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!
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.
Forty-six companies have now reportedly said they will no longer run ads on Glenn Beck's Fox News show.
Media Matters for America has compiled a list of companies that did run ads on Glenn Beck this evening (August 27) in the order they appeared:
From an August 27 ColorofChange.org press release:
Adding to an increasing list of companies distancing themselves from Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck, ten new companies whose ads were recently seen during Beck's program-Applebee's, Bank of America, Bell & Howell, DirecTv, General Mills, Kraft, Regions Financial Corporation, SAM (Store and Move), Travelers Insurance and Vonage-have pledged to take steps to ensure that their ads don't run on Beck's show. Forty-six companies have now committed not to support Beck's show since ColorOfChange.org launched its campaign three weeks ago after the Fox News Channel host called President Obama a "racist" who "has a deep-seated hatred for white people" during an appearance on Fox & Friends.
Three of the latest defections-Travelers Insurance, Bell & Howell and DirecTv-join the list of advertisers who claim to have already placed Glenn Beck's program on a "do not air" list, but whose ads have been seen on Beck's program, apparently against their wishes.
"We could not be happier with the results of our campaign so far," said James Rucker, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org. "All 46 companies that have distanced themselves from Glenn Beck should be applauded for their stance."
"We are still reaching out to companies whose ads we see during Beck's nightly program," Rucker continued. "Based on the fact that many of the recent ads on Beck's program are for gold coins and News Corp properties, it looks like Fox News Channel is struggling to place advertisements on Beck's show."
From Your World with Neil Cavuto:
And does the fact that nearly 40 advertisers have abandoned his program in response to a grassroots campaign have anything to do with Beck's sudden bout of monumental amnesia?
I ask because watch this clip below of Beck on Bill O'Reilly's show this week and watch as the two men bemoan the attempts by nasty liberals "loons" to shut Beck up; to snatch away his Freedom of Speech.
What's rather astonishing is that while Beck and O'Reilly clearly make (indirect) references to the ad boycott campaign, they never explain to viewers what sparked the outrage. They never explain why. They never explain the campaign was launched in direct response to the fact that Beck went on national television and called the President of the United State a "racist"; somebody who flashed a "deep-seated hatred of white people."
At Fox News, that smear has been flushed down the memory hole, and all that's left is playing victim.
The knee-jerk response is utterly predictable. But oh brother, wait until you see the "logic" used by Riehl World View to defend Andrew Breitbart, who unleashed a crazy, name-calling screed yesterday, just hours after Kennedy passed, calling the American icon a "prick" and a "bastard."
According to Riehl World View, liberals criticizing Breitbart are "hypocrites" because when Dick Cheney dies they're going to do the exact same thing. That's right, liberals today are hypocrites because of what they might do in the future; because of how they might act based on a right-wing fantasy, where liberal columnists suddenly lose all their moral guideposts and viciously attack a dead politician (attack the person, not even his politics), just hours after he loses a long battle with cancer.
Yesterday, "San Diego County Political Buzz Examiner" Kimberly Dvorak posted an Examiner.com article claiming that the Congressional Research Service (CRS) "took the President to task over his weekly radio address that claimed to expel myths in the health care bill." Dvorak, in support of her case, came armed with a couple of quotes purportedly from the CRS:
"There is just one problem: his (the President) statements don't match the facts," CRS said.
The President's address began with a "false claim that illegal immigrants will not [sic] get health insurance under reform." CRS reports that there are numerous loopholes in the House legislation will offer benefits to illegal aliens.
Pretty harsh stuff. But let's take a step back for a moment. Anyone who knows anything about the CRS would immediately grow suspicious at the idea that that organization would produce a sentence along the lines of: "There is just one problem: his (the President) statements don't match the facts." CRS reports, for all their informative value, are drier than white toast packed in silica gel. Just take a look at this excerpt from a recent report on Chile's economic model:
The existing prudential regulatory and oversight system has so far limited these types of mistakes from being repeated and is credited with helping maintain the health of the banking sector during the global financial crisis. It continues to update regulations to stay current with a dynamic and innovative industry so as to balance competitiveness with prudence. The result, in 2009 Chile has one of the most stable banking systems among emerging market countries, as evidenced by its capacity to withstand external shocks related to the global recession and international credit contraction.
So what has happened? Has the CRS taken on a new edgier tone? Is a rogue CRS researcher inserting punchy language into the final copies of these otherwise stodgy reports? As it turns out, the quote isn't from the CRS at all, but rather from an August 25 press release from Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX):
President Obama on Saturday continued the hard sell for the Democrats' healthcare scheme with a radio address that purported to expel myths associated with the bill. There is just one problem: his statements don't match the facts.
But wait -- there's more! The second quote that Dvorak attributes to the CRS -- the "false claim that illegal immigrants will not [sic] get health insurance under reform" -- was also from Smith's press release, but in addition to misattributing the quote, she altered it to change its meaning. Smith's press release was actually quoting President Obama's August 22 address:
The President's radio address started by calling it a "false claim that illegal immigrants will get health insurance under reform." But his statements are contradicted by fact. A new report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) validates that numerous loopholes may allow illegal immigrants to benefit under the bill.
