In the first part of his multi-day special on philanthropist George Soros, Glenn Beck mangled Soros quotes, lied about Soros' past, smeared other progressives associated with Soros, and distorted legislative history to paint Soros as an all-powerful and dangerous "puppet master."
Here are the people and organizations featured in Glenn Beck's discussion Tuesday of what he described as the various "puppets" being controlled by George Soros in order to create a "shadow government" in America:
Barack Obama ("perhaps")
Center For American Progress
Color Of Change
Department Of Energy
Ella Baker Center
Environmental Protection Agency
Media Matters for America
National Council Of La Raza
Open Society Institute
Open Society Foundation
People For The American Way
SEIU (Service Employees International Union)
Students For A Democratic Society (SDS)
As Glenn Beck has explained to us numerous times, he really doesn't like Woodrow Wilson. How much? In the middle of his heavily promoted attack on George Soros, Beck shoehorned in an attack on Wilson, by way of Edward Bernays.
How did Beck get there? He claimed Soros was orchestrating a puppet show (and literally played with puppets to get the point across), which he then compared to Bernays' book Propaganda. Beck cited a passage that references "invisible government," and idea Beck said was "like shadow government," which of course led him back to his conspiracy about the organizations Soros donates to.
The magic connection here, of course, was Woodrow Wilson, who appointed Bernays to create public sentiment in favor of World War I. Beck sees the invisible hand of Wilson behind all of the machinations that he perceives progressives to be involved in. He blames Wilson for single-handedly bringing about direct election of senators, excludes him from his role in women's suffrage, and in general mangles the history around Wilson's presidency beyond all recognition.
What's the Woodrow Wilson connection to George Soros? There isn't any. Glenn Beck just doesn't like either person, so he threw the attack together.
On today's Fox News show, Glenn Beck noted George Soros' past support of various political movements in Europe and claimed Soros is attempting to recreate similar revolutionary changes of regime in America:
As examples, Beck cited Soros' purported roles in the Rose Revolution (Georgia), the Orange Revolution (Ukraine) and the Velvet Revolution (Czechoslovakia), as well as "coups" in Croatia and Yugoslavia. Author Richard Poe then connected Soros' previous work to Beck's accusation that Soros' "target" is the United States.
Unmentioned in Beck's program, but revealed in Shadow Party, the book Poe co-wrote and which appears to be the source material for a lot of the information being presented by Beck about Soros, is the fact that many of the governments Soros supposedly helped bring down were autocratic ones, often headed by former Communist leaders.
Shadow Party explains that "Soros helped bankroll the 'velvet revolution' that hastened the fall of a dying Communist regime and catapulted dissident playwright Vaclav Havel to the presidency of the Czech Republic." (Shadow Party, p. 231) The Velvet Revolution led to the establishment of Slovakia as an independent nation and eventual inclusion in NATO.
Shadow Party also goes on to note that Soros' support for the Otpor organization in Yugoslavia helped to bring about the end of Slobodan Milosevic's reign, and points out that the International Criminal Tribunal later charged Milosevic with crimes against humanity.
Similarly, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine was a non-violent response to a disputed election that involved poisonings and assassination attempts. And the Rose Revolution replaced Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, a former Soviet official, with Mikheil Saakashvili, who Beck himself has heavily praised.
Beck claims that Soros helped to engineer a "coup" in Croatia, but this seems to be a reference to Soros' opposition to Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, who died in office and was replaced by Stipe Mesic. The BBC explained Mesic's election this way: "He espoused a clean break from Mr Tudjman's authoritarianism, which had left the country internationally isolated and in economic recession."
Meanwhile, Beck disappears completely Soros' role funding anti-Communist dissidents like Poland's Solidarity movement, Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia and Andrei Sakharov in the Soviet Union.
These details were completely excluded as Beck sought to sell a story of controlled revolution within America, going so far as to exclude the accurate information from an otherwise unreliable book.
On his November 8 Fox News show, in the middle of yet another conspiracy theory involving puppetry, the gold standard, and more, Glenn Beck explained to his viewers that radicals are now "unmasking" themselves, which he said was a sign of future "trouble."
First, Beck cites MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell who did, in fact, refer to himself as a socialist during an appearance on Morning Joe. What Beck didn't take note of was that O'Donnell's characterization of himself as such isn't anything new. In an interview published five years ago,O'Donnell described himself as "a kind of practical socialist. I know we failed. A lot of our ideas have failed, so I'm not with them anymore. I'm willing to take from a grab-bag of stuff that works."
