"Two Steps Above An Anarchist": Beck's Webcast Is A Barrage Of Fringe Views
Blog ››› ››› TODD GREGORY
Last night, Glenn Beck's website streamed a video that it billed as a "a special prime time broadcast celebrating the 1-year anniversary of Insider Extreme," Beck's $75-a-year Web subscription service. Beck's site described the video as "an exclusive glimpse inside Glenn's New York City home as he hosts a very special dinner" with four guests to "tackle the issues the mainstream media just won't talk about."
Beck promoted the special on his Fox News show yesterday as well, encouraging viewers to visit GlennBeck.com to see "a conversation with four experts that I had the other night on what is coming in the next 12 months. It is a conversation that America must have. And not one that I expected, actually, to have when we started. It's amazing."
He was right -- it was amazing. In the course of the video, Beck and CNN's Dana Loesch expressed a baffling sympathy for anarchism. Loesch said, "I'm two steps above anarchy conservatism, just as it was intended by the Founding Fathers. I mean, really, that's really what we're supposed to be." In response, Beck said, "[W]hen you say we're two steps -- you're two steps above an anarchist -- and I think I am, too. I mean, I'm really closer to Washington than any president, even Reagan. They really were organized, controlled anarchists."
Beck also returned to drawing parallels between current conditions and the conditions that led to the Holocaust. While discussing the "better natural side of man" and the "dark side of natural man," Beck said, "[T]hey don't co-exist. I mean, there is a time when you do have to say enough is enough. And we always bury our head in the sand. We're doing -- mark my words. We are doing what we did with Nazi Germany right now. And the trains will return someplace on the earth. It will happen again. All the same seeds are here."
Beck's selection of guests primed the conversation to include fringe views:
- Dana Loesch The mistake CNN made in hiring Loesch as a contributor did nothing to repair her fundamental credibility problem -- she remains the editor-in-chief of Big Journalism, one of the websites created by notorious smear merchant Andrew Breitbart. It regularly promotes outlandish theories.
- Damon Vickers Vickers has popped up on Beck's show from time to time to talk about the same things he talks about when he appears on the radio show of fringe conspiracist Alex Jones -- one-world government and economic collapse.
- Steve Emerson Though often cited as a terrorism expert by the right-wing media, Emerson frequently makes baseless, sensational claims about Islam and terrorism. For instance, on the Insider Extreme anniversary special, Emerson claimed that Palestinian militants are in Mexico learning "how to dig tunnels that will evade detection in Gaza."
- Brad Thor Thor makes his money as a novelist and moonlights writing for Breitbart's discredited websites. Almost a year ago, Thor's "exclusive" on Big Government about Pakistan having captured Taliban leader Mullah Omar crumbled. On Beck's CNN Headline News show in 2007, Thor said of Iraq, "We need a dictator back in that country. That's all those people respond to. The Arab world is so messed up, they can't -- you can't give people democracy."
Beck warmed up by drawing the conclusion that "jihadists" are "basically really nasty community organizing -- ACORN with an attitude and a suicide vest."
BECK: I am convinced that the secret lies in community organizing. Is that not what jihad -- what they're doing, jihadists? They're basically really nasty community organizing -- ACORN with an attitude and a suicide vest. Community organizing is the secret, and linking together is the secret.
This is in keeping with Beck's bizarre love-hate relationship with community organizing. It's bad when progressives are doing it, but good when conservatives are doing it. Especially when they're using the "Freedom Connector" organizing tool offered by his radio sponsor FreedomWorks.
Later, Beck and Loesch had their exchange about the merits of anarchism:
LOESCH: I think that the Tea Party movement has sort of broken the spell that Republicans can do no wrong. Which was a huge goal of mine when I was first started out, because I'm two steps above anarchy conservatism, just as it was intended by the Founding Fathers. I mean, really, that's really what we're supposed to be.
And I -- from what I've seen and from what I've heard from people, they no longer believe that simply because you have an "R" by your name, that guarantees you're a conservative, it guarantees that you're pro-life, it guarantees that, you know, you stand for the principles upon which this country was founded. And I think that's really -- and that's one of the reasons we've seen a lot of Republicans push back against the movement.
BECK: So, where do we go -- where have we gone wrong? Because when you say we're two steps -- you're two steps above an anarchist -- and I think I am, too. I mean, I'm really closer to Washington than any president, even Reagan. They really were organized, controlled anarchists.
BECK: I mean, they thought -- really, it is the closest to anarchy. Just -- the Articles of Confederation were too weak, and they -- and so they just pushed it out just a little bit farther. And they were like, "No, no, no, 'cause it'll cause a big government." But they pushed it out just a little farther to give it that stability.
