Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 11, 2009

'MORE AND MORE FRIGHTENING'.... Fox News' Shep Smith probably ruffled a few feathers at his network by reminding the viewing audience, shortly after the shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, of the DHS report that warned of potentially violent radicals. Smith probably ruffled a few more when he started talking about the emails he's seen from Fox News viewers.

"I read a lot of email around here," Smith said. "And the email to me has become more and more frightening. It's not a new thing; it's been happening over the past few months. It's been happening, you know, to some degree, since the election process went along."

He added, "There are people now, who are way out there on a limb. And I think they're just out there on a limb with the email they send us. Because I read it, and they are out there. I mean, out there in a scary place.... I could read a hundred of them like this.... I mean from today. People who are so amped up and so angry for reasons that are absolutely wrong, ridiculous, preposterous."

Smith, with good reason, seemed genuinely concerned about the severity of the right-wing rage. Just as important, he seemed to realize that these increasingly agitated conservatives are incensed, not because of justified concerns, but because of "ridiculous" developments that have been cooked up in the far-right imagination.

But here's the kicker: soon after Smith had signed off for the day, his Fox News colleague, Glenn Beck told his national television audience "the Germans" during Hitler's rise "were an awful lot like we are now."

The reason the emails to Fox News have become "more and more frightening," the reason so much of Fox News' audience is "out there ... on a limb," the reason they've ended up "in a scary place," is because of deranged demagogues like Beck telling confused conservatives they have reason to be enraged, reality notwithstanding.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (30)

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This is what I'm trying to get across to my friends. More and more, the right wingers are conflating the issues, blurring the lines, and blaming everything on the progressives -- and the truth is getting distorted in the media. The racists are coming out with their true colors on, they're acting on their fears, and no one is calling them on it. This is getting frightening.

Posted by: pol on June 11, 2009 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

As Colbert (if I remember correctly) said, 'Reality has a Liberal bias.'
And when reality bites conservatives in the ass, They don't analyze where they were mistaken in their outlook, they blame the Liberals for that reality.

If Smith saw 100's of hate-filled e-mails yesterday, how many will he see today from FOX's faithful?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on June 11, 2009 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

Where Smith sees danger, Glen Beck and his ilk see opportunity. I think we all know the single individual who is the ultimate and ideal target for assassination, and I pray his Secret Service security is fail safe.

Posted by: Norwood Woman on June 11, 2009 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

One might wonder how many dead people it will take before the likes of O'Reilly, Beck, Limbaugh, Savage et al repent of inciting violence. I suspect that, unfortunately, that number does not exist.

Posted by: Domage on June 11, 2009 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe MSNBC could work out a trade with Fox for Joe Scarborough and a player to be named later.

Shep Smith is the only one over there with any sense of integrity. I still remember his reports from New Orleans after katrina.

Posted by: swarty on June 11, 2009 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

Its a racket. There is no ideology involved in what Limbaugh or O'Reily and the rest do. the election of President Obama was like manna from heaven for them. The Bush years were not good for their careers. All we heard of Rush Limbaugh was his drug and erection problems. No one was paying any attention to him at all. Obama gets elected and you can't pick up a paper, turn on a news show, go on line without him being everywhere.

My guess is that Limbaugh and his ilk have already had long discussions with their lawyers to see just how far they can go before they can be held responible for one of these tragedies. Listen to what they say closely. I bet it will be evident that they're dancing right up to the line but never stepping over.

They're completely ammoral. They don't care what happens as long as they can keep their ratings and advertsing revenue. Their audience has distilled to the most extreme element, and they have to up the outrage to keep the interest alive. Granting them so much attention is just fueling them. We're entering a frightening new phase where they're getting alot of attention as inciters of violence without being held responsuible. As long as they keep getting massive amounts of coverage do you think they'll stop?

Posted by: Saint Zak on June 11, 2009 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

Sadly, the whackaloons writing to Faux will now hear Jesus telling them to take out the traitor Smith.

As for O'Lielly and the rest of those fuckholes, it is my dearest wish that their scariest fans start showing up at their houses with 100 page manifestos and killer halitosis. Good luck getting the twitchy mofos off your front step without sustaining major damage Shrill.

Posted by: The Answer WAS Orange on June 11, 2009 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

YUP, and what do you think will come of it? Nothing because there is, sadly, an audience for the likes of Beck, Limpballs, and Hannity out there...people who LOVE TO HATE need an "enemy"...and recently we've seen the fruits of their inciteful speech...more to come, I fear!!

Posted by: Dancer on June 11, 2009 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

Deranged?
Beck's as sharp as a tack. He's a political version of Kevin Trudeau, shilling as long as the line lasts, then picking up a new line, and then ending up with a house on the Cape or the Lake, a jolly old remnant of a gaudy age, an elder statesman of cable--Bob Schieffer with a buzz cut.

And he still won't recognize the name Stephen Johns until you explain it to him.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on June 11, 2009 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

Right wing screech monkeys are out to make a buck. They easiest rout is to be as inflammatory as possible. There are no repercussions for the likes of Limbaugh Beck or Hannity, because they hide behind a generic 'Some think'. The fact that these 'some' are certifiably insane has no bearing. It's merely a license to be outrageous.
And lets not forget that these same screech monkeys are orchestrated by the GOP, who seem content to incite the mentally disabled to acts of violence for their own political gain.

Posted by: JoeW on June 11, 2009 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

I am German, and if Beck continues to offend the German opposition to Hitler it might as well be possible someone over here starts to get really angry...

But surely not because of a "ridiculous reason".

I usually think the restrictions to free speech we have in Germany aren't necessary (denying Holocaust etc.). But Glenn Beck feeds ideas that this should count as criminal offense.

Posted by: Vokoban on June 11, 2009 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Smith will be spared when indictments for sedition and inciting violence are set. The rest will be hiring high priced lawyers.

Posted by: anonymous on June 11, 2009 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

What is missing from the clip is where Smith then links the emails to the content on Fox News. He never does that (or that we can see from the clip presented). It leaves the impression that these emails are magically appearing out of nowhere.

Posted by: smlg on June 11, 2009 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

Exactly, smlg. They talk about the blogosphere and how they feed one another, but don't seem to come around to the distortions and rhetoric of Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and other personalities on Fox News.

Smith may have been thinking it, who knows, but he was already going out on a limb himself...

Posted by: Algernon on June 11, 2009 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

I just hope that when Murdock cuts off the limb somebody has the good sense to hire Shep Smith. The only guy at Fox with a lick of integrity. The more I think about it, MSNBC should approach Fox about a trade.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 11, 2009 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

During the presidential campaign, I remember that Shep Smith openly called the Obama smears (and smearers) crazy. He's the only talking head on Fox I'd ever listen to.

Posted by: carolatl on June 11, 2009 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone know how to contact Shep Smith? Such thoughtfulness at FAUX needs to be seriously encouraged...

Posted by: Radha on June 11, 2009 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Never ceases to amaze me how the right misstates Germany during the rise of the Nazis - We are nothing like those chaotic days of the '20s and early '30s in Germany - Draconic economic sanctions set upon Germany, following the end of WW1, helped create a great deal of unemployment, which led to unrest. The streets of the larger cities became filled with street brawls between the fledgling Nazi Party and any other group, whether they were Socialist or Communist or supporters of the government. Elections were disrupted with violence. Even Hitler used a firearm on occasion in leading his thugs into the brawls. Beck's reference should only be directed to his help in developing and encouraging a new breed of Brown Shirts in this nation. If, Beck considers our nation to be akin to Germany at this time, it is only true that the violence is developing from the far right and FAUX would love to televise any coming Putsch.

Posted by: berttheclock on June 11, 2009 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Dear Shep Smith,
How dare you suggest I am a deranged extremist! I'll kill you for saying that!
Sincerely,
Not a Deranged Extremist

Posted by: Grumpy on June 11, 2009 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

If Smith has so much integrity then why does he work for Fox News?

Posted by: Charles on June 11, 2009 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Ironically, Beck's remarks -- that the country was drifting toward fascism and that people knew it but were in denial -- would have been quite accurate a year ago.

Posted by: T-Rex on June 11, 2009 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Shep really does a disservice by not pointing the finger right back at FoxNews. He dances all the way around it by lamenting the "hate not based in fact" and the fact that it's feeding itself or feeding on each other. Goddammit Shep, your employer is one of the chief culprits.

Posted by: ckelly on June 11, 2009 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

I worry for our freedoms. I count myself among those who parrot the cliche of hating the speech but defending the right to say it. But now I wonder. Is there really a clear line between racist speech designed to incite violence and yelling fire in a crowded theater? After Smith's admission I find it reasonable for the FBI to obtain court permission to tap into Fux New's incoming email (this task alone would go far to improve the national unemployment figures). Not sure how to sweep the talk of Beck, Rush, O'Reilly, Hannidy, etc into the same net. I don't like where this is heading. Reminds me of a line I once read of being so afraid you hurt yourself. I see no solution that won't threaten everyone's freedom of speech. Why do the unhinged conservative wingnut faction hate our country and it's freedoms so much?

Posted by: Chopin on June 11, 2009 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know but that Beck may have a point about the Germans during Hitler's rise to power being a lot like we are now. I mean there was this right wing deranged demagogue stoking the fires of resentment in a very polarized society, telling the masses that all their problems were the fault of leftists and Jews. Really not any different than what Beck and his FOX cohorts are doing right now when you think about it. Beck might qualify as a Rudolf Hess, Roger Ailes, even though he may look like Hermann Goering is really more the Joseph Goebbels of the movement. The question is, who is Hitler in this little farce?

Posted by: majun on June 11, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Charles: "If Smith has so much integrity then why does he work for Fox News?"

Appearing to have integrity is a betrayal of everything FOX News stands for. Traitors have no integrity. Ergo, Shep Smith fits in perfectly at FOX News.

Posted by: Grumpy on June 11, 2009 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Glenn Beck told his national television audience "the Germans" during Hitler's rise "were an awful lot like we are now."

But, he's right, isn't he? Those Germans were an awful lot like Beck and his audience.

These people only know themselves.

Posted by: alan on June 11, 2009 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

And rupert things President Obama is dangerous?

Posted by: CDW on June 11, 2009 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

when the wackos find out Shep is gay, they'll really go off.

Posted by: avatar on June 11, 2009 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

It's like a horror movie where Shepard finds out the serial killer that is callin him is calling from INSIDE HIS HOUSE! (cue creepy john carpenter synth music)

Posted by: DonkeyKong on June 11, 2009 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Don't the networks, like everybody else, have a legal responsibility to report communications that a normal person would think are threatening or are warning of illegal especially violent acts?

If Fox is getting those kinds of communications and not reporting them can they have their emails searched during investigations of the types of domestic terrorist crimes we have experienced in the last three weeks?

Posted by: Marnie on June 11, 2009 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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