Friday, March 4, 2011

Becoming Paul Revere

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"Fear is the foundation of most government; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it."
~~John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

In the last ten months, this Review, an e-pamphlet under construction, has attempted to honestly expose Glenn Beck for what he really is or seems to be. There have been agreements with Beck's POV and disagreements, but the political differences between other critics and the blogger writing this Review and Glenn Beck are moot. Following is an encapsulation of this Review that has been published to date. It will outline the primary points about Beck's honesty, integrity, method of communication, why his followers are behind him and what you, the reader and presumably concerned citizen can to about what you read here. Indifference toward Glenn Beck is for non-voters and free-loaders only.

Three types of people w/r/t Glenn Beck

There are basically three types of readers who will be interested in this article. Those who already oppose Mr. Beck can skip this and get to the important steps to be taken in response to him. Those who support Beck will disagree with much of this even though the entire Review has been factual to a fault. Supporters are encouraged to take the challenge that has been published for months to show where any presented facts about Mr. Beck are wrong. Supporters do not employ critical reasoning toward Glenn Beck; they use supportive reasoning. Supportive reasoning tends to short-circuit critical reasoning, so where others point to Beck's many false claims, those same claims land on ears that want to believe. His followers do not employ doubt or critical reasoning except toward those Beck targets, i.e., Obama, progressives and environmentalists.

NOTE: The hot links in many these sentences (light grey for some browsers) will take the reader to relevant, previous posts or external articles. The "take the challenge hot link" will take you to the challenge that has been in place for months without a successful challenge. If a supporter of Mr. Beck thinks that this Review has a fact wrong, then state so in a comment on the post with the alleged error. Facts will then be double checked and corrections will be made if we have something wrong here. That is how credibility works.

The third type of reader are people who have heard of Glenn Beck but do not know too much about him. Maybe these people have clicked a link to arrive here from Facebook, Twitter, some website discussing Beck or an e-mail that a concerned friend or relative (a "Paul Revere") sent to them. This short essay is a cautionary tale, an honest report about someone who gets himself into the news quite often which is something people reporting and commenting on the news generally do not and are not supposed to do.  Glenn Beck is a master at getting himself talked about and reported upon. He does this to get noticed and to obtain more followers, more book sales, more soldiers for his army and higher ratings. Lately, Beck has been making many claims that are getting him mentioned all over the Internet and on the news, but it is not helping with his ratings on the Fox News channel. In fact, his ratings are slipping lately. Perhaps a better understanding of Beck's methods of communication and many false claims will shed light on this decline in his ratings. If you are a reader trying to get useful information about Mr. Beck, this short essay is for you.

The truth about Glenn Beck

The truth about Glenn Beck can seem confusing. For his supporters, he is a hero, a deeply religious man who wants to save the country from Communism or fascism or Nazism or socialism or severe superficiality depending upon the theme of the day. If that sounds confusing, it is because Beck got his lesson in politics from an extremist and racist crank, the late Cleon Skowsen and his book, The 5,000 Year Leap. Beck believes that political philosophies that rely on large government intrusions are basically the same, so for Beck Communism = Fascism. As a follower of the extremist reactionary, Cleon Skousen, Beck is also an extremist reactionary who has expressed the desire to help lead the United States away from all progressive laws that have been passed during the last 100 years. All laws that have been enacted to protect the food supply, the air quality, the purity of the water, the land, the markets, etc. from unscrupulous corporate interests that put their profits above and before the interest of the American people are, to Mr. Beck, bad and must be reversed. Beck is a reactionary who sides with the fat cats and opposes the interests of poor, working and middle class Americans. For that, there is no criticism. It is a free country, and if Beck wants to make the case for his reactionary perspective that the tea party has embraced, so be it. The problem arises with how Beck makes his case, and he's not been making honest or rational arguments against the President, progressives or environmentalists. Glenn Beck employs "truthiness," gut feelings and beliefs regardless of the actual facts, to slander and otherwise smear his targets.

