Friday, January 21, 2011

Glenn Beck: 'You're going to have to shoot them in the head,' and assorted other instances of violent rhetoric

-- by Dave

You know how Glenn Beck is now innocently proclaiming that he doesn't use violent rhetoric? On his radio show, he claimed you had to go all the way back to 2005 and his rant about killing Michael Moore to find any.

Er, not exactly.

For example, there was this from June 9, 2010:

The media and the politician have all of this wrong. In every single walk of life — you want to know why TV doesn't reflect you? You want to know why Washington doesn't reflect you? Because they don't understand, from the radical revolutionaries to the Islamic extremists — and yes, DOJ, they do exist — to the Tea Party movements.

Just because you in Washington and you who are so out of touch with life in the media, just because you don't believe in anything doesn't mean nobody else does. We do. You know why you're confused by this show? It's because I believe in something. You don't.

Tea parties believe in small government. We believe in returning to the principles of our Founding Fathers. We respect them. We revere them. Shoot me in the head before I stop talking about the Founders. Shoot me in the head if you try to change our government.

I will stand against you and so will millions of others. We believe in something. You in the media and most in Washington don't. The radicals that you and Washington have co-opted and brought in wearing sheep's clothing — change the pose. You will get the ends.

You've been using them? They believe in communism. They believe and have called for a revolution. You're going to have to shoot them in the head. But warning, they may shoot you.

Now, a few critics have misread this particular screed a bit; he's not advising his audience to shoot these liberals in the head, rather, he's actually advising mainstream Democrats that someday they're going to have to "shoot" the "far left revolutionaries" they've invited into their tents. But there's no question, regardless, that this is in fact classic violent rhetoric.

And as Jeffrey Feldman warned back in March when discussing the violent rhetoric of the 2010 campaign season:

When Americans threaten to use firearms to enforce their political views, the violent threats carried by that language undermines the system of public debate on which our system depends. Healthy political debate can sustain a great deal of anger and passion, but it cannot sustain repeated threats of violence and calls for violent assault as a form of political engagement.

Moreover, this particular ramble is so incoherent and confusing that he might as well be urging his audience to shoot liberals -- because frankly, that's what it comes out sounding like.

Perhaps just as importantly, rhetoric like this also sends a message: it gives permission to violent (and perhaps mentally unstable) actors to do their thing. Guys like Jared Loughner.

I've added some further examples of Beck's violent rhetoric -- all from his tenure at Fox, in the past two years -- to the video above in case anyone needed further evidence that, once again, Glenn Beck is lying.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

No comments: