Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This time Beck is right and Media Matters got it wrong

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Media Matters of America, a progressive watchdog of conservative media put out a press release that was very misleading. It claimed that Glenn Beck advanced a false claim when even casual analysis of Beck's words suggest that Beck was both Constitutionally correct and politically accurate. This may not please the liberal and progressive friends of this blog, but occasionally Beck is right. This time, Media Matters of America makes the wrong call.

accurate as a broken clock

In the press release shown below, Beck is one of few people on the right supporting the construction of the mosque being planned about two blocks from ground zero in Manhattan. On that matter, Beck is correctly siding with the Constitution's first amendment protecting the people's right to practice the religion of their choice. Media Matters of America did not take note of that.

Media Matters also claims that Beck pushes a falsehood, but that's not what comes from Beck's actual words in this instance. "Beck: 'If you want to open [the center] on September 11th, you're a fool.' " The word "If" in Beck's sentence makes his words more hypothetical than a "pushing of a falsehood. It's based upon ignorance about that lack of any grand opening date, but he's not doing what Media Matters is claiming he's doing. Following the press release is a conclusion. Media Matters e-mailed the following:

Beck, Geller push falsehood that Ground Zero "mosque" will open on September 11

Glenn Beck and Pamela Geller advanced the false claim that the New York City Islamic cultural center will open on September 11, 2011. In fact, both the executive director of one of the groups spearheading the project, as well as the Imam involved, have flatly denied that the center is slated to open on September 11.

Beck, Geller, push falsehood that "Ground Zero mosque" will open on 9/11

Beck: "If you want to open [the center] on September 11th, you're a fool." On the August 10 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, guest Glenn Beck acknowledged that "we have no right to stop" the building of the center, but said it is "in extraordinarily bad taste, I think it's foolish, I think it's a slap in the face to do it," and added "you want to open it on September 11, you're a fool. You're insulting people, but we have no right to stop you."  
[The section on Geller has been omitted.] 

Project's Executive Director and Imam call the allegations "absolutely false"

Project's executive director called the allegation "absolutely false." In a conversation with Media MattersDaisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, one of the organizations spearheading the project, called the allegation "absolutely false." Khan also said, in a statement:
We are in the preliminary planning stages of the center and the timeline has yet to be determined..
We do agree with Ms. Palin and others that it is time to heal from the wounds of the tragic events of 9/11. We peace- loving Muslims have a responsibility to lead the effort of rebuilding Lower Manhattan. We envision a community center for multi-faith collaboration that is focused on promoting integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion.
Imam Rauf reportedly "said the mosque will not open on the anniversary of 9/11." On May 26, Newsday reported that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Imam involved in the project, "said the mosque will not open on the anniversary of 9/11, and that it will take between 18 months and three years before the money is raised to open the center at the old Burlington Coat Factory building on Park Place, which was damaged on 9/11. Rauf said the building will either be demolished, or renovated depending on a pending landmark status application."

Beck is right. If they open the community center on 9/11, it would be foolish. Glenn Beck makes enough factual errors, whether intentionally or out of ignorance, that Media Matters of America should never have to stretch the meaning of Beck's words to mean something they objectively do not mean. That they did this makes the following observation about media watchdogs by suite101.com all the more compelling to keep in mind:

In the case of Media Matters, M[edia] R[esearch] C[enter] and A[ccuaracy] I[n] M[edia], it often seems that these organizations are simply used by the men who founded them to voice their own personal criticism of the media, based on their respective ideologies. This casts doubt on the organizations as providing legitimate forms of media criticism, as they appear to mainly be driven by political ideologies more than quest for truth or accuracy. [Emphasis added]

Update, August 11, 2010: A careful listen to the following video makes it clear, as Media Matters has, in fact, edited the line, Beck did not say "If" in this conversation.

It is apparent that Beck is not being tolerant on the matter of building this community center. Instead, he said something quite bizarre given the various statements Beck has made over the years. He said here, "I'm a reasonable human being." Now that is a false claim that is laughable on the surface. In what world is someone, who recently expressed that he woke up to find himself living on the planet of the apes, reasonable?

Before more people start tuning into Beck's 
CONvincing propaganda, 

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Anonymous said...

This is twice in one week that Media Matters has gotten spanked over false Beck related claims.

No wonder they are losing their credibility.

The Glenn Beck Review said...

I know this. Mediaite caught the other slip which was more egregious than this by far. They Breitbarted Beck.

I e-mailed Media Matters, as I do all of Beck's guests I criticize, to make them aware of this sloppy work. Hopefully they will pay more attention to criticism of their work than Beck pays attention to criticism of his false claims and hypocrisies.