In the last ten months of close scrutiny, Glenn Beck has made a vast number of false claims. Many of these claims have been documented here, sometimes using independent research and other times using research performed by others analyzing Beck's many bogus assertions. For independent and objective confirmation of the argument of this Review that Beck makes many false claims, see "A Case-Study Report on the Washington Post, Glenn Beck and Media Standards in America Today." Some of Beck's supporters falsely claim that Beck is just an opinion person, but he makes many assertions that he claims are "the truth." Sometimes his claims are based in fact. Often they are not based on reality, or he spins the facts so far in his reactionary direction, it's difficult to hear the fact behind the spin. He uses exaggeration, hyperbole and fear to make his points. Beck is frequently telling his audience that he tells the truth and makes corrections when he gets his facts wrong, but that is just part of his "truthiness." Beck convincingly blends facts with false claims to paint an overall false narrative, not to convey an honest story about his many topics. Many of Beck's false claims are purposeful lies. Just three examples of Beck purposely deceiving his audience follow, and two of them involve severe video editing to make it seem like President Obama (Beck's obsession) was saying something that he was not saying at all. Beck has lied about:
These three examples are all from last year, but not every criticism of Obama leveled by Beck is deceitful. Sometimes Mr. Beck is on the money even if several months behind the event. Beck continues to make false claims that are documented elsewhere. This week, on the 1st, Beck claimed, "In fact, FDR said collective bargaining would destroy us. Yes, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Look it up."  Well, if his viewers had looked it up, they would have found that Beck is wrong; FDR supported collective bargaining. In the same episode, Beck claimed that on the other networks, Gov. Walker of Wisconsin, who is attempting to bust the public employees union there, is described as "evil." If anyone can document that claim, this blogger would like to see it. Beck made that up. Beck routinely completely makes facts up about the "other" media meaning not Fox News.

Just as it is impossible to claim that someone on another network actually did make that statement (without a team watching every news outlet), it is also impossible to show no one made that statement. Beck made that claim for propaganda purposes, not to make an honest point. This is one mechanism that Beck routinely uses during his shows: false claims made to convey a narrative. There are many examples of Beck's false claims listed in the contents page of this Review. After a while, it became redundant to demonstrate that Glenn Beck routinely makes false claims. He does purposely deceive his audience as proven in the three examples above, but most often Beck seems to make assertions based upon a lack of knowledge, based upon ignorance. 

Glenn Beck's followers

How does Beck get away with making many false claims and still have millions of people supporting him? The answer is that he uses effective propaganda techniques and he's extremely gifted. Aside from repeating lies and reminding his viewers over and over that he tells the truth, Beck uses sophisticated propaganda techniques that work to manipulate his viewer's range of needs. This revelation is conveyed by guest blogger William Holden, and his three essays on Beck's manipulative propaganda techniques are worth reading to get an understanding of how Beck manages to misinform his viewers and have them make comments like, "Several months ago, Beck was “must see” TV and every episode was like a post-graduate seminar in political science." Science! That's such an astonishing and alarming claim! 
Trying to convince Beck's followers that Mr. Beck tells lies is a waste of time and effort. (It's been tried!) This is because they have become true believers in Beck's false narratives and misunderstanding about reality even though he says things at times that are "completely insane." They unconsciously place their beliefs above and beyond the facts. They are or have become ideologues and thus closed-minded. When presenting facts that do not correspond to beliefs of someone on the left or the right, the ideologue will dig their heels in deeper to avoid "cognitive dissonance." Beck also knows his audience well. He knows how to push their buttons and what turns them on. Thus, Beck was designated the "fear-monger-in-chief" in 2009, and that approach is  very effective with conservatives. They have larger fear centers in their brains. Beck turned, last year, toward becoming a televangelist as much of his audience is very religious. For the secular followers that were turned off, it probably excited others who embrace some version of the old-time religion that Beck articulates in his themes of "faith, hope and charity."

Is Glenn Beck for Real?

One of the first hints offered in the last 10 months that Beck did not understand his topic was when he argued with his chalk board that the Constitution was held up by "faith, hope and charity." A WTF reaction was triggered by a high school understanding that the Supreme Court had a major role in upholding the Constitution. Many experts describe Beck as ignorant about the subjects he addresses, but anyone who graduated from high school with a basic understanding of civics should understand that Beck was making facts up. That WTF moment lead to a conclusion that Glenn Beck is a fake. On many subjects, from the Middle East, to the Constitution, to national security to Christianity, Glenn Beck is no expert or even well informed. He can talk the talk, but rarely does Glenn Beck have the knowledge to walk the walk. 

