because Google is "in bed with the government" and is "working way too close with hardcore leftists."
The journey down the rabbit hole will continue tonight, when Beck will host End Times-obsessed author Joel Richardson, according to WorldNetDaily, which published his most recent book. Beck previously featured Richardson as an expert in his documentary Rumors of War.
In 2009, Richardson published The Islamic Antichrist, in which he puts forth his theory that "Islam is indeed the primary vehicle that will be used by Satan to fulfill the prophecies of the Bible about the future political/religious/military system of the Antichrist that will overwhelm the entire world just prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ."
Here he is explaining the book's thesis at the end of its first chapter:
So maybe you now agree that it is important to become informed regarding Islam, but you may wonder why it is important to understand Islamic eschatology specifically. That's a good question. Please think through some of these points carefully: The Bible makes it clear that the Devil's primary plan for the last days has been, for the past few thousand years, to raise up two men, the Antichrist and the False Prophet, as his primary instruments to deceive the inhabitants of the earth. How do you suppose that Satan has planned to include the world's 1.5 billion Muslims in his grand end-time deception? Did Satan fail to foresee and strategize regarding the global spread of Islam? Or has Satan included the Muslims of the world in his end-time strategy? Will Islam, the world's third monotheistic religion, also undergo the persecution of Satan along with Christians and Jews as they all resist the Antichrist together? Or will Islam -- the religion that prides itself on resisting any form of idolatry -- simply submit to a demonic and false religious leader without putting up any real fight? For years, I questioned the Lord about these issues. In time, as my knowledge of Islam deepened, the answers to my questions became very clear. This book is my attempt to share with you what I have learned. I understand that this may sound like a strong statement to make, but I believe that the information presented in this book will establish the fact that Islam is indeed the primary vehicle that will be used by Satan to fulfill the prophecies of the Bible about the future political/religious/military system of the Antichrist that will overwhelm the entire world just prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ. [The Islamic Antichrist, Pages 11-12 (italics in original)]
One thing you learn when covering Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft is to never declare anything he does "rock bottom," because he always manages to find a new low.
Today, he blamed CBS reporter Lara Logan and "her liberal belief system" for her sexual assault and beating in Egypt. In a post headlined "After Sexual Assault & Beating... CBS Reporter Logan Learns That Political Correctness Is a Killer" Hoft writes [emphasis in original]:
Lara Logan is lucky she's alive.
Her liberal belief system almost got her killed on Friday. This talented reporter will never be the same.
Why did this attractive blonde female reporter wander into Tahrir Square last Friday? Why would she think this was a good idea? Did she not see the violence in the square the last three weeks? Did she not see the rock throwing? Did she miss the camels? Did her colleagues tell her about the Western journalists who were viciously assaulted on the Square? Did she forget about the taunts from the Egyptian thugs the day before? What was she thinking? Was it her political correctness that about got her killed? Did she think things would be different for her?
Earlier today, we documented the unfortunate wave of victim-blaming and ugliness Logan's sexual assault has spawned. Add Hoft to the list.
UPDATE:Hoft has updated his post with a response to Media Matters, saying that "the post stands":
UPDATE: Sorry Media Matters the post stands.
The far left does not like it when their tenets are questioned. It must be hard when someone holds a mirror up and you see that your twisted agenda has caused such havoc and pain around the world. These warped individuals must have missed that day of school when they talked about playing with fire.
One final question- Does Media Matters ever post anything that is not a dishonest smear on their website?
It's important to remember when watching conservatives discuss the Middle East that many of them see events over there on a slightly larger scale than world politics. Back in 2006, numerous conservative media figures -- including Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson -- used unrest in the Middle East to question whether we were facing an "impending Apocalypse."
In fact, prominent conservatives regularly dabble in Biblical Armageddon soothsaying. In recent weeks, Beck has hosted End Times-obsessed Joel Rosenberg to forward Apocalyptic talk about an Islamic Caliphate. (Beck previously hosted Rosenberg on his CNN show to examine "end of days scenarios.")
As we documented, last year prominent conservative pastor John Hagee released a book positing that we are fast-approaching Biblical Armageddon. Beck endorsed Hagee's "excellent" book, and said that "a lot of the pieces that have never been here for the prophecy are here now."
In this vein, Fox Nation is currently asking if a video of the Egyptian protests shows evidence of the "Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse":
In the wake of Weekly Standard editor and Fox News contributor Bill Kristol calling out Glenn Beck for his "hysteria" over Egypt, prominent conservatives have been choosing sides.
Beck has responded by lashing out at critics -- including telling people that call him "crazy" because of his New World Order theory to "go to hell" -- and wrongly insisting that articles in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have proven him right.
This weekend was not a particularly good one for Team Beck - as we noted, Bill O'Reilly and several Fox News guests directly contradicted Beck's Egypt theories on Friday night.
During his regular "At Your Beck and Call" segment, O'Reilly challenged Beck, going so far as to say "I don't see it," and adding that "there's no evidence that says I'm not right."
But while prominent conservatives distanced themselves from Beck's incoherence, Beck found solid support from a couple attendees at CPAC.
WorldNetDaily's Jerome Corsi, whose love for conspiracy theories leads him to say things like Obama "has stolen the identity of a natural born citizen" and is "using someone else's Social Security number," said that he and WND have "supported Glenn Beck" and that "Glenn Beck is right on it." Corsi referenced a piece by fellow WND writer Aaron Klein, in which Klein wrote that he was "compelled to join Glenn Beck's side":