Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

August 4, 2009

BECK TELLS AUDIENCE THERE'S 'NO EXCUSE FOR VIOLENCE'.... The good news is, Fox News' Glenn Beck told his viewers yesterday that they shouldn't become violent. The bad news is, Beck's wild-eyed on-air tirades probably made the pronouncement necessary.

Beck started by noting that his viewers should watch elected officials "like a hawk," so that policymakers can "feel your burning gaze."

"But here's the thing I'm concerned about," Beck said. "Your interaction with them needs to be respectful, polite, forceful, and peaceful. I've been warning Congress for a couple of years, and the time has come and passed for them to be able to learn from this. I've been telling them, 'You have to listen to the people,' or they'll be in real big trouble. Well, now let me give the warning to you. If anybody thinks it would be a good idea to turn violent, think again. It would be destroy the republic. I feel it with everything in me."

Beck said the electorate is, from his perspective, "starting to wake up," but "one lunatic, like Timothy McVeigh, could ruin everything that everyone has worked so hard for." As Beck put it, a McVeigh-like lunatic would become a p.r. problem, exploited by politicians and the media, making it harder for those who share his worldview.

"There is no excuse for violence," the host said. Only a "crazy person" picks up a gun to register political protest. He concluded, "If you ever hear someone talking about, or thinking about, turning violent, it is your patriotic duty to stop them. The only way to save our republic is to remain peaceful. Forceful, but peaceful."

I'm glad Beck said this. I would have liked it even more if he hadn't included the public relations calculation, but I suppose I shouldn't be picky.

Beck has spent months -- literally screaming and crying -- insisting that the president is a socialist/fascist/communist/racist who's trying to destroy the country through totalitarian means. Major media outlets have plenty of irresponsible voices, but Beck has been unique in his insane rantings. It wasn't hard to imagine some of his viewers/listeners getting so worked up, they might at least consider doing something dangerous.

To that end, I'm glad Beck made it clear violence is unacceptable. Here's hoping this isn't the last time he raises the point.

Steve Benen 10:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (34)

Bookmark and Share

Steve, I had pretty much the same reaction you did. I was annoyed that he seemed more concerned about the p.r. fallout of another McVeigh than about, you know ... the dead people and shattered families. But at least he said something.

Of course, tomorrow he'll no doubt be back to talking about the rising tide of fascism that threatens to tear our union apart.

Posted by: Hoosier Paul on August 4, 2009 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

This was nothing more than Beck's CYA moment. He's just covered his ass if and when some righty does get violent.

Posted by: ckelly on August 4, 2009 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

What makes egomaniacs and buffoons like Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly think they speak for Americans? They don't. But they do excite a small, ignorant and fearful segment of our society with their distortions and disinformation afterwich they advise "peace and respectfulness" and proclaim their innocence. If somehting awful happens, Fox News and all the right wing hate merchants will be to blame.

Posted by: purplepatriot on August 4, 2009 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

I'm willing to bet he got something in the mail that led to this. Like someone telling him their plans to get the 'libruls', and he just had to cover his ass.

Posted by: Kevin on August 4, 2009 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Who the hell is dressing him and how long have they been blind?

Posted by: doubtful on August 4, 2009 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Um, let's see. The right-wing echo chamber spends years giving implicit permission to their gullible worshipers to commit whatever action they think necessary to stop, in their view, a treasonous, incompetent, corrupt, government, and then one of the worst of them shakes his finger and winks as he says, "but no violence".

Oh, that's really going to improve our political discourse or convince the fascists to be more democratic. Sure. Really.
Ahuh. I can hardly wait.

Posted by: Rrk1 on August 4, 2009 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

from what i read here,there is a strong burst of propaganda from the teevee, ranging form the mildly distorted on the more 'respectable' good ol' networks, to the blood dripping from his mouth glenn beck -- the goddam lunatic sociopath paid big bucks to entertain with hate and fear nightly...

i wonder what will happen. certainly if there is some small killing of a few citizens, or one congresscritter, then the right wing nihilism gets set back (sorta like how tim mcveigh set 'em back a few years).

but if they don't kill anybody, then the teevee has ratcheted its propaganda down more securely, the mob has been granted legitimacy and a voice, and we slowly, slowly lose our orbit around the sun... and eventually land on a flat earth with edges where you might fall off if you go too far -- or thnk too deeply.

