During the seemingly never-ending conservative freak-out over the proposed Park51 community center, right-wing media have dismissed the idea that the right's extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric has fueled "Islamophobia" throughout the country. As we've documented extensively, based on numerous hateful protests and vandalisms of mosques around the country, this is clearly not the case. Unfortunately, we can add another piece of evidence to the growing trend.
San Diego radio station KFMB, which features a lineup of conservative talk programming, is currently hosting the following poll on their homepage:
(Though it's never a great idea to place much stock in unscientific online polls, 63% of respondents have so far answered "Yes.")
Among others, KFMB broadcasts Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Mark Levin, and Dave Ramsey. Along with other major conservative media figures, Hannity, Beck, and Savage have worked hard to blur the lines between Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and the moderate Muslims behind the planned center and the radical extremists that attacked the U.S. on 9-11. Based on the recent anti-Muslim rhetoric of these hosts, perhaps this poll doesn't seem outwardly outlandish to regular listeners of this radio station.
Earlier, we pointed out that Glenn Beck was "restoring honor" at his "Divine Destiny" religious revival with Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Lapin's honor-restoration bona fides include a close relationship with Republican-lobbyist/convicted felon Jack Abramoff. Unsurprisingly, Lapin was not the only controversial figure to join Beck on stage.
The last religious figure to appear at the event was Rev. John Hagee, who you may remember from earlier this summer as one of the "leaders in the faith community" that Beck held out as an example of "people that need to start standing up." Back in July, Beck plugged Hagee's "excellent" book, Can America Survive? 10 Prophetic Signs That We Are The Terminal Generation.
As I detailed at the time, Can America Survive? is an account of how the world is fast-approaching Biblical Armageddon. Hagee views himself as an expert in Biblical prophecy, and laid out several bold predictions in the book, including:
"Why is this divine covenant for a specific land to the Jewish people so crucial in the twenty-first century? It's urgent because World War III is about to begin over the failure of humanity to recognize Israel's historic right to the land."
When he isn't engaged in Biblical soothsaying, Hagee is busy making offensive statements:
At long last, Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" self-aggrandizement festival is almost upon us. In Beck's words, the rally will mark a "turning point" in American history, where "miracles" will happen.
In a new promo posted on a "Producers' Blog" at his website, Beck humbly places the rally in the context of the moon landing, the Montgomery bus boycott, Iwo Jima, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and other landmark historical events. It also not-so-subtly suggests that Beck is following in the tradition of Martin Luther King (which is a farce), Abraham Lincoln, most of the Founding Fathers, Martha Washington, the Wright Brothers, and other notable historical figures.
To give you some sense of the egomania on display here, it starts with the line, "Every great achievement in human history has started with one person. One crazy idea." Watch:
Bonus amusement: this unfathomably egomaniacal video is preceded by Glenn Beck shilling for Goldline -- and a Goldline banner ad pops up during the video as well. That's just the sort of hucksterism the Founding Fathers were known for.
Glenn Beck recently lashed out at civil rights leaders who accused him of "hijacking" the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. Though Beck claims he isn't "hijacking" King's legacy in "any way, shape, or form," he has repeatedly attempted to co-opt both King and the civil rights movement to promote his upcoming 8-28 rally and other political causes.
Fox News' Glenn Beck has spent the past several months relentlessly promoting his upcoming "Restoring Honor" rally, scheduled to take place this Saturday. Beck claims he originally wanted to schedule the rally for September 12, but decided to change the date because he didn't want to ask people to "work on the Sabbath." Instead, Beck and his event planners scheduled the rally for August 28, which coincides with the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s iconic "I have a dream" speech -- a fact that Beck insists he only later discovered in a New York Times article.
Nonetheless, Beck seized on the supposed coincidence, which he chalked up to "divine providence." To Beck, the 8-28 rally is more than just a gathering of like-minded conservatives calling for a restoration of "honor." Instead, he views the 8-28 rally on a much grander scale. In his words, it will be a "historic" day that will mark a "turning point in America" that your "children will remember."
Beck's discussions of the rally's supposedly crucial role in American history have included frequent invocations of the civil rights movement, and Martin Luther King Jr. in particular. According to Beck, the rally will "reclaim the civil rights movement" because "Martin Luther King's dream" has "been distorted" and "massively perverted" by progressives. In attacking the people he claims are "perverting" King's legacy (i.e. progressives), Beck has suggested that he and his followers are the "inheritors and the protectors of the civil rights movement." In Beck's words, they will "take that movement, because we were the people that did it in the first place."
Beck is completely rewriting history.
King forcefully advocated for drastic action by the federal government to combat poverty; supported "social justice"; called for an "economic bill of rights" that would "guarantee a job to all people who want to work"; and stated that we must address whether we need to "restructure the whole of American society" -- all ideas that Beck has vilified.
Beck accuses progressives of trying to rewrite history and implores his followers to read original sources, but a review of King's own words clearly shows that Beck's insistence that he and his followers are the custodians of King's dream and legacy is nothing more than a lie.
Tonight, Glenn Beck continued to dishonestly respond to the unearthing of a 2006 roundtable discussion in which Beck appeared to call Imam Rauf a "good Muslim."
In tonight's segment, Beck purports to show (and then dismisses) the "damning, gotcha evidence" from the 2006 interview, but he actually excises a key moment from the video.
