On the February 12 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Glenn Beck featured Philadelphia-based conservative radio host Dom Giordano, who claimed that "the mainstream media has dubbed [Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)] to be African-American" and said, "If you start to, you know, delve around the edges, say, 'Wait a minute, isn't he mixed race? Weren't we told that last year?' Or whatever, biracial. Not allowed to say that anymore." Beck responded by saying "he's very white in many ways," adding, "Gee, can I even say that? Can I even say that without somebody else starting a campaign saying, 'What does he mean, "He's very white?" ' He is. He's very white."
After the interview, Beck attempted to clarify his comments to executive producer and head writer of The Glenn Beck Program, Steve Burguiere, who is known on-air as "Stu." Beck claimed that Obama "is colorless," adding that "as a white guy ... [y]ou don't notice that he is black. So he might as well be white, you know what I mean?" In addition, Beck said: "I guarantee you, there will be blogs today that will have me being a racist because I say that."
As Media Matters for America has noted, ABC recently hired Beck as a "regular commentator" for Good Morning America, and Beck hosts a talk show on CNN Headline News. Premiere Radio Networks, which syndicates Beck's radio show, says the program is heard on more than 230 radio stations nationwide. According to Talkers Magazine, the program reaches more than 3 million listeners each week.
From the February 12 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
GIORDANO: Oh, the general ones. You can't bring up -- one guy sent me a very interesting thing about Barack Obama and race. You can't bring up anything other than that suddenly he's African-American. If you start to, you know, delve around the edges, say, "Wait a minute, isn't he mixed race? Weren't we told that last year?" Or whatever, biracial. Not allowed to say that anymore. Apparently, the mainstream media has dubbed him to be African-American.
BECK: Yeah, I -- you know, I was driving in today, and I was seeing -- because I saw this piece with him on 60 Minutes -- and I thought to myself, he is -- he's very white in many ways.
BECK: And I thought to myself: Gee, can I even say that? Can I even say that without somebody else starting a campaign saying, "What does he mean, 'He's very white?' " He is. He's very white.
GIORDANO: Well, the interesting thing is, too, whatever you and I seem to say, we're wrong, the other side --
BECK: I know.
GIORDANO: -- determines it to be the opposite. So if next week we say that, they'll say, "No, it's changed to this."
BECK: Yeah. All right, Dom, thanks a lot, man.
GIORDANO: Hey, thanks, Glenn.
BECK: Appreciate it, bye-bye. Go ahead, Stu. Ask me, ask me.
STU: I mean, I think it's a legitimate question.
BECK: Are you going to start campaigning now?
STU: No, I don't -- I mean --
BECK: He is --
STU: What do you mean?
BECK: He is -- he's very -- he is -- he's colorless. He is colorless.
STU: So he's clear?
BECK: When he says -- yes. When he said, you don't notice his color, as a white guy -- and I don't know if African-Americans feel the same way -- but for whites, I think he's colorless. You don't notice that he is black. So he might as well be white, you know what I mean? You see him -- listen to me, listen to me.
STU: I'm trying.
BECK: You see him colorless --
BECK: -- OK, until he starts talking about race issues and he says things, like on this 60 Minutes piece last night, he said, "When I hail a cab." And I thought, "What?" And then all of a sudden, I noticed his color.
BECK: Only when he said, "You know," he said, "You know, I'm out" -- "You know, in Harlem, they say that you're not really black." And he says, "When I'm out in Harlem and I'm playing basketball, they don't ask me those questions. I don't ever hear those phrases." And I saw him as a black man. But only when he was talking about in that way.
STU: Wait a minute. So what you're saying is, you're colorblind, which, again, that would not -- you're, as a conservative, you're supposed to be racist. See --
BECK: I know.
STU: Just right there, there's a major problem --
BECK: But, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. So when I say -- I mean, he's colorless -- or, for whites, he might as well be white, he's white. And yet, I guarantee you, there will be blogs today that will have me being a racist because I say that. However, if somebody in the African-American community say, "He's not black," well, then, they're not racists. I am. But they're not.
STU: I'm confused.
STU: I just -- I don't even understand anymore.
BECK: You can say, you can say, in America, you can say, "He's not black." You're -- and you're just looked at as being stupid. You know what I mean? What? What does that even mean, "He's not black"? You can get away with saying that. But if somebody who is me -- I say, "You don't even notice his color. He might as well be white. He's a white guy." Doesn't matter. "To white people." Doesn't matter. That's racist.