Posted by: neill on August 4, 2009 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Thank God Olbermann didn't go even further last night. I thought his special comment was great right up the point he said "I warn you". Come on, as if anyone who is a Blue Dog or Republican actually watches Countdown.

I think the whole MSNBC/Fox thing is for losers. I'm a progressive, far more to the left than most Democrats. But why watch an hour of programming that says what I want to hear. Since when have progressives been people who want to turn off their brains?

I mention this in a post about Beck because the left is getting way too close to resembling the right. The base of the right is made up of wackos -- Birthers, etc. The left should avoid this result like the plague. I want Olbermann and Maddow (who I prefer) to look at Moyers as their model, not O'Reilly and Beck. Bring on people who have information to share, not just views that will not challenge the audience.

End of rant.

Posted by: Joesbrain on August 4, 2009 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Beck's behavior should in no way be construed as altruism. I also believe he knows something, and like ckelly, believe this is a CYA moment. This disgusting man has been nudging his followers toward violence for many months. Suddenly he has an epiphany? Wrong. Something isn't right here.

Posted by: cyb1851 on August 4, 2009 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

A German shepherd as the US Constitution Watchdog?

Nice touch.

Posted by: TonyB on August 4, 2009 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

OTOH, I'm sure Beck is fine with unruly organized mobs howling at Congresscritters in town hall meetings.

Posted by: demisod on August 4, 2009 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

What ckelly said.

Posted by: shortstop on August 4, 2009 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

From the desk of Sean Hannity:

Don't blame me for any violence that occurs. It will be a result of The Chosen One turning our country into a fascist, socialist, marxist state.

Don't blame me for any violence that occurs. I only asked if we should have a military coup or an armed revolution or a war for secession!

Posted by: Shawn Hannity on August 4, 2009 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Plain and simple. He's covering his ass.
Obama is getting 30 death threats every day. No doubt some of them are from Beck's flock.

Posted by: Jim B on August 4, 2009 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

I think he is covering his ass because of that woman who armed herself outside a military base. It was on Countdown last night. According to Keith, the woman cited Beck as the reason she was taking this action on her Myspace page. I would love the press to cover that story.

Posted by: coral on August 4, 2009 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not impressed. This is strictly to cover his ass politicaly and legally. When one of his fringe friends takes a shot or plants a bomb he can disavow any responsibility.

Posted by: Banana-Eating Jungle Monkey on August 4, 2009 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Well! Thank goodness for that two minutes and thirty seconds of wink-nudge y'all play nice from Beck, which will surely outweigh the years of kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out rhetoric from O'Reilly, and Morgan, and Rogers, and Limbaugh, and Barone, and Dobbs, and Buchanan, and Savage, and Liddy, and Cowcow, and Coulter, and Malkin, and Hannity, and Turner, and Kilmeade, and Reagan, and Horowitz, and Geller, and Schlussel, and Norquist ... Oh, and Beck.

I feel we're much more civilized now.

Posted by: Fleas correct the era on August 4, 2009 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

I would hope the Secret Service is covering this story.

Posted by: apeman on August 4, 2009 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, by the way. Today is the President's birthday. There will healthcare rallies all over the country to support him. In Chicago it will be at Federal Plaza at 4:30 pm.

Find yours and go.

Posted by: coral on August 4, 2009 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

And what about all of those who have already taken up a gun and become violent? When Beck et al. take responsibility for fomenting the violence we have already seen, his plea for calm is mere window dressing.

Posted by: Baldrick on August 4, 2009 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

However, his wearing a brown suit shows how far the movement has come from those long ago days of only being able to afford a brown shirt.

Posted by: berttheclock on August 4, 2009 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Totally a CYA.


In other words, he was saying "Nice country you got here, it would sure be a shame if something happened to it. A real shame. You know what I mean?"

Posted by: biggerbox on August 4, 2009 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Well, but the thing is, if Obama were really Hitler, or Stalin, or even George III, violence would be acceptable. Beck can't take such extreme positions, and then say, "I'm not caling for violence [wink]."

Posted by: rea on August 4, 2009 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, Mr Beck, I hear Bad Wiessee is ever so lovely, this time of year. The Kolibri, er the Hummingbirds flitter about in the night.


