Can Glenn Beck up his claims about Frank Rich and Keith Olbermann?

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Specifically, that they ranted against members of the U.S. military. That Olbermann demonized Army recruiters and that Rich talked down U.S. soldiers during the Iraq War.

That's the claim Beck has been pushing when confronted with questions about the right-wing hate that's been flooding the airwaves and what connection it has with the rise in fright, domestic attack from the right. According to Beck, his hands are clean and that it's not fair to blame a pundit when somebody does something nutty and violent.

And to prove his point, he insists it would be unfair to blame Olbermann or Rich for the recent murder of an Army recruiter in Arkansas. It wouldn't be fair, says Beck, even though Olbermann and Rich have attacked members of the U.S. military. Even though they have created a dangerous environment for soldiers.

Or so Beck claimed:

Keith Olbermann has railed against recruiters. Keith Olbermann has railed against the baby killers that our U.S. soldiers are.

But has he? And has Times columnist Frank Rich "talked about how bad our soldiers are" as Beck now insists? Note, not the war planners, commanders or politicians who launched the war. Beck clearly claims that Rich has bad-mouthed our soldiers. A lot.

To date though, neither Beck, nor anybody else on the right pushing this false moral equivalency claim, can point to any quotes from high-profile media liberals who have attacked, demonized and dehumanized military recruiters or soldiers the way Bill O'Reilly, for instance, attacked, demonized and dehumanized abortion provider Dr. George Tiller before an extremist murdered him.

So if Beck is going to keep making this charge against liberal pundits (he made it again during an online chat this week), it might be nice to actually back it up, the way Media Matters, for instance, has cataloged the vigilante-style rhetoric O'Reilly engaged in.

Facts are easy things to document. Maybe that's why Beck's having such a tough time of it.

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