Glenn Beck is today's Father Coughlin: a demogogue who skillfully incites his audience to homicidal passion and, tacitly, seditious violence. His innuendo works as Coughlin's did back in the Thirties, because his viewers feel so threatened and disoriented by the economic crash.
Coughlin had a national paramilitary movement called the Christian Front. What Beck has is not that organized, but far more lethal, what with all the automatic weapons circulating coast to coast (and no "well-regulated militia" to absorb and discipline the shooters, as the Second Amendment stipulated there should be).
William Rivers Pitt has written brilliantly about the obvious connection between Beck's incitements--as well as Limbaugh's, Savage's, O'Reilly's, Hannity's et al.--and those murders perpetrated recently in Pittsburgh by a Timothy McVeigh wannabe. (Pitt's piece is at http://www.truthout.org/041009R
.) In short, this sort of highly audible hate propaganda has its consequences
, just as it was meant to do.
So read that piece--and sign, and forward, this petition from Media Matters, because this sort of fascistic rabble-rousing cannot be permitted to enjoy the comfortable support of parent companies like News Corp. and their advertisers.
April 14, 2009
For news coverage to be "fair and balanced," there has to be a line separating news and legitimate commentary from political activism and demagoguery.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace has repeatedly characterized his network as "fair and balanced," and as one that should be taken seriously. However, several recent actions on Fox News illustrate that the network is contributing to a culture of conservative paranoia and anti-Obama political activism.
Please join me in asking Wallace to publicly denounce Fox News' recent actions. If 25,000 people sign our petition, we'll deliver it to Wallace and Fox News this week.
Recent events undermine the argument that Fox News should be treated as a credible, "fair and balanced" news outlet. For example, since launching his Fox News show, Glenn Beck, who has emerged as a prominent player in the network's lineup of weekday programs, has engaged in increasingly outrageous rhetoric that promotes a culture of conservative paranoia. His recent actions include:
- Imitating President Obama pouring gasoline onto the "average American": On April 9, Beck responded to, among other things, reports that President Obama will pursue immigration reform by imitating Obama pouring gasoline onto the "average American." After lighting and extinguishing a match, Beck asked: "President Obama, why don't you just set us on fire?"
- Mocking Obama's aunt's "limp": On April 2, Beck -- using a cane as a prop -- devoted large portions of a segment to mocking Obama's aunt's "limp."
- Portraying Obama and Democrats as vampires: On March 30, Beck portrayed Obama and Democrats as vampires "going after the blood of our businesses" and suggested "driv[ing] a stake through the heart of the bloodsuckers."
Also, in recent weeks, Beck and Fox News have engaged in anti-Obama political activism through their aggressive promotion of the upcoming tea party protests, which the network has portrayed as a response to Obama's fiscal policies. In addition to repeatedly airing graphics describing the protests as "FNC TAX DAY TEA PARTIES," Fox News has run advertisements promoting them, listed information about the parties on its various websites, and aired graphics touting the date, time, location, and website of specific tea parties. And Fox News hosts such as Beck have encouraged viewers to attend the protests.
If Wallace wants to continue to portray his network and influential Sunday show as a credible source of news, he owes it to his viewers to speak out publicly against Fox News' recent behavior. So please join us and take action today by signing our petition:
In the past, Wallace has criticized his Fox News colleagues when they have undermined his network's credibility. In March 2008, when he confronted the hosts of Fox & Friends for distorting Obama's words during what he described as "two hours of Obama bashing," he said that "one of the things that's great about Fox News is that we don't all follow talking points and we disagree about things." Following that incident, he said that "we really are, despite the sniffing or dismissals of our liberal critics, 'fair and balanced' at Fox News" and said that the news network does not "espouse" a "conservative point of view." The recent actions of his colleagues suggest otherwise.
If Wallace wants to repair the damage done to his network's credibility, he needs to speak out publicly against the recent political actions by his colleagues on Fox News:
I hope that you'll join me in asking Wallace to hold his network accountable.
Thanks for your help. Eric Burns
Media Matters for America
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