Posted by: berttheclock on August 4, 2009 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Notice the de facto admission that McVeigh is from The Base. And the de facto admission that the Base can't be trusted to avoid violence.

Posted by: wonkie on August 4, 2009 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

ckelly has it exactly right. This is a CYA memo. he and the fox lawyers will point to this when things go horribly wrong.

Given the vituperation I've read from the birthers along with cheerleaders like Beck, I think assassination attempts are the very least we can expect. Bombs are cheap and simple to create, especially fuel oil.

Posted by: Travis on August 4, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

As Beck put it, a McVeigh-like lunatic would become a p.r. problem

Timothy McVeigh murdered 168 people. Perhaps to a deranged, paranoid schizophrenic like Beck that's a "p.r. problem," but I'm sure it was a bit more to the families of the dead.

I agree with the other commenters here that this was nothing more than a CYA move, so when some Christofacist teabagger does go insane and kill a bunch of people, Beck can (tearfully) whine that he "said something." It really is past time this bastard was taken off the air.

Posted by: electrolite on August 4, 2009 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

This is definitely in response to the woman who was arrested outside a military facility on Long Island armed to the teeth who thought it was a "FEMA camp". She is a huge Beck fan.

Posted by: Elbows on August 4, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

I suspect Beck is just fine with violence, but that his lawyers, or Fox lawyers, told him to say this. The "technical" term is CYA.

Posted by: Observer in SC on August 4, 2009 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Beck is undoubtedly the world's biggest CLOWN, but he is never more boring than when he's trying to pretend he has predicted everything that has happened, is happening, or will happen.

I think he really sees himself as a visionary. I see him as mentally ill.

In Beck's sick little world of self-importance, I think there is nothing he would like better than to have incited people to violence, while he can defend himself by pointing to the clips in which he warns everyone of the impending lawlessness.

I wonder if there is anyone currently on TV whose self-image is at greater odds with reality than Beck. I doubt it.

Posted by: oh really on August 4, 2009 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

I just tuned into Beck's radio show for a few minutes earlier today and he was raving about how the push for health care reform is going too fast, called it communism, and said it was just like the other communist efforts of Pol Pot, Stalin and Hitler, that all of them moved quickly too because they had such evil plans.

I'm not kidding. Health care reform = attempted genocide/mass killing. It's the same thing.

It's one of the most frustrating things about fighting conservatives like Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh or many right-wing congresspeople-- how do you fight against people who will say absolutely anything no matter how absurd and ridiculous? Who lie and exaggerate and when called on it they accuse their accusers of being liars?

What is most disappointing is that, as usual, the GOP has their set talking points, every time you see one of them on tv they are saying the same thing and using the same stupid buzzwords. Dems do not seem to all be talking from the same script and they need to do so, fast. Rinse, wash, repeat. That is how these battles are fought and won on the airwaves.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on August 4, 2009 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Fox News needs to encapsulate this particular episode of Beck to play as a speeded up disclaimer message after each of his violence invoking, hysterical, insane fits that pass for his usual fare.

Posted by: Capt Kirk on August 4, 2009 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

This whole thing is crap, especially since Beck already has blood on his hands -- both the Kentucky church shooter and the nutcase at the Fed Reserve either had Beck's book or were devout watchers of his show.

There's also this line:

I've been telling them, 'You have to listen to the people,' or they'll be in real big trouble.

--Glenn Crybaby Beck

Ummm ... he may say this, but there's no way he really means it.

If he did, we'd have gov't-ran universal health care paid for by the rich ... no troops in Iraq ... a true energy policy that eliminates greenhouse gasses as much as possible ... an investigation into Bush-era war crimes ... and a host of other stuff Beck certainly would not like.

In other words, much like his "please don't be violent" (winkwinknudgenudgesaynomore), his desire for Congress to listen to the American people is nothing by horseshit.

The American people hate the GOP, finding socialism more popular than consevatives' worldview. So if the American people had their say, Beck would be shoveling crap out of a porta-potty somewhere (which he may do already -- it'd explain where he gets his ideas, wouldn't it?).

Posted by: Mark D on August 4, 2009 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

This is interesting to me only because I believe Beck would not have bothered with confronting this issue unless he had word that violence was in the works - from emails, or from Homeland Security, for example.

Posted by: CDW on August 4, 2009 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK



Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM

buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly