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.
On today's radio show Glenn Beck said he couldn't believe that Stephen Broden, a frequent guest on his Fox News show and a pastor who attended his 8-28 rally, said that violent overthrow of the U.S. government is an option that "is on the table."
Republican Rep. Darrell Issa made a very big mistake. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he said the following about what Republicans should do if they're successful in the fall elections:
"It's pretty clear the American people expect us to use the existing gridlock to create compromise and advance their agenda," said Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.). "They want us to come together [with the administration] after we agree to disagree."
This is not what Rush Limbaugh wanted to hear. Attacking Issa and other establishment Republicans at the top of today's show, Limbaugh said the idea of compromise would push people away from the GOP and into a third party - and that compromising with the Democrats was akin to compromise with the Taliban.
It appears Limbaugh's audience voiced their concerns to Issa's staff and the congressman was soon a guest of Limbaugh's in order to genuflect.
Issa began by distancing himself from the article, noting his quote was a distillation of a longer conversation, eventually backing away from the "compromise" language and voicing support for Limbaugh's preferred framing of the issue Republican goals for the next Congress as simply "stopping Obama."
Issa isn't the first Republican official to kneel before Limbaugh in order to curry favor. RNC chairman Michael Steele apologized for calling Limbaugh an "entertainer," Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) told Limbaugh he was sorry for comments defending the House Republican leadership against criticism from Limbaugh, and Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) backed off criticism of Limbaugh's "I hope he fails" comments.
Even Sarah Palin changed her mind about condemning Limbaugh's use of the word "retards," giving Limbaugh a "satirical" exception for use of the word.
Whenever a Republican makes even a mild criticism of Limbaugh, you can start the countdown clock right away until they bow in his direction and take it back.
Led by Glenn Beck -- who was once condemned by the Anti-Defamation League for saying Al Gore used "the same tactic" as Adolf Hitler -- Fox News personalities have frequently invoked Nazi Germany in their political commentary, often comparing progressives to Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, and the Nazi "brownshirts."
On last Thursday's Hannity show, host Sean Hannity turned over the reins of the show to Ohio gubernatorial candidate (and former Fox News host) John Kasich. After Kasich promoted his campaign website, Hannity responded: "I want to put this -- put some emphasis on this because this is really important. Explain to people why -- we cannot afford to lose that race?" Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik explains just what's wrong with this:
There isn't a reputable mainstream newspaper in the country that lets its editorial page be used for partisan fund raising. What Hannity allowed Kasich to do on his show Thursday crosses the line as to what's acceptable for any news organization, and we all know it isn't the first Hannity time has done this.
If Fox News management wants mainstream critics to defend the organization's right to be treated like a news organization, it needs to behave like one -- all the time. Hannity's bosses need to publicly put an end to such partisan on-air fund raising now -- not sometime in November after the election.
We've been pointing out for some time now repeated instances of Fox News - who claims to be a "fair and balanced" news organization -- fundraising for the Republican Party and its candidates and repeating GOP talking points on air verbatim. Republican senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell reportedly recently said that she had Hannity "in my back pocket."
In the case of Kasich's campaign, his appearance on Hannity was the ninth appearance on Fox News since he declared his candidacy. In September, the Democratic Governor's Association filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission for what they claim are two apparent violations of Ohio Election law connected to Kasich's appearances on Fox:
The Democratic Governors Association cited two apparent violations of Ohio law: A prohibited in-kind contribution in the form of free political advertising, and failure to include a proper disclaimer for the political advertising. The complaint says Kasich raised more than $21,000 from the appearance, citing an Aug.21 speech that Kasich made in Cincinnati, where he reportedly said, "The other night, I was on a show with a man who always gives you the last word, Bill O'Reilly. And I said, if you want to help my campaign, our campaign, and you have any extra nickels or pennies, send them to us. In the next 21 hours, we received over $21,000."
Fox hasn't acted like a real news organization for years, but they've gone to a new low this year in their role as the campaign arm of the GOP.
After a few days off-air, Glenn Beck didn't take too long to return to one of his oldest habits -- engaging in violent rhetoric.