Moreover, O'Donnell has explained that he is a "socialist" in the way that "we all are" because Social Security and Medicare are "socialist program[s]," not as an admission of being a "radical revolutionary," as Beck suggests. In a September 17, 2010, interview with The Hollywood Reporter (via Nexis), O'Donnell described himself as "A practical European socialist which, as it turns out, we all are, if you know that Social Security ... is a socialist program, and that Medicare is a socialist program and that all economies of the world are mixed with some capitalism and some socialism and they just vary in their degrees."
Unless O'Donnell has access to a time machine, his description of himself as a "socialist" seems pretty consistent, and not a reaction to any current events as Beck implies.
Beck moved on to warn us about communists by noting a video the "Communist Party USA is now releasing" then showing a clip of this YouTube video, which shows various Communist Party USA members introducing themselves and affirming their communism. So here's the problem: if this video is evidence of the Communist Party USA being emboldened by recent events, this is the worst way possible of showing that. First, the video couldn't be something they're "now releasing" because it was posted to YouTube in July of 2009. At the time of this writing, this video has 38,701 views -- and that's after being featured on Beck's site TheBlaze.com and on his TV show.
But even allowing for that inflated traffic, it means that the video that heralds the coming out of communism in America has received a whopping 2,400 views per month since its release. By comparison, video of the adventures of Maru the cat has 4.4 million views over a similar time period. We have to ask: Why is Glenn Beck ignoring this threat to all we hold dear?
On his radio and Fox News shows, Glenn Beck promoted the false claim that the Obama administration plans to spend $2 billion on a ten-day presidential trip to Asia, before eventually acknowledging that he doesn't know if that figure is accurate. The White House says the reported figure is "wildly inflated" and the Secret Service says it is "significantly exaggerated."
Glenn Beck falsely claimed that Rep. Patrick Murphy's campaign solicited voters to send the campaign their absentee ballots by mail, and suggested that such actions should "put you guys in jail." In fact, Democrats in Murphy's district solicited absentee ballot applications, not absentee ballots, and their actions were legal, according to two state agencies.
There's no reason to trust Andrew Breitbart's work. It's a simple statement, but it bears repeating: There is no reason to trust Andrew Breitbart's work. It would be in the best interests of outlets like ABC (which plans to have Breitbart participate in its coverage of election night) or Fox to take heed of this.
This is particularly relevant in light of the audio recently promoted by Breitbart's websites claiming that a CBS affiliate in Alaska conspired against Senate candidate Joe Miller, a charge disputed by the station, which calls the conspiracy charge "absurd."
Breitbart's site was the source of the deceptively edited video of USDA employee Shirley Sherrod -- morphing comments Sherrod had made attacking racism into a defense of them. The video showed Sherrod detailing her own change of heart as she first didn't do all she could to assist a white farmer, then realized she "needed to work to help poor people" regardless of skin color. The edited video promoted by Breitbart excluded the change of heart and led to her firing and then an apology from the agency.
Before that, Breitbart's site Big Government made a name for itself as the home of James O'Keefe's anti-ACORN videos that purported to show the organization involved in criminal wrongdoing. Those videos were later described as "severely edited" by the California attorney general's office. O'Keefe went on to attempt a bizarre seduction "prank" on a CNN reporter and was arrested for entering the offices of a U.S. senator under false pretenses.
Time and again we've seen sloppy, deceptive work products from Breitbart's operation. Before they run with him, news organizations should look at his track record and the likelihood of falsified or deceptive information coming from his team.
Fox News' Glenn Beck increasingly echoes the theories and conclusions of Alex Jones, a fringe conspiracy theorist and host of a daily radio show promoting those theories. These include belief in the imposition of a "new world order" and global government, opposition to the Federal Reserve, and attacks on Cass Sunstein, John Holdren, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
If you wondered if Fox News' attacks on NPR (using the recent firing of Juan Williams as a pretext) would be confined to Fox News Channel, today's edition of Fox News Sunday shown on Fox broadcast stations put that question to rest:
Host Chris Wallace, along with Brit Hume, again tried to make the case that comments from NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg are equally as worthy of dismissal as Williams, continuing Fox's attacks on NPR. Hume ratcheted up the rhetoric, claiming that NPR went after Williams for being a "Bill Cosby liberal." Wallace also promoted recent calls for defunding NPR. As we noted, Fox has waged a consistent campaign against NPR for years (and has ridiculously tried to claim the high ground on controversial content). The Williams incident is just convenient cover to go back to the well.