Responding to Krugman, Beck claimed of FEMA conspiracy theories: "Never said anything like it"

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Responding to a Paul Krugman column that stated that Glenn Beck had warned of the possibility of FEMA concentration camps, Beck claimed, "Never said anything like it." But Beck had previously said that he couldn't "debunk" the FEMA conspiracy theory.

On the June 12 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, Glenn Beck responded to Paul Krugman's New York Times column from the previous day which stated that Beck had "warned viewers that the Federal Emergency Management Agency might be building concentration camps as part of the Obama administration's 'totalitarian' agenda (although he eventually conceded that nothing of the kind was happening)." In response, Beck claimed: "Never said anything like it. I demand a retraction. I never said anything like it." Beck continued by citing his debunking of the FEMA conspiracy theory on two April editions of his show, stating:

BECK: So I didn't concede. We contracted with someone to go film it, so we could compare A and B and show people that it wasn't happening. And by the way, that was happening -- those rumors started under the Clinton administration. Then they grew even bigger under the Bush administration. It never had anything to do with Barack Obama.

But prior to his April shows, Beck appeared on the March 3 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, and stated, "We don't even understand freedom anymore. We are a country that is headed towards socialism, totalitarianism, beyond your wildest imagination." Beck went on to state that he "wanted to debunk" the theory that FEMA was building camps, adding, "I can't debunk them." Beck subsequently stated, "It is -- it is our government. If you trust our government, it's fine. If you have any kind of fear that we might be headed towards a totalitarian state, look out, buckle up. There is something going on in our country that is -- ain't good."

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): You're talking about Eastern Europe, too. And they have stood by us in everything we've done -- the Pols and --

BECK: They understand --

KILMEADE: -- the Czech Republic have been sold out with this letter.

BECK: They understand freedom. We don't even understand freedom anymore. We are a country that is headed towards socialism, totalitarianism, beyond your wildest imagination. I have to tell you, I'm doing a story tonight that I wanted to debunk these FEMA camps. I'm tired of hearing -- you know about them?

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Sure.

BECK: I'm tired of hearing -- I wanted to debunk them. Well, we've now for several days done research on them. I can't debunk them. And we're going to carry the story tonight.

KILMEADE: I don't know anything about them, so --

BECK: It is -- it is our government. If you trust our government, it's fine. If you have any kind of fear that we might be headed towards a totalitarian state, look out, buckle up. There is something going on in our country that is -- ain't good.

On his Fox News program later that day, Beck claimed, "I don't believe in the FEMA prison," and later stated, "If these things exist, that's bad, and we will cover it. If they don't exist, it's irresponsible to not debunk this story." Beck said:

BECK: Do you ever just listen to the news and go, "Good God almighty"? There's just so much to deal with. I got up this morning after a very long night of tossing and turning. If you watched Fox & Friends this morning or listened to my radio show, I told you that I was going to tell you about the FEMA camps, or the FEMA prisons, today.

This is something that I snapped on the air, because somebody called me up and said, "Why don't you to talk about the FEMA prisons." And I said, "Can we just settle the FEMA prison thing?" I don't believe in the FEMA prison. If you don't know, I'll tell you about it in a couple of days.

I was going to talk about it today, but as I came in -- I came in and did the show this morning, and then I went in to my office, and I was looking at all the research that are being compiled, and it wasn't complete.

And I am not willing to bring something to you that is half-baked. If these things exist, that's bad, and we will cover it. If they don't exist, it's irresponsible to not debunk this story.

This program is not beholden to anybody. We answer to ourselves. I answer to me. I lost sleep last night worrying about this story, thinking about this story, and wanted to make sure that I got it right. The only thing that I answer to is myself, and I just want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and also sleep at night.

We have an independent group on this program looking into it, turning over every stone. I am going to bring you this story. This program is not beholden -- this is going to drive the conspiracy theorists crazy [unintelligible] -- they're making me say this. Help.

During the April 6 edition of his Fox News show, Beck hosted James Meigs, Popular Mechanics' editor-in-chief, to debunk the stories, as Krugman stated in his June 11 column.

From the June 12 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:

BECK: It's unbelievable. I just -- I just got a copy of Paul Krugman's -- I was mentioned by a Nobel Prize winner -- Paul Krugman's op-ed piece in The New York Times today, entitled, "The Big Hate." Let me tell you something. This is what I'm warning you about and say let it go. Let it go. They need to frighten you. They're not gonna frighten me; I don't really care. I know the truth, you know the truth -- whatever. I'm doing my part.

Back in April, there was a huge fuss over an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security warning that current conditions resemble those in the early 1990s -- a time marked by an upsurge of right-wing extremism that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing.

Conservatives were outraged. The chairman of the Republican National Committee denounced the report as an attempt to "segment out conservatives in this country who have a different philosophy or view from this administration" and label them as terrorists.

But with the murder of Dr. George Tiller by an anti-abortion fanatic, closely followed by the shooting by a white supremacist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the analysts look prescient.

There is, however, one important thing that the DHS report didn't say: Today, as in the early years of the Clinton administration but to a greater extent, right-wing extremism is being systematically fed by the conservative media and political establishment.

Now, for the most part, the likes of Fox News and the RNC haven't directly incited violence, despite Bill O'Reilly's declarations that "some" called Dr. Killer -- Tiller -- "Tiller the Baby Killer," and that he had "blood on his hands," and that he was a "guy operating a death mill." But they have gone out of their way to provide a platform for conspiracy theories and apocalyptic rhetoric, just as they did the last time Democrats held the White House.

And at this point, whatever dividing line there was between mainstream conservatism and the black-helicopter crowd -- they seem to be virtually erased.

Exhibit A for the mainstreaming of right-wing extremism is Fox News' new star, Glenn Beck. Here we have a network where, like it or not, millions of Americans get their news -- and give it daily airtime to a commentator who, among other things, warned viewers that FEMA might be building concentration camps of the Obama administration's "totalitarian" agenda.

Never said anything like it. I demand a retraction. I never said anything like it.

"Although he eventually conceded that nothing of the kind was happening."

I didn't concede. The reason why we did the story, if you are a long-time listener of this program, you know that I have been saying stop with the FEMA camp stuff. Stop. We've must -- just like I did last hour on the ACORN going door-to-door with the census. Stop listening to the Internet. There's a lot of garbage out on the Internet.

So I didn't concede. We contracted with someone to go film it, so we could compare A and B and show people that it wasn't happening. And by the way, that was happening -- those rumors started under the Clinton administration. Then they grew even bigger under the Bush administration. It never had anything to do with Barack Obama. What did you say?

STU BURGUIERE (executive producer): Dan is telling me -- Dan, tell us -- say this on the air.

DAN ANDROS (producer): Yeah, I just clicked -- I just went through that part in the article, too, and I clicked on the link The New York Times puts in there. And they actually link to the Fox News page of your debunking of the FEMA camp thing.

BURGUIERE: Do you know why? Because they know their stupid readers are not going to click on anything.

BECK: They're not going to click; they don't care.

BURGUIERE: They're so intellectually non-curious.

BECK: I want a -- I want a -- Gresh, you're a journalist. Gresh is our executive producer. You're a journalist. When he's writing something that they might be building -- that I warned viewers that they might be building concentration camps as part of the Obama administration's totalitarian agenda, does he have to back that up with anything? Does he?

BURGUIERE: Well, he is -- I mean, no, he has --

BECK: I never said that.

BURGUIERE: Yeah, I mean, you know, you can pull stuff out of context and piece together that you have said things that if we are headed towards socialism, and you can say that you did do a segment on FEMA camps -- debunking it, don't click on this link -- but, I mean, you know, they're just gonna piece stuff together. I don't think that's -- I don't know if it's a journalistically --

BECK: I can't -- I mean, look, here's the thing, here's the thing --

BURGUIERE: Also, it's a column, too, right?

BECK: This is what they're going to do. This is what they're going to do. That's fine. Stand by the -- it's fine. Fine. Just know the game they're playing. Know the game they're playing. Prepare for it. Know what you believe and stand by it.

From the March 3 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

BECK: We need Russia to be on our side, but we don't give away the defense. Look, I had a head of state tell me six months ago who -- a head of state over in that area. He said to me when I met with President Bush -- he said to me -- and this was on the day that he just got out and he was shaken, and I know this man and he was shaken.

And he said your president said to me today, he said he was very -- and he was searching for a word -- apocalyptic. And I said, like the four horsemen of the apocalypse -- you know, that kind of apocalypse? Do you have the right word? And he said, yes. He said your president left me with this statement: We will be there by your side if we survive. If we survive. What are we doing abandoning people that are on our side that stand for --

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): You're talking about Eastern Europe, too. And they have stood by us in everything we've done -- the Poles and --

BECK: They understand --

KILMEADE: -- the Czech Republic have been sold out with this letter.

BECK: They understand freedom. We don't even understand freedom anymore. We are a country that is headed towards socialism, totalitarianism, beyond your wildest imagination. I have to tell you, I'm doing a story tonight that I wanted to debunk these FEMA camps. I'm tired of hearing -- you know about them?

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Sure.

BECK: I'm tired of hearing -- I wanted to debunk them. Well, we've now for several days done research on them. I can't debunk them. And we're going to carry the story tonight.

KILMEADE: I don't know anything about them, so --

BECK: It is -- it is our government. If you trust our government, it's fine. If you have any kind of fear that we might be headed towards a totalitarian state, look out, buckle up. There is something going on in our country that is -- ain't good.

From the March 3 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Do you ever just listen to the news and go, "Good God almighty"? There's just so much to deal with. I got up this morning after a very long night of tossing and turning. If you watched Fox & Friends this morning or listened to my radio show, I told you that I was going to tell you about the FEMA camps, or the FEMA prisons, today.

This is something that I snapped on the air, because somebody called me up and said, "Why don't you to talk about the FEMA prisons." And I said, "Can we just settle the FEMA prison thing?" I don't believe in the FEMA prison. If you don't know, I'll tell you about it in a couple of days.

I was going to talk about it today, but as I came in -- I came in and did the show this morning, and then I went in to my office, and I was looking at all the research that are being compiled, and it wasn't complete.

And I am not willing to bring something to you that's half-baked. If these things exist, that's bad, and we will cover it. If they don't exist, it's irresponsible to not debunk this story.

We have an independent group on this program looking into it, turning over every stone. I am going to bring you this story. This program is not beholden -- this is going to drive the conspiracy theorists crazy [unintelligible] -- they're making me say this. Help.

This program is not beholden to anybody. We answer to ourselves. I answer to me. I lost sleep last night worrying about this story, thinking about this story, and wanted to make sure that I got it right. The only thing that I answer to is myself, and I just want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and also sleep at night.

The media covers lots of stories, but I don't think they ever put the pieces of them together. I mean, [unintelligible] never ever know what anything means. All of the -- all of the news is connected. It fits together -- it fits together like a puzzle. And I want to show you tonight what it means.

Put a first puzzle piece together. President Obama has dedicated $155 million to 126 community health centers. Next piece: Tom Coburn and the others are prepared to go to jail if the government repeals the conscious clause, which is -- it's considering doing. This involves protection for federally funded health care providers who object to procedures like abortion on moral grounds.

Third piece: The government is moving to limit deductions from charitable giving from people who make over $250,000 a year. Charities are worried they're going to make even less money this year without it, let alone with it.

It all adds up to government control, and that is what is really going on in our country. It's not about the stimulus. It's not about the bailout. It's not about solving problems. It's about controlling things.

Joining me now is Congressman Ron Paul. Hello, Congressman. How are you, sir?

PAUL: Hello, Glenn. Good to be with you.

BECK: Good to be with you. First of all, on the FEMA prison thing -- I know we've been in contact with your office, and we would appreciate any help that you have. I want to make sure we're turning over every stone on anything, because there's a lot of -- there's a lot of crazy stuff that is being said about these things.

And I appreciate you talking to us, and we'll be in touch with you again, because I want to make sure that we have everything that you might be concerned with as well. Will you help us on that, sir?

PAUL: Yeah, I don't -- I don't think all the answers are in -- your concern that they might be setting up these camps that verge on concentration camps. There is no evidence that I can find --

BECK: None.

PAUL: -- that they're actually set up. But I think there is a justified concern, not just because of the legislation that has been proposed, because that doesn't -- that piece of legislation doesn't have a lot of co-sponsors. It's not on the verge of being passed. But the atmosphere in Washington is what we have to be concerned about.

BECK: Yes.

PAUL: You know, since 9-11, and dealing with the Patriot Act and repealing the posse comitatus and the Insurrection Act -- these are trends that are very, very bad, where personal liberties and civil liberties are not well protected.

And FEMA is already very, very powerful, and they overrule when they go in on emergencies. So in some ways they can accomplish what you might be thinking about -- about setting up camps. And they don't necessarily have to have legislation, you know --

BECK: I know.

PAUL: -- to do the things that we dread, but it's something that --

BECK: Yeah. Congressman --

PAUL: -- certainly deserves a lot of attention.

BECK: Right. And I want to make it very clear. I'm not fearing these things are happening. I want to set the record straight because we've got to know what we can believe in.

Now, let me switch topics here. Let me switch to -- Barack Obama is now taking away some of the charitable donation tax deductions if you make over $250,000 a year. This is going to make a huge impact.

From the April 6 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: All right. A little over a month ago, I had a call. It was like the one billionth call from a woman who asked me about FEMA prison camps. And I said to my producer, I said, "Can we just please debunk this or prove it to be accurate?" I kind of snapped on the lady because, honestly, I'm sick of seeing the emails about the FEMA camps. I got something from friends that was about Nancy Pelosi, and it was completely bogus.

Look, let's just stick to the facts. There is enough truth out there that pisses people off. We don't need all the lies.

The basic idea is that FEMA is setting up evil concentration camps to be used against U.S. citizens. Now, along with the 9-11 truthers, this is one of the most pervasive conspiracy theories on the Internet, because it comes with supposed video -- there's the video proof, right there. That video now has had over -- well over a million views on YouTube.

So we set out to get the truth. And quite honestly, I don't believe that there are FEMA concentration camps. I think that sounds kind of nuts. But if there are, I'll show them to you. If there aren't, I'll show that to you.

We set out to get the truth on it. And after our initial research, I came in and I said, "Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. We can't debunk this?" Well, no, I thought we had done enough research to get the video. I wanted to line up video side by side.

Apparently, there hadn't been any debunking done at all. And there was no video side by side. Well, predictably, the media started claiming that somehow or another I believed in these conspiracy theories, even though I said on the air a million times I don't, and I've said that for years.

Not to mention the entire time they were running their mouths, we were working with an independent group to debunk them or to prove them. I also said that on the air over and over and over again. But who listens to context?

The one guy that can actually set the record straight here is James Meigs. He's the editor-in-chief of that independent group I was talking about, otherwise known as Popular Mechanics. They did an incredible job in the writing of the definitive debunking of the 9-11 conspiracy that everybody knows now is not true because of Popular Mechanics -- except Rosie O'Donnell. James is here now to do the same with the FEMA camps.

Network/Outlet
Premiere Radio Networks
Person
Glenn Beck
Show/Publication
Glenn Beck Program, FOX & Friends
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