Today's outburst came in the middle of a hypothetical scenario Beck developed, one in which the government would consider taking his children because he refused to have them receive a mandatory flu vaccine. Beck explained to the audience that his response to such a claim would be to "meet Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson," a reference to the gun manufacturer.
After the recent revelations about how Beck apparently influenced would-be assassin Byron Williams, it seems there hasn't yet been a decision by Beck to avoid the type of language that could incite people.
This also isn't the first time Beck has fearmongered over the flu vaccine. He previously said the vaccine could be "deadly" and that people should ignore Homeland Security recommendations to take it, while warning that someone could be "quarantined" or "put on a bus" by the government if they ignored a mandate to take the vaccine.
From the October 15 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' Glenn Beck Program:
BECK: Let me ask you this. Don Imus, Deirdre, very, very bright. Let's say -- what's his kid's name, Wyatt? -- let's say Wyatt gets cancer. You're gonna take the kid away, because they believe broccoli enemas are the thing?
GRAY: I don't think that would happen to Imus. Do you? It would be too, I mean --
BECK: No because he would get on and say, "Get the hell away from my kids."
GRAY: Yep. And they'd have to.
BECK: And he would muster -- he would be able to make the case. Look --
GRAY: And again that's not equal justice, that's social justice.
BECK: Exactly right.
GRAY: This keeps happening.
BECK: Here's a child that is going to lose an eye. And the state thinks it's better for them to lose the parents.
BECK: Than an eye. I'm sorry, I don't.
BURGUIERE: I don't know, I mean it's just one of these things that when you have things that are treatable and obvious, I think that you have to, you have to -- you're putting these kids in danger. It's just like a child abuse situation.
BURGUIERE: It really is. When you're talking about if you have -- if you stuck something in their eye intentionally for them to go blind --
BECK: Then it's child abuse.
BURGUIERE: Right, but when you let them just go blind out of the disease that could be cured, that's not? I mean, it's certainly at least kind of close to it.
BECK: Don't they have the right -- the state has a bigger right to the child? Look, look, again, we're not talking about total blindness, and we're not talking about life and death here.
BURGUIERE: It's not degrees of blindness is not the argument here.
BECK: Yes there is. One eye. One eye.
BURGUIERE: So if it's one eye, we can let him go blind in the one eye, but --
BECK: You are talking about taking a child away and the state rearing a child and making decisions. If they're nuts, then -- but if they are sane? They just happen to believe in God and faith-healing, then I think you've got to let them rule. The family is sacred.
GRAY: Where do you draw that line? So you'd draw that line at something that is maybe life-threatening?
BECK: I don't know where the line is.
GRAY: It's really hard.
BECK: But here's why it has to be drawn. Because, vaccinations. You don't give your kid vaccination -- how many people do you know that ten years ago people said, "Oh, vaccinations, please stop with the vaccination thing." How many people do you know who are really smart, who have really done their homework, who have children with autism, and say, "Don't do the vaccinations thing"? A lot.
BURGUIERE: There's a lot of people who believe that.
GRAY: I've got very close friends who, and they swear by it. Vaccination thing. Swear by it.
BECK: My children? We're not getting the flu vaccine. No. The state comes and says my kids have to have the flu -- go to hell. Go to hell. Get off my porch. You want to take my kids because of that? Meet Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson. Get off my land. Period.
GRAY: And do you know there are doctors who won't treat kids who haven't been vaccinated?
BURGUIERE: Well, that's their choice, though.
BECK: That's their choice.
GRAY: That's their choice.
BECK: That's their choice.
GRAY: But I'm just saying, the pressure right now is almost unbearable. Can't go to school without it. You can't get treated by doctors without it.
BECK: You know what? To me, all of those things, as long as those are individual choices -- if somebody in a school district says, you know, the school district, the local school district, says, you know what, we don't want to have vaccinations, then I will take my children, because it will be more important than my job, my house, my car, and I'll live under a bridge if I have to, I will live in a cardboard box, and my children and I will be fine. We will make it, but I will go find a community that believes in the things that I believe.