Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Glenn Beck is building a movement based upon alarming facts, lies, fear and occasional accuracies

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The recently self-taught and extremely gifted performance artist, Glenn Beck, is often working to increase his audience (market share); and he does so under the veil of building a movement of believers (in Beck's lies, distortions, frightening visions for the future, moral leadership, small government advocacy and other prophesies). Listen to the following segment from the Glenn Beck show on Fox from December 6th and consider the following: is Beck's sly mixing of current events in with his couple of accurate predictions -- supposedly made a year ago -- not just another manner of deception? If you are investigating Beck because someone is encouraging you to listen to his radio program or TV show and you have not yet experienced Mr. Beck for more than a brief clip on another show, enjoy a master performance from one of, if not the, greatest performers in the media these days and perhaps ever. Pausing the segment to follow the counter arguments below may assist with tracking of the many responses below. This video segment was taken from The Daily Beck, where Beck's shows are redistributed in their entirety.

Beck begins as he often does, promoting himself. Lots of artists do that, but Mr. Beck does this under the rubric of Special Information that only he and his viewers understand. A question has been asked on other blogs: what would it mean to take this Glenn Beck seriously? One approach would be to examine his claims from just his show one claim or topic at a time, as follows.

Recognizing America

America is still a capitalist and democratic country where the state does a lot in the way of special laws, building of infrastructure and tax breaks to support and enhance corporate activities. That hasn't changed in the last year. In fact, corporate profits are back up to nearly record highs. The United States might also be defined by its Constitution which also has not changed in the last year. Corporations are putting their special interest of making profits before any other consideration first and the country as its people are an after thought, the same as it has always been. The United States is still engaged in two wars as well as a global, violent struggle with Islamic extremists bent on terrorizing and destroying this country. The unnecessary war that was fought in Iraq has supposedly come to a non-combat phase, but America still looks the same from that perspective. 50,000 American troops still occupy that country. 

What has changed? Private banks are no longer handling government insured student loans. The middle men (banks) taking a piece of the action have been eliminated. Some of the health care provisions have kicked in. America has not changed because health care insurance companies don't have the flexibility to screw their customers like they had before the comprehensive health care bill began to go into effect. The Wall Street bail out, the stimulus bill and the rescue of the automobile industry were federal government actions undertaken by the federal government to keep the economy from being flushed into a nasty depression; and they worked! Last year at this time, we were at the beginning of a weak economic recovery with job growth lagging as it always does. Now, we are further along in a weak economic recovery with job growth still lagging behind the stock market and corporate profits. Progressives argue that the stimulus passed by Congress was not large enough to spur a stronger recovery. In other words, not that much has changed in the last year except for Beck's scare tactics which have escalated effectively. That and Beck has become a "frickin televangelist" as he claimed last year he was becoming. He got that right, but didn't mention it in this rant.

Riots in Europe

Beck indeed has been talking about a crisis in Europe since the inaugural post of this Review last April. It is unknown whether Beck was talking about this crisis and specifically whether it would lead to riots in Europe in December of 09. If readers want to find where Beck predicted this riots a year ago, The Daily Beck is a good place to search. Beck's supporters are encouraged to note what he said, if anything, about riots in Europe in December of '09 in a comment below.

TSA Body Scans

This is where Beck slips into a subtle shift from what he claims he predicted last year to pure hypothetical. IF he had said a year ago that we'd have to go through body scans and pat-downs by the TSA before boarding a commercial aircraft to fly, would you have believed it? Beck didn't say that a year ago because the underwear bomber attempted his terroristic act on Christmas day in 2009. After that attempt, the answers people would have given to that question would have been different for many respondents, but even then Beck wasn't predicting the security measures that the government would eventually adopt to keep flying as safe as possible. That is because Beck is not a prophet no matter how much he claims he can see into the future.

What is interesting about this is that if the TSA were not looking for underwear bombs and an airplane was blown out of the sky by a bomb requiring scans to detect, Beck would probably be all over the President for not keeping the flying public safe. For Glenn Beck, Obama can do nothing right, even when he does something quite conservative.

Russia's Control of U.S. Uranium

This is another subject that Beck not only did not predict, but distorts the details about this uranium deal. According to the Bloomberg Press story that Beck pointed at in this segment, "A Russian company that took control of uranium mines in Wyoming is barred from exporting produced material and executives at U.S.-based subsidiaries will remain in charge, according to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission report...The agency said Uranium One and ARMZ lack a license to export nuclear fuel, and material from the mine must be used in the U.S." Some "control." Mr. Beck didn't bother saying that they could not export the uranium mined because his goal, as usual, is to scare and misinform his viewers about Russian "control" of uranium. Beck's fear-mongering on this subject harks back to the "good old days" of the Cold War and mutual assured nuclear destruction. That's a strange nostalgia!

Net Neutrality

Beck has misinformed his viewers about Net Neutrality from the first time he brought up the topic. By attacking the idea of keeping the Internet as open as it has been from the beginning, Beck shows that 1) he's not a conservative (people who want to preserve the status quo) and 2) he wants corporations to stick it to consumers, including Beck's loyal followers. For more on Beck's misunderstanding of Net Neutrality, see "Beck deceives his viewers about net neutrality to side with corporate America."

Warrantless GPS Tracking

This was a bit of truncated accuracy in Beck's monologue. A student, 20 year old Yasir Afifi, found a GPS tracking device under his car. The FBI did not have a warrant and they went to Afifi's house to get the device back. What Beck didn't mention, of course, is that Afifi's "discovery comes in the wake of a recent ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals saying it’s legal for law enforcement to secretly place a tracking device on a suspect’s car without getting a warrant, even if the car is parked in a private driveway. Brian Alseth from the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington state contacted Afifi after seeing pictures of the tracking device posted online and told him the ACLU had been waiting for a case like this to challenge the ruling."(1) Beck claims to support the Constitution, but he has problems with the ACLU, the organization that works hard to make sure that the Constitution is followed and upheld before the federal courts and the SCOTUS.

Warrantless Credit Card "Hotwatch" Tracking

This issue, too, is something that has been revealed recently and was not on Beck's mind a year ago.(2) Beck did not convey that this tracking is done in criminal investigations, but that does not really matter. This government activity does not seem to be Constitutional, and is hopefully heading toward a Supreme Court as a case eventually. Meanwhile, be afraid! (Or just don't engage in criminal activities.) Seriously, be very concerned. This Review is unusual in having the willingness to agree with Mr. Beck when his Libertarian concerns are spot on. Politics, it is said, makes for strange "bedfellows," and it is difficult to understand why this form of warrantless tracking is not at least marginalized as a national security activity instead of in place to track criminal suspect purchases in real time. Enemies, domestic and foreign should be tracked like this in real time, not criminals. It's crossing a line toward big brother government that the SCOTUS will have to address. This is where many of Beck alarming claims about the Constitution is pure bunk. The current exceptionally conservative SCOTUS still functions to uphold the Constitution. 

Recognizing America a Year from Now

Beck ignores this year's election results to claim that progress "is not slowing down." He then predicts, "You won't recognize your country yet again by next Christmas." This might be nit-picking, but if you can't recognize your country now, how will you know if it has changed or not in the next year? This Review will not be accusing Beck of intellectual rigor, reasoned arguments or logical consistency anytime soon.

"spread your legs" for Beck?