Beck's various hypocrisies have been documented here. He seems to really lack any sincere principles even though he talks about them a lot. This is another indication that Glenn Beck lacks authenticity. One doesn't violate one's own principles, sometimes during the course of a morning radio show, other times over the course of weeks or months, unless those principles are not deeply held. Beck's many ignorant statements coupled with the many examples of sheer hypocrisy that have been documented here, including lying during his Washington Mall speech to restore "honor," after he first claimed, "Our sacred honor. It means that you tell the truth. The whole truth and nothing but the truth," indicates that Beck either suffers from some kind of moral defect or he is just not sincere, not authentic.

Reviewing Beck's background and his early inspirations provided evidence for the answer to the question, is Glenn Beck for real? Beck was inspired by Orson Wells. Beck made it his mission to become as big as Wells. In that pursuit, Beck has also become as much of a charlatan as Wells was the night he put on his infamous "War of the Worlds" skit on the radio except Beck does not first announce that the show is just a performance as Wells did. Beck puts on one hell of a show, but the entertainment of an ignorant and deceitful stage performer does not make for enlightenment or education which is what he bills his show on Fox and his website as offering. What Glenn Beck lacks in useful and enlightening information he makes up for with routine false claims derived either from purposeful deception or just a lack of knowledge about the facts or both.

Context matters

So if Beck is an ignorant liar and a hypocrite as proven and a charlatan as claimed, how can he keep his job on Fox News? The Fox channel is not a news outlet! We have gathered evidence to show that Fox is a propaganda outfit used to attack Democrats and support Republicans. To that end, they don't just tilt the facts with a conservative and reactionary spin; they often make up stories or echo and amplify made-up stories that can be found in other parts of the right-wing echo chamber. Fox, in other words, is not a news source with a conservative bias. Fox is engaged in propaganda, and Glenn Beck is their most effective propagandist. As such, Fox is a corruption of news and information, and Glenn Beck is their most corrupt and talented star. For more on how corruption is at work on Fox see Paul Westlake's analyses:
In a piece on Reader Supported News, Robert F. Kennedy wrote in part, "In the Unites States, Fox News and talk radio, the sock puppets of billionaires and corporate robber barons, have become the masters of propaganda and distortion on the public airwaves. Fox News' notoriously biased and dishonest coverage of the Wisconsin's protests is a prime example of the brand of news coverage Canada has smartly avoided."(1) Beck has claimed multiple times that if he makes false claims on his show, he would be fired; but that is just more smoke that Beck blows over the eyes and into the ears of his supportive and therefore uncritical viewers. That claim is just one more example of how Glenn Beck corrupts his supporters' understanding of what is real and what is just made-up and false. If calling the President a racist and associating Obama with Lucifer has not gotten Glenn Beck fired, it is clear that Beck and every false claim he makes have a safe home at Fox "News." It seems as if Glenn Beck moved to Fox to avoid any of the standards of journalism and responsible commentary.

The Paradoxes of Glenn Beck

"I'm sorry. I just love my country, and I fear for it."
~~Glenn Beck, March 13, 2009

A paradox is a statement that is true even though it seems to contradict itself or be absurd. Two sequential examples of  paradox that logically follow each other are: The left is right, and the right is wrong. Of course, someone on the right would debate the veracity of these two paradoxes; but the examples hold true for people who associate themselves with progress for people working in corporations. Perhaps another paradox about facts is that truth is a matter of perception and values. Glenn Beck is a paradoxical man. 
If at this point the reader is not convinced that Beck is a danger to the country, which needs a well-informed citizenry to function democratically, then consider a Mormon's perspective on Mr. Beck. If this Review seems one sided or excessive, consider the views presented on The Glenn Beck Report. Also consider that we have documented three attempted assassination attempts that Glenn Beck has inspired with his violent and vitriolic rhetoric. Alleged cop killer Richard "Pop" Poplawski had uploaded Beck video on YouTube before he reportedly gunned down three police officers because he was fearful that Obama was going to take his guns from him.(2) Consider the viewpoints of Glenn Beck's biographers, Washington Post reporter, Dana Milbank, and independent journalist, Alex Zaitchik. This Review contains the perspectives of many people critically examining Glenn Beck's claims and rhetoric in order to provide the reader with a variety of critical analyses. Take the time and explore this Review. If you're not convinced of the danger Beck poses to our democratic order, then read about Beck's anti-Semitism, the stochastic terrorism that he engages in, or the ethnic hatred that oozes from his being at least while he is on the Fox stage.

America's fear inspiring deceiver-in-chief

Beck is a self-described rodeo clown, a stage performer and not an informed journalist. With no debate, we, the critics of Beck's hypocrisies, many lies, ignorant false claims and vitriolic rhetoric, are left shouting across the Internet and other media. This essay is an invitation to bring this message to other people's attention before one of Glenn Beck's enthusiastic and deluded minions reach other people first. By "other people," this blogger means your parents, your children, if you have any old enough to pay attention to these things, your neighbors, your friends and perhaps fellow parishioners. Understand, if you can, how people, who listen to and believe that the alternative reality that Beck paints is real, come across as psychotic in political conversations. Don't let your friends and family become one of them. Supporting a far right-wing reactionary such as Representative Ron Paul, who is honest and principled, is one thing. Getting behind and supporting or even believing the ignorant and deceitful noise that comes from Glenn Beck is something else altogether. It is not healthy to have the country horribly divided because a gifted stage performer has millions and, if his minions follow Beck's marching orders, millions more Americans believing things that have no basis in reality. That division is perhaps the greatest danger Beck poses as he seems to spur, rouse and poke people into not just loud arguments but dangerous violence. Beck occasionally appears to try and spark violent conflict in the U.S. and paradoxically promotes non-violence.

Taking preventative action

"I love Glenn Beck, He is soooo AWESOME.. He tells the truth. like to tell everyone on my facebook and at work to watch him on Fox News."
~~Karen Wykofka Douglass

This blog is a warning. THE LIAR IS COMING. THE LIAR IS COMING. THE LIAR IS COMING. Please, for the love of truth, justice and the American Way, share this patriotic warning online, on social media, on chalkboards, on the cyberscape of this brand new electronic world we call the InternetUse this Review is a resource to use to warn our fellow country-persons. Use another critical essay if you wish. You can, and you should -- if you love your country and are concerned about the impact and influence of a gifted propagandist, who seems motivated for himself first and foremost -- become an electronic Paul Revere
Before more people start tuning into Beck's deceitful propaganda, 
get involved
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Update, 3/6/11: This summary will remain the home page indefinitely while work continues on a detailed critical analysis of his book Broke. Meanwhile, Glenn Beck's lies roll on; some of them will be posted as links here in the update section for now. Beck recently lied about:

2)  The Backlash: Right-wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama,  Will Bunch, Harper Collins, 2010, pp. 261-290


john said...

most of what you have written is opinion. you talk of how he bends and twist information for a motive, you should buy a mirror. are there no comments here because no one reads your rants? I do not watch glenn beck, have seen his show, and i do feel that he is on the right path. the reason i say this, is because there is a 'conspiracy' to take down america, but it is not just george soros. read some books *not textbooks* like those written by our founders, and you will see that much of what they warned us about we currently have in our country. read the creature from jekyll island. all historically accurate, try and discredit that book haha

The Glenn Beck Review said...

John, some of what's written are conclusions based upon the facts: Beck is a liar. Beck is profoundly ignorant. Beck is a manipulative propagandist. Beck is a hypocrite.

Those are indisputable, demonstrated facts. Combined with his motivations and drive for fame and success, they add up to Glenn Beck being a fake. (John, as indicated, the Constitution is not supported by faith, hope and charity. A fraud would claim that.)

If Beck didn't write The Creature from Jekyll Island, I don't have time until after Beck goes blind (if THAT was even the truth).

If there's a conspiracy, it's not to "take down" America. There are radicals who support a world government, but they support America. There are radicals who support Communism, but the media marginalizes them. They, combined, are very few people although right after WWII, more that 50% of Americans wanted a world gov't.

Overstretch of the American security footprint will most likely lead to America going down, but it's falling more than being taken down. This comes from historian P. Kennedy and his book, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers.

Dave Dubya said...

Well done, Victor! We are seeing a growing number of the more intelligent Republicans, like Kristol, Will, and Scarborough, calling Beck out for what he is. Beck is a charlatan, a race-baiting, fear-mongering, fascistic, conspiracy-deranged toady of the radical Right.

The Glenn Beck Review said...

George Will has called Beck out? I've been suggesting that, so I'd like to know more about this. Peter Wehner is another famous conservative who's called Beck bad for the conservative movement, but that's obvious. Beck is not a conservative, and he's on the reactionary right.

a fellow patriot said...

