In November, Glenn Beck said on his Fox News show: "We will thrive -- as long as these people are not in control. They are taking you to a place to be slaughtered." Since Arianna Huffington highlighted the comment on ABC's This Week, Beck has offered shifting explanations about who or what the comment was referring to, at one point even denying he made the comment at all.
Beck in November: "They are taking you to a place to be slaughtered"
From the November 3, 2009, edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: They need to do it this way. They need it do it in the cover of darkness. They need you to not to listen to me -- because if you start to listen to me, you're never going to willingly give up your freedom. You're going to be nudged into it, and if they can't nudge you into it, well, they'll push you into it.
What was it that Andy Stern just said a minute ago?
STERN (video clip): We're trying to use the power of persuasion. And if that doesn't work, we'll use the persuasion of power because there are governments and there are opportunities to change laws that affect these companies.  We took names. We watched how they voted. We know where they live.
BECK: Yeah, they do know where I live. They know where you live, too. All they need is that final emergency, and it's going to come creeping up. We didn't realize it was this bad. Mark my words. No, don't mark my words -- mark the words of George Soros or anyone else around this White House. Play Soros' words again.
SOROS (video clip): The system we have now has actually broken down, only we haven't quite recognized it. And so, you need to create a new one, and this is the time to do it.
BECK: These are the people that broke the system! It's broken because of corruption. Look, this is not about the things that you and I believe in. Progressives think they know better than you do. They want to control every aspect of your life. Workers of America unite against these people!
The smart grid is not about saving energy or helping the planet. It is about one person, the rich guy, paying more than another guy, the poor guy. He'll pay less. They call it social justice. They call it fair. They call it -- they call it anything but what it is: Marxism, spreading the wealth, leveling out the playing field.
There is one thing you cannot call any of these plans. You can't call it America. You can't do it. I told you yesterday buckle up your seatbelt, America. Find the exit. There's one here, here and here. Find the exit closest to you and prepare for a crash-landing because this plane is coming down because the pilot is intentionally steering it into the trees. Most likely, it will happen sometime after Christmas. You are going to see this economy come up -- we're already seeing it - - and now it's going to start coming back down again. And when you see the effects of what they're doing to the economy, remember these words: we will survive. We know we'll do better than survive. We will thrive -- as long as these people are not in control. They are taking you to a place to be slaughtered.
After Huffington raises comment, Ailes falsely claims Beck was "talking about Hitler and Stalin slaughtering people"
Ailes tried to deflect Huffington's reference to "slaughtered" remark. On the January 31 edition of ABC's This Week, Huffington Post publisher Arianna Huffington, in highlighting concerns about "the language that Glenn Beck is using," cited the "slaughtered" remark. Fox News president Roger Ailes responded by claiming that Beck "was talking about Hitler and Stalin slaughtering people":
HUFFINGTON: And aren't you concerned about the language that Glenn Beck is using, which is after all inciting the American people. There's a lot of people suffering out there, as you know, and when he talks about people being slaughtered, about who is going to be the next in the killing spree --
AILES: Well, he was talking about Hitler and Stalin slaughtering people, so I think he was probably accurate. Also --
HUFFINGTON: No, no, he was talking about this administration.
AILES: -- I think he speaks English, I don't know, but I don't misinterpret any of his words. He did say one unfortunate thing, which he apologized for, but that happens in live television.
Beck: "I don't even know if I've ever used the word 'slaughtered'"
On his February 1 radio show, Beck suggested that he had never used the word "slaughtered" at all "if it wasn't in a context of Mao, Stalin, or Hitler." He then claimed that any such usage "was in the idea that the truth is being slaughtered by this administration, not saying that this administration is going to slaughter anyone":
BECK: I don't even know if I've ever used the word "slaughtered." And if I used the word "slaughtered," if it wasn't in a context of Mao, Stalin, or Hitler, it was in the idea that the truth is being slaughtered by this administration, not saying that this administration is going to slaughter anyone. I have said that progressives, this ideology has lead to the slaughtering of millions. It has, it has. In particular, eugenics.
