An October 23 post at USA Today's On Deadline blog highlighted nationally syndicated radio host Glenn Beck's statement -- documented by Media Matters for America -- concerning the Southern California wildfires that "I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today." The entry also noted that Chris Balfe, the producer of Beck's radio program, "expressed surprise that bloggers are seizing on this quotation as an example of incivility." On Deadline quoted Balfe saying: "To most rational people, unfortunately still means unfortunately." The On Deadline entry gave no indication that Balfe addressed Beck's statement linking the "handful of people who hate America" and the destruction of homes by the California wildfires.
According to CNN, the evacuation triggered by the fires is the largest evacuation forced by a natural disaster since hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
From the October 23 On Deadline entry:
Conservative talker Glenn Beck is under fire today for comments he made about some of the victims of the southern California wildfires during yesterday's edition of The Glenn Beck Program.
Media Matters for America, a liberal watchdog group, recorded Beck making the comment on his radio show during a lengthy monologue about the importance of coming together as one nation, with the understanding that: We all love America. We all love America. We just disagree on how we should function, what we should do, big government, small government. It doesn't mean you hate America. I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today. There are a few people that hate America. But I don't think the Democrats are those. I think there are those posing as Democrats that are like that.
In addition to the radio program, Beck hosts a prime-time TV show on CNN's Headline News. We have requested comment from Beck and will update this posting if he gets back to us before the end of the day.
Update at 10:17 a.m. ET: A spokesman for Beck expressed surprise that bloggers are seizing on this quotation as an example of incivility. "To most rational people, unfortunately still means unfortunately," Chris Balfe, the show's producer, tells On Deadline through a spokesman.