This guy must scare the shit out of you guys if the President of the United Staes has to go on a personal vendetta against him.

The Glenn Beck Review said...

A fellow "patriot," Beck is responsible for three, thwarted assassination attempts. Yes, he is destructive to people's minds.

Take your, for example. If you think that "President of the United Staes has to go on a personal vendetta against" Glenn Beck, then you are either incredibly stupid or thoroughly brainwashed by the manipulative propagandist who is programming an army of psychotics. What make you psychotic? Believing what you just wrote here would make you mildly insane (or incredibly stupid.) Which is it?

goethechosemercy said...

People support Beck uncritically, irrationally.
You can hear tremendous emotion in the posts of his friends. I was almost banned from a conservative site when I accused Beck of irrational CT thinking.
But I do accuse him of that.
The list of paradoxes is important. I trust paradoxes when they are part of a collective product like culture, politics or society.
But when they amount to the very basis of a person's thinking, that person must not be trusted. Ever.
Glenn Beck is an irrational man.
It shows in the irrationality of his fo0llowers.
No one who has critically and carefully looked at a media figure would describe his or her support for him/her in such partial and intense terms.
If anything, the supporter qualified his support by saying I favor x's position.
He need not love x.
He need not care anything for x.
That is what the proper relationship between media and listener should be.

Unknown said...

If it one comment I should make - just the fact that all your references are to Media Matters in itself proves lack of ANY credibility.
And if your assertion that this occupant of the WH is a great president and his actions are not of a person destroying our country, hostile to Israel and our allies you, sir is one who is INSANE.....All said you are extremely jealous of Glenn's talent and likability...nobody is talking or obsessed with mediocre like you...sorry...nice try Mr. Soros wipes.

Unknown said...

well, goethechosemercy ,
I had tried to post on media matters and huffington post and surprise, surprise none went thru since I had the audacity to disagree on some issues, so you can't complain about being lest on his site anyone can post their opinion. If anyone is LYING- it is YOU!

Unknown said...

Beck is responsible for 3 assassination attempts? Said WHO? I am surprised you only put 3 and not are trying to throw anything at him including kitchen sink...your problem is- Glenn is famous throughout the world, nobody ever heard of is a common human emotion- in your case severe jealousy....And we see how well you, lefties can lie....still waiting for the video of spitting on the congressman...and $100,000 still unclaimed!!

The Glenn Beck Review said...

Polina, first, you're wrong. Some of my references are to Media Matters. None of the three documented lies listed in this piece have anything to do with Media Matters for America and that shows that you didn't even bother clicking on them.

Next, the only reason you claim that Media Matters has no credibility is because Glenn Beck keeps telling his followers that over and over. Credibility has to do with getting facts right. When MM gets the facts wrong, they update their posts and make corrections. Beck, on the other hand, rarely corrects him many false claims.

I never made the assertions about Obama that you claim. I pointed out three examples where Beck blatantly lied about what Obama said or ran on.
If you think Obama is "destroying our country," then you really are conveying how gullible you are. Bush did far more to destroy the country than Obama has just with his immoral and unjustified war against Iraq.

You mean to argue that I'm envious, not jealous, of Beck, but there is no way that I want to be a despised liar, hypocrite, blowhard, fear and hate monger or false prophet, no matter how much money that would bring me.

You semi-literate writing style suggests that Beck is mediocre, but that's not my view. I'm arguing that Beck is a genius of yellow propaganda, not mediocre by any stretch of the imagination.

Beck used my claim of being "Paul Revere" this week, so I could argue that he envies me, or at least he stole my idea.

The Glenn Beck Review said...

Polina, Media Matters monitors comments the first few times before allowing all comments, including ones critical of them, to go through.

Huff Po monitors all comments, and some of mine have not been published either. Don't take it personally.

The Glenn Beck Review said...

The link to the three thwarted, Beck inspired assassination attempts is here. I should have made that a hot link.

If you can find where the researchers have their information wrong, please note that information here.

Anonymous said...

When I came to the US I watched GB interested in what he had to say. Then one time he was on a subject I know some thing about so I checked his facts and they were skewed to put it politely. Checked some of his other "facts" and they are fiction not facts

Maria V said...

I appreciate your article, I listen to Glenn Beck periodically and YES, he DOES NOT tell the truth!