After playing the "sure, sure" comment, Beck responds in exasperated fashion by saying "that's it?!" But as we noted earlier, that was not, in fact, "it." In addition to appearing to endorse Sawyer's characterization of the distinction between Rauf and extremists, Beck later appeared to gesture to Rauf when Beck invoked the idea of "good Muslims." Beck left this part of the exchange out of the video he aired tonight and didn't mention it during his televised response.
One of the main lines of attack in the never-ending conservative freak-out over the plan to build an Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan has been attempting to smear the developers of the center -- Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf in particular -- as "radical." In their usual despicable fashion, conservative media figures have worked hard to blur the line between the terrorists who attacked us on 9-11 and the moderate Muslims who are behind the planned center.
One of the loudest voices in conservatives' fight against the center has been Glenn Beck, who has specifically targeted Imam Rauf with blatant falsehoods and hypocritical attacks in a desperate attempt to smear him as a radical.
Additionally, among other offensive comments, Beck has asked, "after you've killed 3,000 people you're going to now build your mosque?" He's also absurdly labeled the center an "actual danger" and suggested it is an "Allah-tells-me-to-blow-up-America mosque." Though we -- and many other outlets -- have repeatedly pointed out that Rauf is widely viewed as a moderate and has often denounced the extremists who carry out violent attacks in the name of Islam, Beck and his fellow demagogues continue to push the dishonest attack.
But Beck does not need to take our word for it that Imam Rauf is a moderate who distances himself from radicals -- Rauf told Beck as much while sitting at the same table with him during a 2006 discussion on ABC's Good Morning America.
During the ABC segment, Rauf condemned the extremists who issued death threats against the Pope and political cartoonists, specifically saying that "these reactions are not at all called for by Islamic teaching. The teachings of Islam are very similar to the teachings of Christianity, of loving the one God and loving thy neighbor. These are the two common principles."
When Diane Sawyer mentioned that Imam Rauf says the radicals are just a "group of people" and "not him," Beck seemed to agree, saying "sure, sure." He added, "I believe it's a small portion of Islam that is acting in these ways."
Beck, for his part, even appeared to gesture to Imam Rauf when he invoked the idea of "good Muslims." (At about 2:45.)
Beck's response to this -- if he bothers to respond at all -- will likely be that when this segment was filmed, he was unaware of the supposed "radical" beliefs of Rauf. However as we (and Jon Stewart) have pointed out, Rauf's statements about 9-11 that Beck and others have pointed to as evidence of his hatred of America and sympathy for terrorism track very closely with things many conservatives -- including Glenn Beck himself - have said.
This morning, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. gave a sanctimonious lecture outside the proposed location of the Park51 Islamic community center - or, as he and the chyron referred to it repeatedly, the "Ground Zero Mosque." His speech was representative of many of the main arguments made by opponents of the center, relying on the well-worn talking point that this isn't "about the First Amendment," but instead about paying deference to those who lost someone on 9-11.
The idea of being respectful to friends and relatives of 9-11 victims is about as far from controversial as ideas get. However, a problem arises when people like Johnson and his cohorts in the conservative media buttress their arguments against the proposed community center with blatant falsehoods. Call me crazy, but I don't think it is "respectful" to invoke the memories of those who lost their lives on 9-11 while lying - shamelessly and repeatedly -- about the people that are supposedly "disrespecting" them.
And make no mistake, Johnson's monologue was filled with things that are flat-out wrong.
For today's evidence that Jim Hoft is either too lazy to read the things he excerpts to make his almost always wrong observations, or simply too oblivious to notice when he debunks himself, I direct your attention to his supposed "Fact Check" of the AP's claim that there is already a mosque five blocks from Ground Zero. It is truly a staggering display of incompetence.
Hoft takes issue with the AP saying that the Manhattan Mosque "stands five blocks from the northeast corner of the World Trade Center." He responds by writing, "that Masij mosque was evicted years ago according to their website." He then excerpts the following statement from their site:
If you stop reading after the first sentence, then Hoft seems to have really caught the AP in a falsehood here. However, he helpfully included the rest of the statement, which entirely demolishes his point.
Notably, the second sentence indicates that they "did not have to close the Masjid" and found a location "just two doors down" from the original. Even if Hoft hadn't bothered to read his own excerpt, had he followed his link to the Masjid Manhattan website, he would have found a ton of evidence that the mosque is not closed, including daily prayer and class schedules. The address included for the mosque at their website indicates that it is, as the AP correctly stated, five blocks from Ground Zero.
For most people, this would be the most embarrassing error of their professional career. For Jim Hoft, it's just another Thursday.
While promoting his upcoming "Restoring Honor" rally that falls on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech - and chalking up said coincidence to "divine providence" - Glenn Beck has repeatedly invoked the memory of the civil rights movement. According to Beck, the rally will "reclaim the civil rights movement" because "Martin Luther King's dream" has "been distorted" and "massively perverted" by progressives.
As we've noted, Beck's shameless co-opting of King's legacy for his own self-aggrandizement is especially appalling in light of his long history of race-baiting (including, but far from limited to calling President Obama a "racist.")
Joining Beck at the rally next weekend will be fellow Fox News employee Sarah Palin, whose presence at the rally is complicated by her defense of Dr. Laura's racially charged rant. As we documented, last night Palin told Dr. Laura "don't retreat....reload!" She also nonsensically chalked up attacks on Dr. Laura to an infringement on her "1st Amend.rights" by "Constitutional obstructionists."