This article follows directly from the PP article yesterday focusing on Newt Gingrich. Readers are therefore advised to read that part first before continuing below.
Fox News anchor & Tea Party icon Glenn Beck, who has described himself as a “borderline schizophrenic”, increasingly reminds me of Ron Perlman’s “right-wing media icon” demagogue in the 1995 film The Last Supper. Anyone who has seen that movie will understand exactly what I mean. And like his fictional counterpart, Beck has even started holding huge rallies with exactly the type of audience Perlman’s character was shown as being such a dangerous influence on. Life disturbingly imitating art, 15 years later.
A selection of examples focusing on Glenn Beck, Fox News and the Tea Party
· Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly has stated that Glenn Beck is the leader of the Tea Party movement. Beck has repeatedly declared that his aim is to oppose progressivism, which he calls a “cancer” in American society. Beck has also repeatedly claimed that there is currently a vast, secular, liberal, progressive conspiracy underway to seize control of America and destroy the republic in its present form by manipulating the democratic system and subverting the Constitution.
· As previously discussed on PP, an in-depth investigation by Jane Mayer of the New Yorker has revealed the huge scale of the Right-wing billionaire Koch brothers’ involvement in bankrolling & manipulating the Tea Party movement from the very start, with the deliberate intention of furthering their own agenda (also summarised by the New York Times). The Koch brothers have direct links to both Fox News and the Republican Party. Not only have the Koch brothers been doing everything they can to destroy Obama’s presidency, but one of their main aims is to destroy progressivism itself.
· Glenn Beck has an extensive history of extremely violent rhetoric. He has also openly stated that he is going to spend the rest of his life hunting down and “exposing” progressives. Furthermore, he has repeatedly made bizarre comments about his opponents potentially “shooting him in the head”, along with suggesting that the Obama Administration plans to kill 10% of the American population and is deliberately pushing the US towards a civil war.
· Beck has an extensive history of racially-inflammatory rhetoric, including his unashamed promotion of a viciously racist and anti-Semitic book written in 1934 by Elizabeth Dilling, whom Beck has openly described as being one of his ideological predecessors, ie. “people who were doing what we’re doing now”. Dilling was a Nazi-sympathising American author and activist who described “un-Christianized” “colored people” as “savages,” called Hinduism and Islam “debasing and degrading”, claimed that the world’s Jewish population were to blame for everything negative afflicting mankind, described “racial inter-mixing” as a “communist plot”, praised Hitler’s leadership, and attended Nazi party meetings in Germany during the late 1930s along with speaking at rallies organised by US-based Nazi groups after the start of World War 2.
· Beck has promoted a book by Eustace Mullins which supports conspiracy theories about Jewish control of the American financial system. Mullins was an anti-Semite and a white supremacist who claimed that the very existence of Jews was “an affront to nature”, and also blamed them for 9/11. Furthermore, Mullins wrote a book called “Adolph Hitler: An Appreciation”, in which he compared Hitler to Christ and claimed that both were victims of Jews.
· An on-air rant during his show on Fox News when Beck openly described Obama’s America as being like “the damn Planet of the Apes”, while a picture of Obama was displayed on the video monitor next to him.
· Beck has an extensive history of fundamentalist Christian religious rhetoric. He literally believes that he is fighting on the side of God against Satan, and has repeatedly suggested that liberal, progressive people are “enemies of God”. Beck has also repeatedly opposed “social justice”, claiming that the concept is a “perversion” of Christianity. Furthermore, Beck has claimed that Obama’s interpretation of Christianity is “not something that most Christians recognize”. Ironically, in reality Beck is actually a Mormon, not an Evangelical Christian — in fact, the more extreme elements of the latter group don’t even regard Mormons as Christians at all.
· Beck has been involved in the formation and promotion of the “Black Robe Regiment”, a conservative religious group which Beck claims is composed of “thousands of clergy” and is aimed at increasing the involvement of religion at the core of American society. More details here. The Black Robe Regiment has direct links to senior Republican politician & potential 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. In reality, not only does the US Constitution explicitly emphasise the need for the separation of Church and State, but Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli – signed directly by the Founding Father & 2nd US president John Adams in 1797, and unanimously approved by Congress – explicitly states that “the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion”.
· The explicitly political aspects of Glenn Beck’s recent rally in Washington, despite his claims to the contrary. There is also a considerable amount of information about Fox News’s own “unofficial corporate sponsorship” of both Beck’s recent rally and previous Tea Party rallies. Beck himself has openly claimed that the Tea Party is, in part, “trying to make sure that our [American] children aren’t sold as slaves to China”.
· Beck has made false allegations about Imam Rauf’s wife Daisy Khan, claiming that she said “all Americans hate Muslims”; and in yet another disgusting example of ascribing collective guilt, Beck explicitly blames the Sufis involved in Park51/Cordoba House for the nearly 3000 deaths that occurred on 9/11, and does not differentiate between them and Al-Qaeda. He has also repeatedly attacked Imam Rauf, claiming that “there is something very, very wrong with him”. Furthermore, Beck himself was at the forefront of Fox News’s repeated insinuations about sinister figures allegedly financing the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque”, with Beck emphasising the need to “follow the money”…..until the investigation by Jon Stewart and The Daily Show revealed that the trail led back directly to Fox News.
· Since President Obama was elected, Fox personalities have expressed hostility towards — and in some cases promoted the actual repeal of — numerous legal and constitutional advancements implemented in America during the 20th century, including progressive developments such as sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The latter was instrumental in outlawing major forms of discrimination against African-Americans along with ending racial segregation.
· Several polls conducted in August 2010 revealed that approximately 1/4 to 1/5 of the American population now believes that Obama is secretly a Muslim, with 60% of the people involved confirming that their opinion is based on the media; according to an earlier poll in March 2010, 57% of Republicans believe that Obama is a Muslim, 45% believe he was not actually born in the US, and 38% believe he is duplicating many of the actions of Hitler. The Right-wing media in America has been heavily involved in promoting these lies.
· In recent months, the level of complaints of anti-Muslim discrimination in the American workplace has even exceeded the period immediately after 9/11; unfortunately this doesn’t surprise me at all, given the recent “Quran-burning” debacle and most of all the manufactured controversy of the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque”. Fox News in particular has been at the forefront of whipping up hysteria about the latter. You can read a detailed and thoroughly-researched overview of the specific timeline for the American “conservative Right’s” anti-Muslim bigotry from December 2009 to September 2010 here.
Regarding the escalating behaviour of America’s “conservative Right” in general, including several of their key figures, readers are advised to familiarise themselves with the “Big Lie” propaganda technique and the associated historical precedent.
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Filed in: Media,Muslim,Party politics,Religion,United States