There was never much hope that Fox News -- which has time and again refused to adhere to any standard of propriety -- would make any serious moves to rein in the constant stream of Nazi invocations coming from Glenn Beck. But, as Jewish Funds for Justice CEO Simon Greer wrote in a November 11 op-ed, there was a brief, shining moment back in July when it actually seemed as though Roger Ailes and the rest of the Fox News brass might finally have been forced to take action:
As many of you know, I was the subject of a personal attack by Glenn Beck in May of this year. Responding to an article I wrote supporting a government role to advance the common good, Beck scolded me, declaring that my words "are what led to the death camps in Germany" and that I "as a Jew, should know better." To discuss this and other, similar comments, on July 26, I joined rabbis Steve Gutow and David Ellenson, on behalf of fourteen prominent leaders of national Jewish organizations, in a meeting with Fox News President Roger Ailes and the producer of Glenn Beck's television show, Joel Cheatwood. We spoke for almost an hour about the concerns held by many Jews about Glenn Beck's constant and often inappropriate invocation of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany on the air.
We were assured by Ailes and Cheatwood that they understand our concerns and would explain them to Beck. Two days later, I received a hand-written note from Beck, which stated: "Simon, Joel shared the details of your meeting yesterday. Please know that I understand the sensitivity and sacred nature of this dark chapter in Human History. Thank you for your candor and helpful thoughts."
Of course, we know that Beck broke his promise to respect the sensitivity of the Holocaust and continued on with the Nazi rhetoric unabated. But what of Ailes? He also, as Greer put it, said he was sensitive to the "concerns held by many Jews about Glenn Beck's constant and often inappropriate invocation of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany."
Well, it turns out that was a lie, too:
"A guy who gets fired and humiliated in the press can lose a lot of confidence," Ailes says. Calling [former NPR analyst Juan] Williams "a pure liberal," Ailes says he wanted to compensate the pundit for his losses because he was "mad" and "I didn't want him to have to call his wife and say we lost money."
Then he turned his sights on NPR executives.
"They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don't want any other point of view. They don't even feel guilty using tax dollars to spout their propaganda. They are basically Air America with government funding to keep them alive."