Tonight on his Fox News show, Glenn Beck attempted to warn his audience that the Obama administration was engaging in propaganda, in the manner of World War I propagandist George Creel, in order to silence critics, and ultimately, take away freedoms.
Beck evidence for this bold claim revolved around the Huffington Post. "The president is now saying, and by the way read The Huffington Post. And don't forget," Beck warned "What was the first question this president took in a press conference? ... The Huffington Post. They're working hand in hand now:"
Setting aside the question of whether suggesting some reading material and answering a question from a member of the press constitutes propaganda, Beck's evidence for this claim - like so many of the claims and warnings he has made before -- fell apart upon further scrutiny.
First, while Obama did suggest that Beck's fans read the Huffington Post, he was a recommending people expose themselves to multiple viewpoints, rather then recommending the Huffington Post as a required reading for the whole country. In fact, he also recommended The Wall Street Journal editorial page, but that didn't prompt Beck to smear the Wall Street Journal's editorial board as an agent of propagenda. From the transcript of Obama's commencement speech at the University of Michigan:
Still, if you're somebody who only reads the editorial page of The New York Times, try glancing at the page of The Wall Street Journal once in a while. If you're a fan of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, try reading a few columns on the Huffington Post website. It may make your blood boil; your mind may not be changed. But the practice of listening to opposing views is essential for effective citizenship. (Applause.) It is essential for our democracy. (Applause.)
Beck's claim that the president took his "first question" "in a press conference" from The Huffington Post also ran afoul of the facts. Obama actually took his the question at his first press conference from Jennifer Loven at the Associated Press. In fact, while he did take a question from The Huffington Post's Sam Stein, the AP, Reuters, CBS, NBC, Bloomberg News, ABC, CNN, The New York Times, Fox News - who Beck claimed the president "has declared war on" -- The Washington Post, and Hearst Newspapers all got questions before Stein.
Beck, who constantly complains about people "dismiss[ing]" him, should probably try sticking to the facts if he wants his rhetoric to be taken seriously.