Interest on the Federal Debt as Sex

It's hard to imagine any serious political commentator introducing a subject by stating, "Spread your legs; you're going to enjoy this one;" but that is how Beck begins his theatrical and jolting claim about the interest on the national debt. This might make for engaging performance, but as serious commentary it is seriously disturbed and inappropriate. For Glenn Beck, that is a key to success: be controversial, get covered in the media, gain fame and following of people who prefer sexual innuendo and performance art with props (his tiny sandwich bit that represented in this segment...nothing explained) to real information. The amount given for payments on the interest on the national debt was accurate, but Beck never explains that the United States had considerably higher debt as a percentage of our GDP right after WWII. (See graph below.) That would be reassuring, something that is contrary to Beck's methodology: fear-mongering. One solution to this debt problem would be to raise the top tax rates on the super-rich (high income earners) to what they were when this debt was being paid down (90% until it was dropped to 70% under President Kennedy), but Beck does not support policies that would help the country, only those that help the corporate high earners...like Glenn Beck. The solution Beck prefers, i.e., cutting social programs that aid the middle and lower classes, would be like sex! Millions of people would get screwed, so Glenn Beck can keep more of his millions he's earning with his growing, private, media empire.
President debt graph

Julian Assange and Wikileaks

Beck deceptively twists Julian Assunge's motives into striving for "chaos," which is not what Beck quoted from Assange. Progressive President Theodore Roosevelt was addressing the corruption that Beck turns two blind eyes toward. Beck has chosen what side he's on, and that is the side of corporate power over the individual consumer, worker and neighbor whom are directly impacted by the pursuit of profits. That is why Beck doesn't want the government to get in the way or even address the corruption of corporate power over government and it's measures to address problems that confront the nation or the interest of the people. 

Beck's boss, communist supporter Rupert Murdoch, claims that Beck is a "well-read libertarian;" but Beck is more like an uber-corporatist. Congressman Ron Paul is a genuine libertarian, and this is what he had to say about the conservative, pro-empire, mainstream calls to have Assange arrested. Beck, in his constant effort to alarm and "wake up" his audience is falsely claiming Assange wants "chaos:" Congressman Paul conveys how flat out stupid Beck's understanding of what Wikileaks is doing from a libertarian perspective. The following short clip was taken from a story at the Mediaite blog.
Insert (12/24/2010): The following clip shows Micheal Moore defending Assange and Wikileaks from the left. It seems, ironically, that only the mainstream statists and Glenn Beck oppose the Wikileaks release of state secrets.

Beck's supporters do have a choice. They can continue to believe this extensively documented liar and hypocrite, a charlatan, who makes up reality for his own purposes, or find an honest, morally refined and logically consistent leader to follow. Unfortunately, these emotionally attached minions will follow Glenn Beck and do his bidding for him. Some of them will pass along the alarming perspective Beck brings to our problems, and Beck's audience will grow because there are lots of people who do not have a deep historical understanding our tax rates and debts. That is wonderful for Beck's bottom line, but if the reader has gotten this far and understands how distorted, hyperbolic and even inappropriate is Beck's fear-mongering, then for the good of this country or in the name of truth, please help spread this word of warning, this blog URL. 

The Glenn Beck Review is a resource for people who want to find out about the veracity (or lack thereof) of Beck's message. Before Beck's minions reach your friends, your family, your neighbors with his deceitful and hypocritical fear-mongering, share the URL below. This isn't about left vs. right; it's about facts vs. fiction. It's about exposing a charlatan who is not educated sufficiently to actually know what he's talking about before his performances supplant the serious and reasoned presentation and discussion of the problems we face. The deficits are a serious problem, but Glenn Beck has answers that adds up to plutocracy: a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich...foremost Glenn Beck's riches. 
Before more people start buying Beck's fictional narratives, 
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RogerF said...

This is an outstanding summary of Beck at his "best." Great research, great article.

Hugo Daun said...

Good stuff!

Here's an article you may enjoy:


The Glenn Beck Review said...

Thanks Hugo. I'll see if Hrafnkell Haraldsson will let me reprint that.

esstee said...

Sorry, but you're a liberal if you write the crap you just wrote above. Your "opinion" does not count anymore. You are an idiot!

The Glenn Beck Review said...

esstee, conservatives and even reactionary crank Alex Jones are also highly critical of Mr. Beck. If you care to believe Beck's fictions, that is your choice; but most people see Beck for what he is: a buffoon, a liar, a fear-monger and a conspiracy theorists where there are no conspiracies.