Glenn Beck opened his Fox News program today saying: "Welcome to a special edition of 'The Glenn Beck Program.' The story of America is really one of self-reliance and optimism, and profound faith. Not only in the context of religious freedom, but also in the unprecedented faith in the ability of human beings to control their own destiny."
Sound familiar? That's because it's from Beck's mini "documentary" film, The Revolutionary Holocaust: Life Free or Die." Today, Beck replayed his half-baked attempt to tie the atrocities of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Ernesto 'Che' Guevara to modern progressivism. We thought this would be a good opportunity to remind Beck's audience that back in January, when the special first appeared, numerous historians disputed Beck's claims in the film, calling it a "complete lie" representing an "alternative universe."
In a January Politico article headlined "History according to Glenn Beck," reporter Michael Calderone asked history professors what they thought of Beck's documentary on "the atrocities of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Ernesto 'Che' Guevara - 'the true unseen history of Marxism, progressivism and communism' as Beck described it."
In the article, Clemson professor Steven Marks called Beck's assertions "a complete lie":
Clemson University professor Steven Marks, author of "How Russia Shaped the Modern World," said that while Beck doesn't explicitly tie the left-wing totalitarian regimes of the past to contemporary liberals, that's what "he's hinting at here."
"No one in their right mind is going to defend Stalin or Mao or Che Guevara," Marks said. "The implication is that this is what's going to happen if Democrats get their way. This is just a complete lie."
Boston College professor Alan Wolfe said Beck "lives in a complete alternative universe":
Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Life at Boston College, said that the film not only isn't accurate, but that Beck "lives in a complete alternative universe."
As an example, he said, Beck mentions how the Nazis supported programs like universal health care as evidence that their ideology may have more to do with the left than the totalitarian right.
Nazi Germany was "not evil because of their economic program," said Wolfe, which he noted included a few programs designed to promote public health.
"It was evil," he said, " because it aimed at the extermination of European Jewry."
The article also quotes Georgetown history University Professor Michael Kazin, who referred to the piece as "propaganda" and that to reach his conclusions, Beck ignored some key facts, such as the "the first anti-Communists were democratic socialists and anarchists like Emma Goldman" or that "socialists in Europe after 1945 were allies of the U.S.against the USSR."