-- by Dave
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Like Steve Benen, I'm beginning to wonder if our favorite Big-Time Wingnuts are about to implode under the critical mass of their own overpowering wingnuttery. It seem as though Sarah Palin's bizarre "WTF" rant of the other night -- while not particularly spectacular in the context of a political career rich with embarrassing moments -- may have been the pebble that finally tipped even her reflexive defenders in the other direction. (You sure can't find anyone outside of Planet Palin who will defend it.)
Then there's Glenn Beck in the past couple of days. Conor Friedersdorf's reaction reflected the consensus: "the fact that Roger Ailes and his associates air this kind of nonsense –couched in these kinds of assurances! – is indefensible." As Benen says:
Over the last year or so, Fox News' Glenn Beck has lost about a third of his audience, which is a pretty significant drop, and may very well lead the deranged media personality to think of ways to bring viewers back.
One way, for example, may be for Beck to be even more creative when sharing crazy visions of global affairs. Yesterday, the strange man did his best to explain events in Egypt with a take that really has to be seen to be believed. Chris Hayes called it "a tour de force of paranoid ignorance," which sums it up nicely.
As you can see, all he's really doing is reinforcing what even some of Beck's Believers are now beginning to realize: that he's an ignoramus peddling cockamamie conspiracy theories with no regard to facts or truthfulness.
You see, Beck believes that events in Egypt are the culmination of conspiratorial forces he's been railing about for some time now -- essentially revolving around an obscure book by French anarchists that nobody is actually reading, The Coming Insurrection.
Basically, Beck foresees a Middle Eastern "Caliphate" overtaking Europe and China controlling big chunks of new territory, all fueled by a "Marxist" and "Islamist" conspiracy:
I believe that I can make a case in the end that there are three powers that you will see really emerge. One, a Muslim caliphate that controls the Mideast and parts of Europe. Two, China, that will control Asia, the southern half of Africa, part of the Middle East, Australia, maybe New Zealand, and God only knows what else. And Russia, which will control all of the old former Soviet Union bloc, plus maybe the Netherlands. I'm not really sure. But their strong arm is coming. That leaves us and South America. What happens to us?
Then Beck went on Bill O'Reilly's show and explained the nutshell version:
BECK: No, I think we're actually possibly the witnessing Archduke Ferdinand moment. Archduke Ferdinand was the guy who was killed -- shot, a few months later started the First World War. I think we're in real danger.
BECK: I understand that, but what you're not taking into account is that that is what the average person thinks, just like the average person on the street of -- of Cairo thinks they're swept up in some freedom movement. It is not about freedom. It is being orchestrated by the Marxists, communists and primarily also the Muslim Brotherhood.
Sean Easter and Todd Gregory at Media Matters have a thorough roundup of the madness, and conclude by observing:
All of this was offered up in service of his theory that the protests in Egypt are the manifestation of The Coming Insurrection, an obscure book that French police believe was written by a member of a small group of anarchists. Beck has repeatedly described the anonymous author (or authors) of the book as "communists." He's tied George Soros and President Obama to The Coming Insurrection, as well.
So, a diverse group of the Egyptian people are in the streets protesting an autocratic leader, and Glenn Beck has decided that this is directly connected to an anonymously written anarchist tract from France that he's been obsessing about for the past two years?
Normally, we are in the business of debunking the falsehoods and smears that Beck promotes. But how do you debunk pronouncements that quite obviously bear no relationship to reality?
The real question is: Why would anyone ever take this man seriously on any subject?
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]