But how is it that, in a generation that understands anarchy and revolution -- I mean, look at what YouTube is going to do to television. Look what YouTube has done to the music industry. You don't have to have a big record promoter.
LOESCH: Nope. Not anymore.
BECK: You make one, it gets hits -- you're a hit.
BECK: So, how is it that this young generation understands structured anarchy that is directly -- you are the source of power. But yet we can't seem to knit it together with that guy: George Washington. Because that's what he believed in.
Shortly afterward, Beck gave a meandering account of a meeting he had with evangelist Billy Graham. Beck claimed that Graham had tearfully told him, "I feel that I have failed you," in part because Graham didn't "have an answer for" Beck. Beck said he replied, "Reverend Graham, I don't even know what the question is. How could you have the answer? It will come."
Beck then said: "When I got back -- he gave me a gift. And when I got back, I was sitting in my office. And I'm looking at this gift. And the gift was the answer. And -- not prepared to talk about it yet, but it is global. What is coming is global."
BECK: I have to tell you, that -- gosh, and I'm not going to announce anything here. But when I met with Billy Graham -- I met with him four weeks ago, five weeks ago, something like that. That had been coming for about a year. And I had just -- and he had said that it wasn't time. I called last, like, June, July. And he said, "Not time yet."
And I had just said to somebody on my staff couple days before I met with him again, and I said, "There's something, I just know it, it's with Billy Graham." And the phone rings, and it's Billy Graham. And -- or Billy Graham's people.
And said he'd like meet with you. And it's something I haven't shared. I said to him, "Billy, I" -- or "Reverend Graham, this is important. There's something that -- something that's going to happen here. I've been looking for an answer, and you're a key." And he sat there for a while, and he shook his head, and in such a sweet and tender moment -- such a nice, gracious man. We were sitting like this, and he reaches over to me, and he grabs my hands like this. And he looks up, and he has tears in his eyes, and he said, "I feel I have failed you." And I said, "No." And he said, "I should have been praying more. I should have an answer for you." And I said, "Reverend Graham, I don't even know what the question is. How could you have the answer? It will come."
When I got back -- he gave me a gift. And when I got back, I was sitting in my office. And I'm looking at this gift. And the gift was the answer. And -- not prepared to talk about it yet, but it is global. What is coming is global.
It's a hallmark of Beck's lack of focus that he can tell a gauzy, emotional anecdote like that one, and about 10 minutes later, resume fearmongering about a new Holocaust:
BECK: How do you two come together?
VICKERS: I have to -- all we need is love.
EMERSON: It won't work. Because they love that you define is totally different than the love that Sheikh Yusuf al-Qardawi defines when he says kill Jews and kill Americans.
VICKERS: Well, he's not -- he has no love.
BECK: I will tell you, I agree with both of you. That love really is the answer, and as simple as that sounds, that is where it always --
VICKERS: I know it's a simple answer
BECK: That's the way it always -- that's what always wins in the end, unless they kill you first.
EMERSON: And, listen. In the past century, what was the biggest failed lesson that we learned? When we talked about the issue of the German Jews, who were massacred, subject to genocide, and the world stood by and did nothing, not believing that Hitler could do this, thinking that there was always a way out, not caring enough, right? Not wanting to spread the love, because Hitler's love was totally different than our love.
VICKERS: Oh, well, we -- I don't -- well, that's an interesting version of the history of it.
EMERSON: The Germans loved Hitler.
VICKERS: I think we looked the other way during a lot of it.
BECK: Oh, we looked the other way.
THOR: There was a lot of appeasement.
VICKERS: Just like we're looking the other way right now [unintelligible]
THOR: Yeah, we are.
BECK: Yeah, you're right.
EMERSON: But that's part of our weakness, is that we look the other way because we want to believe that there is this love out there.
BECK: But there is. There is. Look, we established that love is who we really are instinctively, at least here. We are. We established that on September 11th when we connected with each other in fear and helped each other. It's what's happening in Japan right now. That's what's happening in Japan. That's who -- that's the better natural side of man.
But there also is the dark side of natural man, and they don't co-exist. I mean, there is a time when you do have to say enough is enough. And we always bury our head in the sand. We're doing -- mark my words. We are doing what we did with Nazi Germany right now.
EMERSON: I agree with you 100 percent.
BECK: We're doing it again. And the trains will return someplace on the earth. It will happen again. All the same seeds are here.
EMERSON: Look at the reaction of the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank [video skip] the absolute outrageous murder of the five settlers in the West Bank, where they stabbed to death a 3-month-old child, they decapitated him. And then they're giving out candies in Gaza. And we refuse to even criticize the Palestinians.
The "seeds are here" for a repeat of the Holocaust?
The Founding Fathers were anarchists?
The problem isn't that Beck is saying these things.
It's that people are believing them.