Dvorak took that quote from President Obama's radio address, inserted the word "not" into it, and then claimed it was actually from a CRS report refuting President Obama's radio address. That's shockingly dishonest, and it would be interesting to hear from Examiner.com's editors how it was that all this managed to slip by them.
Anti-abortion activists are upset about proposed health care reform proposals, so of course the Journal newsroom treats it as very, very big news. Because, as I noted earlier this week, when angry (and overwhelmingly white) conservatives get politically angry, it's news.
Liberals? Not so much.
From the Journal:
Abortion Is New Front in Health Battle
See how definitive that is? It's not that a relatively small number of abortion foes want to make the issue the new health battle "front." They've done it. (Voilà!) How do we know? The Journal just announced it as fact. And note in its coverage the Journal, incredibly, includes an image of radical, anti-abortion lunatic Randall Terry as being a main player in this health care push. Inside the Journal newsroom, Terry is, once again, an important policy player.
The Journal lede:
Anti-abortion groups are gearing up for a battle in the fall over health-care legislation, another headache for Democrats who already face concerns about the measure's cost and reach.
Most versions of the Democratic health plan would create subsidies for lower-income people to buy private health insurance. If that insurance includes coverage for abortion, as many existing private plans do, it effectively means federal taxpayers are subsidizing abortion, critics of the legislation argue.
The right-wing spin that "critics" want to emphasize is that the government is, basically, going to be paying for, if not providing, abortions. That it's going to pay poor woman to terminate their babies. (Sort of like it's going to be in the business of selectively killing old people, via "death panels.") Indeed, the reform simply proves, "just how far Democrats are willing to go to force taxpayers to fund abortion," as Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) tells the Journal.
But even by the Journal's own reporting, that premise represents a gigantic stretch. Instead, under the proposed reforms, the government would be in the business of helping poor people get health care. And what kind of care they need would be up to them, and their doctors, to decide.
Not matter, that's the spin "critics" on the far-right are pushing, and so that's the spin the Journal focuses on. And that's the spin the Journal dutifully announces has been elevated to the next "front."
The only thing surprising is that it's not surprising. The unhinged haters cannot restrain themselves. Even now.
Andrew Breitbart, a Washington Times columnist who oversees Breitbart.com and BigHollywood.com, tapped into the anti-Kennedy vein in the hours after the senator's death was announced, posting a series of Twitter messages in which he called Kennedy a "villain," a "duplicitous bastard" and a "prick."
"I'm more than willing to go off decorum to ensure THIS MAN is not beatified," Breitbart wrote. "Sorry, he destroyed lives. And he knew it."
Since becoming editor of the WashTimes, John Solomon has been trying to convince people that the Moonie-owned daily is more than a right-wing spin outlet. He's been trying to convince people that it's a serious newspaper run by serious people. Well, it seems to me Breitbart's outlandish hateful screed, coming just hours after Kennedy died, provides Solomon with a perfect opportunity to prove his point.
It provides Solomon with a chance to do something. (Demand Breitbart apologize; cut ties with the columnist, etc.) Solomon can stand up for the kind of newspaper that Times leaders say they wants to be, instead of allowing people like Breitbart to prop it up as a laughing stock.
I realize the GOP Noise Machine has done its best this year to obliterate any semblance of common sense and decency in terms of its unprecedented outpouring of hate rhetoric. (i.e. The POTUS is a Nazi racist) But it would seem to me that there must be some adults still seated at positions of conservative media power who can plainly see that spitting on the memory of an American icon like Ted Kennedy deserves to be met with a swift, and equally forceful, response.
We'll see if John Solomon really means it when he claims he wants the WashTimes to be a serious newspaper.
Health Care Reform Hysteria: 'Death Book' Scare Tactics Inexcusable
(Washington, D.C.) – "Health care reform is a legitimate topic for discussion and debate," said John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), "but it is outrageous for some partisans to politicize the debate by targeting veterans with blatant scare tactics.
"The issue du jour is the so-called Death Book for veterans," Rowan said. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, the person who headed the office of faith-based initiatives for the Bush White House attacked 'Your Life, Your Choices,' a 52-page booklet of end-of-life options to be considered by veterans and their families that has been given out by the VA as per federal law. This booklet, developed in 1997 when Bill Clinton was President, was given to veterans and their families, if requested, under a directive in 2007 from President Bush. It was updated last month, under President Obama.
"This booklet was developed with guidance from clerics," Rowan said, "and it addresses options most of us and our loved ones will have to sort through as we live our final years. To play politics with veterans' end-of-life choices is not only irresponsible politically, but it is cruel. We agree with Congressman Joe Sestak, a retired Navy Admiral, who is outraged at the 'Death Book' charges and has called them 'inexcusable.'
"It is our hope that sane minds reject fear-mongering, and that veterans recognize these scare tactics for what they are," Rowan said.
(h/t Greg Sargent)