Sunday, December 13, 2009

Glenn Beck can't seem to recall describing the Obama administration as fascist. We remind him.

-- by Dave

Glenn Beck seems to be increasingly rattled by having been designated by the ADL as the nation's "Fearmonger in Chief" -- though he continues, on his Fox News show at least, to avoid tackling his critics by name. (He's pushed back at the ADL on his radio show, but only briefly.)

Yesterday he went on his show and denounced the unnamed "they" who say he is encouraging violence with his extremist rhetoric (which would decidedly include us). Keying off his softball interview with Barbara Walters -- who never did bring up his serial falsehoods about Walters and her colleagues at The View, oddly enough -- Beck gets all worked up about the toughest point raised in the whole conversation:

Beck: Barbara Walters even played into this nonsense during her interview with me last night on her annual 'Fascinating People' show. Here it is:

[CLIP] Walters: Glenn Beck is somebody who incites people to violence --

Beck: Oh, I've heard a lot --

Walters: -- He is inflammatory, he makes us scared.

Beck: Yeah. People say Glenn Beck is someone who incites people to violence. Yeah, a lot of people are saying that, but what's the evidence?

She also mentioned that I called Barack Obama a fascist. I don't know -- I, I don't think so. Maybe -- I don't think so, I do realize that Media Matters and now just got an extra grant from Soros and they're moving into hyper-scramble to find, you know, an example. But I don't know if I ever even called him a fascist. I know I've said 'fascistic tendencies' -- sure, the administration is going in this direction.

Actually, what Walters said was this:

Walters: OK, you have said the Obama administration is fascist.

And in fact, that is exactly what he has done -- on multiple occasions, but most notably back on April 1:

Beck: Like it or not, fascism is on the rise. And that doesn't mean the Adolf Hitler kind of fascism. It's fascism with a happy face. I'll explain the exact definition of fascism in a second, and it will boggle your mind.


Beck: I looked up the definition of fascism yesterday, and I want to break it down. The first part is: "Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners." Wouldn't you say this is what's happening with GM right now?

As we noted then, this even included a segment with a time-traveling dime:

How far out to lunch was Beck here? Well, one of the goofier moments in this whole charade came when Beck trotted out the back of an old American dime -- first minted, as Beck says, in 1916 -- which has a fasces, the fascist symbol, on its reverse side:


This is the famed "Mercury dime", which was designed by sculptor Adolph A. Weinman, who won a 1915 competition: "The reverse design, a fasces juxtaposed with an olive branch, was intended to symbolize America's readiness for war, combined with its desire for peace."

Now, the fasces has a long history of inclusion in various parts of American symbology besides just this dime. You can find it in the Oval Office, on National Guard Bureau insignia, on the American flag that flies in the U.S. House, in the Mace of the House of Representatives; on the seal of the U.S. Senate, on the Statue of Freedom atop the United States Capitol building, and on a frieze on the facade of the United States Supreme Court building. Fasces are incorporated into the Lincoln Memorial.

But then, fascism as a political movement was not born until 1919. So for sculptor Weinman to have intended the fasces on the Mercury dime to imply a "fascist" intent, he'd have had to have jumped in a time machine, traveled to the future, met Mussolini, and come back to 1915 with that nefarious design in his head. Somehow I doubt this.

Beck had made the charge even before then, in a February conversation with Laura Ingraham:

Beck: We are really, truly, stepping beyond socialism and we're starting to look at fascism. We are putting business and government together!

Ingraham: Glenn, you're throwing a lot of terms around, and I'm going to play devil's advocate, because this is fair and balanced. Now, moving from socialism to communism, that's, that's a pretty big leap -- socialism, obviously, the economic system, communism the political system. How are we right now moving toward state ownership of all, for instance, heavy industry?

Beck: Let me first of all just explain first what happened in Nazi Germany. It was National -- Socialism. We're talking now about nationalizing the banks, and socialized programs. National. Socialism.

At first in Nazi Germany, everybody was so panicked, they were so freaked. Remember -- don't take anytime to think about it, we've just got to do, do, do. At first all the big companies and the big capitalists in Germany said, 'Oh thank goodness there's a savior! OK, great! We'll do that, yes!' It didn't take too long before -- like here in America, now Goldman Sachs. They've started to see the writing on the wall and went, 'Whoa, whoa whoa! You guys are getting out of control here. What are you guys doing?' And they couldn't get out of it fast enough.

Unfortunately, for those in Germany, you could never go back. I don't know if this is the system that we're headed towards or not, where they're not going to let you out, but let me tell you something, I don't want to play this game. This is becoming extraordinarily dangerous.

Now, Beck did not specifically call Obama himself a fascist -- but then, that's not what Barbara Walters accused him of, either. She said he described the Obama administration as fascist -- and he definitely did that.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

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