Attacking White House communications director Anita Dunn for saying that Fox News is "undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House" and suggesting the network is not a "legitimate news organization," Glenn Beck asserted of his attacks against Obama administration officials, "[T]he things that we are saying have been checked out; they are true." In fact, Beck has repeatedly made false statements in his witch hunt against Obama administration officials, such as calling Van Jones "a convicted felon" and claiming that Cass Sunstein "believes that everyone must be an organ donor."
Beck: "[T]he things that we are saying have been checked out; they are true"
From the October 13 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): I remember during your show when you were talking a lot about the czars, you would say, "I know the White House is watching, and, so far, they haven't disputed much of anything that I have said."
BECK: Yeah, you know what's amazing is, I mean, I see it all the time. I see their statements, and they'll say, "Oh, the smear" -- I mean, exactly what people used to say about those who were going after [former President] Nixon. "Oh, it's just a smear campaign." Help me out, because I'll stop saying the things if they're not true. Just tell me what's not true. But the -- the -- the White House hasn't done that, because the things that we are saying have been checked out; they are true." [10/13/09]
Beck has repeatedly gone after targets of his witch hunt with falsehoods
Beck falsely claimed Van Jones is a "convicted felon." On August 11, Beck said former White House green jobs adviser Jones "is a convicted felon, a guy who spent, I think, six months in prison after the Rodney King beating." In fact, as Eva Paterson, president and founder of the Equal Justice Society, has explained, "Van [Jones] has never served time in any prison. He has never been convicted of any crime."
Beck told falsehoods about Sunstein's views on organ donation, rat removal. Beck falsely claimed on September 9 that Sunstein, head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, "believes that everyone must be an organ donor." In fact, in a book, Sunstein and co-author Richard Thaler advocated for approaches to organ donation policies that "would be likely to save many lives while also preserving freedom" (emphasis added) and did not advocate for mandatory organ donation. Beck also claimed on September 9 that Sunstein said "you should not be able to remove rats from your home if it causes them any pain." In fact, in the introduction to a book of essays he co-edited, Sunstein did not advocate against rat removal, but rather said, "At the very least, people should kill rats in a way that minimizes distress and suffering." Sunstein also stated that, from a utilitarian perspective, "[i]f human beings are at risk of illness and disease from mosquitoes and rats, they have a strong justification, perhaps even one of self-defense, for eliminating or relocating them."
Beck falsely claimed Holdren supported "forced abortion." On July 22, Beck said: "I mean, look at what's going on. We got czars coming out our -- they're shooting out of our butts. Czars like [science and technology adviser] John Holdren, who is -- there is great evil happening in our country. Holdren has proposed forced abortions and putting sterilants in the drinking water to control population. Oh, that's crazy. What, that was -- that was 20 years ago." Responding to Beck's claim, the website PolitiFact.com concluded that "the text of the book clearly does not support that. We think a thorough reading shows that these were ideas presented as approaches that had been discussed. They were not posed as suggestions or proposals. In fact, the authors make clear that they did not support coercive means of population control. Certainly, nowhere in the book do the authors advocate for forced abortions." PolitiFact ended its post on Beck's comments by stating, "[W]e rate Beck's claim Pants on Fire!"
Beck boasted that "some of the biggest minds in America" do his research, but frequently gets facts wrong. Beck has bragged that "[m]y credibility means everything to me," and that he has "some of the biggest minds in America" on his research team "working harder than ... any staff ever on television" to get the truth out. However, in addition to his falsehoods about Jones, Sunstein, and Holdren, Beck repeated Andrew Breitbart's false claim that an online video showed community organizers from the Gamaliel Foundation "pray[ing]" to President Obama; claimed an obsolete constitutional provision protecting the slave trade applies to "immigrants"; claimed a "Class of 2007" mosaic painted on tiles outside of a California school was carried by G-20 protesters in Pittsburgh; and seized on a World Climate Conference presentation on short-term natural climate variability by Mojib Latif, a prominent climate modeler, to suggest that Latif has "backed out now and said, 'We were wrong,' " about global warming. In fact, Latif asserted that contrary to common "media" misperceptions of global warming as a "monotonic process" in which "each year is warmer than the preceding year," there are significant natural climate variations within the decadal timescale that do not change the "long-term warming trend."