Following in the footsteps of Jonah Goldberg, Glenn Beck has repeatedly taken a quote from a 1923 New York Times article out of context and portrayed the newspaper as praising Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. In fact, the Times was quoting a magazine writer, and immediately following the portion of the quote Beck and Goldberg repeated, the writer called Mussolini "a danger to the peace of Europe."
NY Times: Magazine Writer Says Mussolini Is "A Danger To The Peace Of Europe"
NY Times: Marcosson Says League Of Nations "Permitting Mussolini To Bring Europe To The Brink Of Another War." From a 1923 New York Times article -- headlined "Calls Mussolini Latin Roosevelt; Isaac F. Marcosson Says Fascist Chief and Kemal Pasha Are Both Autocrats; Declares League Doomed; Italian Occupation of Corfu Its Death Blow, Says American Magazine Writer" -- which was quoting Marcosson:
"Mussolini is a Latin Roosevelt who first acts and then inquires if it is legal. He has been of great service to Italy at home, but as an international factor Mussolini is just as great a danger to the peace of Europe as the Kaiser's sword used to be at Berlin. In my opinion the Corfu incident was a death blow to the League of Nations. If the League had acted peremptorily and insisted on arbitration instead of permitting Mussolini to bring Europe to the brink of another war its prestige would have been assured.
[The New York Times, 10/7/1923 (payment required)]
Goldberg Ignored Most Of Quote From Magazine Writer
Goldberg Repeated Only First Part Of Quote To Portray Writer As Unequivocal Mussolini Admirer. From Jonah Goldberg's 2007 book Liberal Fascism:
[O]ver time, largely due to his subsequent alliance with Hitler, Mussolini's image never recovered.
That's not to say he didn't have a good ride.
In 1923 the journalist Isaac F. Marcosson wrote admiringly in the New York Times: "Mussolini is a Latin [Teddy] Roosevelt who first acts and then inquires if it is legal. He has been of great service to Italy at home." The American Legion, which has been for nearly its entire history a great and generous American institution, was founded the same year as Mussolini's takeover and, in its early years, drew inspiration from the Italian Fascist movement. [Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism, Page 27]
Beck Repeated Goldberg's Cropping Of Quote, Falsely Attributed It To NY Times
Beck: NY Times Among Mussolini "Admirers." From the April 10, 2009, edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: Second, we're going to consider what the average person thinks about fascism. They believe it's ridiculous -- all this could never happen in the United States of America. After all, nobody's going to go out and pull the lever for Adolf Hitler. You're right, but the secret we'll learn tonight is -- fascism wasn't always synonymous with mass murder.
Progressives once had a love affair with it -- particularly with Mussolini. I don't think this love affair has gone away, although the Mussolini part has. You may remember him as the guy whose, you know, body was hung upside-down with meat hooks and I think there was a piano wire involved. Civilians were throwing stones at his body.
But before that, he had lots of admirers over there and here as well, including Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and comic Will Rogers who said, "I'm pretty high on that bird," and even, surprise, surprise -- The New York Times, which wrote, "Mussolini is a Latin Teddy Roosevelt who first acts and then inquires if it is legal. He's been a great service to Italy at home.
He is also well respected abroad. Winston Churchill once called Mussolini "the greatest living lawmaker." [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 4/10/09, from Nexis]
Beck: Times "Heaped Praises On Mussolini." From the February 9 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: These advancements were all happening in the 1920s, and soon as there was trouble, everybody wanted to bail on the free-market system. The New York Times heaped praises on Mussolini. Quote, "Mussolini is a Latin [Teddy] Roosevelt who first acts and then inquires if it's legal. He's been a great service to Italy at home." Oh, has he? Has he really? [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 2/9/11]
Beck Also Repeated Goldberg's Cropping While Attributing Quote Correctly
Beck: Marcosson Quote Shows Admiration For "Enlightened Despotism." From the January 20 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: OK. There's a huge difference between Mussolini and Hitler. Huge. Huge. But not in their tactics -- not in their tactics. One was considered enlightened despotism, and it wasn't Hitler. But Mussolini -- do you want to live under Mussolini? A lot of people in America did.
In The New York Times, 1923, Isaac Marcosson wrote in The New York Times, quote, "Mussolini" -- where is it -- "is a Latin Teddy Roosevelt, who first acts and then inquires if it's legal. He's been a great service to Italy at home and abroad."
Now, that's just one example -- modern-day Mussolini, a modern-day Teddy Roosevelt. He acts, and then he inquires if it's illegal or if it's legal. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/20/11]