In the same week that FOX News Channel host Sean Hannity and talk radio host Michael Savage aired the audio of the execution of American civilian Nick Berg in Iraq on their nationally syndicated radio programs, nationally syndicated Clear Channel radio host Glenn Beck also aired the audio on his May 12 show; then, two days later, Beck railed against Berg's father, Michael Berg (who criticized President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq following his son's death). Beck called Michael Berg "despicable" and "a scumbag."
Beck asked, "Can you [Michael Berg] let your son's body become the same temperature as your son's head before you turn this into a political campaign against the president -- could you do that?" Beck claimed he would say the same about Nick Berg's father were Michael Berg "a Republican and a supporter of the war and rah-rah George W. Bush and whatever."
Following are two excerpts from the May 14 broadcast of The Glenn Beck Program:
BECK: It is truly amazing to see the photos of uh -- of Nick Berg's dad out on the lawn just preaching to the choir about how he's gonna be on stage for an International A.N.S.W.E.R. [Act Now to Stop War & End Racism] rally that is uh, rallying the people against racism and the war in just a couple of weeks -- don't forget the date. It's truly amazing stuff. Then he came out yesterday also and said, "Well, ya know, al Qaida MAY be as bad as the Bush administration." [long pause] I'm supposed to feel bad for this guy. I'm supposed to say at this point, "You know, he's grieving, and so you can understand how upset he is." But I really can't. Um, I -- I -- I -- I could get on and I can fake that I'm really -- you know, that I understand his statements and I, you know, feel bad for him. And I do feel bad for him. Some of the statements I do understand. I can give him the benefit of the doubt on some of the statements, but not the -- not the collective whole. I'm beginning to really dislike this guy. I'm beginning to question, you know, "Can you let your son's body become the same temperature as your son's head before you turn this into a political campaign against the president -- could you do that?"
BECK: I find this guy [Michael Berg] despicable. Everything in me says that. The want to be a better person today than I was yesterday says he's a dad, he's grieving, but I don't buy that. I'm sorry, I don't buy it. I think he is grieving, but I think he's a scumbag as well. I don't like this guy at all."
The Philadelphia-based Glenn Beck Program is syndicated on more than 100 stations across the United States by Premiere Radio Networks, Inc., a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications Inc. According to the Associated Press on April 30, Clear Channel Communications is "the nation's largest radio chain and owner of 1,182 of the nation's 13,000 radio stations." Beck's show airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon (ET).
According to a May 13 article in the Richmond Times Dispatch, in April, "Beck shocked listeners with the announcement that he was going to air audio from an abortion procedure. It turned out to be a stunt. Beck aired a clip from Al Franken's show on Air America, a new liberal-based radio service."
In 2003, Clear Channel radio stations sponsored and organized pro-war "Rally for America" demonstrations. According to the Associated Press on March 23, 2003, the gatherings were "driven largely" by Beck, who said the rallies had drawn about 120,000 people -- in places like Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Nashville, and Cleveland -- since they started earlier in 2003. According to a December 7, 2003, article in the Allentown, Pennsylvania, newspaper The Morning Call, Beck appeared at many of the rallies, which were held in 18 cities, between February 2003 and May 2003. As the Chicago Tribune reported on March 19, 2003, "The sponsorship of large rallies by Clear Channel stations is unique among major media companies" and "raised eyebrows in some legal and journalistic circles."
Beck is also the author of the book The Real America: Messages from the Heart and Heartland (Pocket Books, 2003), which according to the official website of The Glenn Beck Program, helps readers understand "Why political correctness has turned us all into liars; What Doritos and CNN have in common; How Jesse Jackson and Yasser Arafat are the same person."