Glenn Beck Mainstreams Fringe Conspiracy Theories

Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

We're used to Glenn Beck being "out there", but today's show was special. Beck's hour (the second day in a row in which he didn't say a thing about the passing of Sen. Kennedy) was all about the supposed secret army being built by President Obama. This secret army idea, not supported by any facts, though possibly written in invisible ink that Beck can interpret, is a pet cause of fringe radio host Alex Jones.

Jones is something of a leader in the underground 9/11 "truth" movement. They believe that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job and that all the governments of the world are controlled by a cabal of the uber-rich who want to kill 2/3 of the world's population. Really.

Jones has repeatedly alluded to the existence of a secret army being built by Obama, a similar charge to the one leveled by Beck on today's show. The difference of course is that Jones mostly transmits over the internet and shortwave radio. Beck has a show on a cable "news" network. Beck's previous flirtation with the idea that FEMA was building detention camps is also an article of faith with Jones and his followers.

The focus of the Jones/Beck secret army conspiracy theory is the AmeriCorps program, which was created during President Clinton's presidency. AmeriCorps describes itself like this:

Each year, AmeriCorps offers 75,000 opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve through a network of partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups. Whether your service makes a community safer, gives a child a second chance, or helps protect the environment, you'll be getting things done through AmeriCorps!

In 2004, President George W. Bush met with AmeriCorps volunteers for Earth Day. The AmeriCorps pledge is as follows:

I will get things done for America -
to make our people safer,
smarter, and healthier.

I will bring Americans together
to strengthen our communities.

Faced with apathy,
I will take action.

Faced with conflict,
I will seek common ground.

Faced with adversity,
I will persevere.

I will carry this commitment
with me this year and beyond.

I am an AmeriCorps member,
and I will get things done.

Well, that should convince everyone. Those are clearly the words of a secret army being run by the President.

Recently Alex Jones has taken to posting bizarre YouTube videos where he attacks President Obama's policies while dressed up as the Joker. Considering the regular antics on Beck, it's probably only a matter of time before cable news imitates the lunatic fringe. Again.

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