Beck: "I've never used it on the air," but it referred to SEIU's Stern
On the February 2 edition of his radio show, Beck again suggested that he "never used" the word "slaughter" on the air in reference to the Obama administration because "I'm pretty sure that I would remember saying the administration was slaughtering people or was going to slaughter people." Beck then acknowledged that he did use the word, but that "I was talking about [Service Employees International Union president] Andy Stern in this particular piece of audio":
BECK: On yesterday's broadcast, I said I've never used the word "slaughter" on the air. I've never used it on the air. I -- because I'm pretty sure that I would remember saying the administration was slaughtering people or was going to slaughter people. That's a pretty hefty charge.
"STU" BURGUIERE (co-host): You'd think someone else would have pointed it out at some point. It would be a big news story.
PAT GRAY (co-host): It would be a huge news story.
BECK: Right. So, I got on the air yesterday and said no. Now, last night on the network that no -- I mean nobody watches, I don't even think the cameramen are watching now -- what's-his-face got on with Arianna Huffington and he says, "We've got to correct the record here. We've got to make sure that everybody knows that there are standards." [laughs]
BURGUIERE: Coming from that idiot, standards.
GRAY: The most irresponsible broadcaster maybe of all time.
BECK: No, no, wait, wait. From one of the most irresponsible broadcast networks of all time.
BECK: OK. So she says, we have the evidence of him using the word "slaughtered." I get up this morning and I see this in my email box, and I'm like, I really said that Obama was going to slaughter people? I can't wait to see this video. So if I may, her new nickname: Media Matters after a few drinks, Arianna Huffington on -- after we denied that we said the president is going to slaughter people, she accuses us of lying because of this piece of audio. Now I want you to know, I was talking about Andy Stern in this particular piece of audio, and if she wants to really stand on this one, I mean, if she wants to claim -- which I'm not -- if she wants to claim that I think Andy Stern is going to slaughter people, you mean -- I mean, the guy who said he was going to use the persuasion of power and we've got their names, we know how they voted and we know where they live, that guy? I mean, we could probably jump there. Sure, if that's the case you want to make. But then Arianna has to make the case that Andy Stern is part of this administration. Because that's her accusation, that this administration is slaughtering people. So If you want to go there, Arianna, that Andy Stern is part of this administration, and you want to look at his words, we'll -- OK, we'll do that. Bring it on, girlfriend.
Beck falsely portrayed Stern's comments. Beck has long targeted Stern and SEIU through false, misleading, or unfounded attacks. Indeed, as he has before, Beck falsely portrayed Stern's reference to "the persuasion of power" as a threat of violence. In fact, the context of Stern's full statement shows that Stern was referring to the "power" to change laws and to go on strike, not violence. Similarly, Beck provided no evidence to show that Stern's "We took names" statement suggested the use of violence rather than political action.
Beck: Comment wasn't "literal"; he was "speaking about the economy"
Beck: Huffington referring to "a literal slaughter." Later on the February 2 show, Beck played his November 3, 2009, comment, then went through it "line by line" to explain that it wasn't "literal" and that he was "speaking about the economy." He then asserted that Huffington is "claiming that this is a reference to a literal slaughter being carried out or soon to be carried out by the president of the United States":
BECK: Some might say -- some might say that after making a few points about the economy and the economy, and then switching to the economy, and then going right into the economy, and then introducing this sentence by saying when you see the effects of the economy, remember these words, that this sentence about slaughtering might -- might -- also be me speaking about the economy as well. But no. With 30-plus years of broadcast experience and records of me saying just really stupid things on the radio and television, with 30 years to pick from, Arianna Huffington makes this her main point when going on ABC television. And in her follow-up defense, she uses this audio. She's claiming that this is a reference to a literal slaughter being carried out or soon to be carried out by the president of the United States.