It's possible that Glenn Beck is insecure about his fans, or just that he's actually silly enough to take Newsbusters seriously. Either way, he's totally off the mark in this clip from today's show:
Reacting to a Washington Post story about conservatives attending conservative classes on the U.S. Constitution, Beck claims that the Post said you were only studying constitutional studies if "you're a fringy Glenn Beck fan." But the story didn't say that at all. Not even close.
Two years ago, Taylor, who is president of the National Center for Constitutional Studies, made about 35 trips to speak to small church groups and political gatherings. This year, he has received so many requests that he enlisted 15 volunteer instructors, who are on pace to hold more than 180 sessions reaching thousands of people.
"We're trying to flood the nation . . . and it's happening," said Taylor, 63, a charter school principal.
If a "tea party" event is where the disaffected go to protest the present, his classes are where they go to ponder the past. Participants include members of "9.12" groups inspired by conservative commentator Glenn Beck, Republicans, home-school groups and people affiliated with militias.
Now, while some may believe - with reason - that some of the groups listed are "fringy," the Post did not characterize them that way. Newsbusters, however, wrote "Students in Constitution Class Are Probably Fringy Militia Types, WaPo Implies." As we've shown time and again, Newsbusters often imputes thoughts on to the writers of journalism they disagree with and -- as in this case -- often neglect to cite any hard facts to make their point. It's lousy media criticism, and when Beck just appears to regurgitate it, the result is an accusation without basis in reality.
Even worse, Beck made it sound as if the article was discussing just standard-issue constitutional studies, when in fact the classes in question clearly share Beck's inclination towards a mangled version of American history (it's unclear if they, like Beck, recommend the writings of anti-semites or not). But even then, the article didn't make the value judgement Beck and Newsbusters accuse it of.
This is Beck (and Newsbusters) getting something completely wrong. Again.
On today's edition of Happening Now on Fox News Channel, the following chyron appeared:
The caption reads "9/11/09: WH Offers Romanoff 3 Jobs To Drop Primary Challenge." The chyron aired during an interview with RNC chairman Michael Steele, who was discussing conservative-generated controversy relating to the Senate candidacy of Andrew Romanoff in Colorado.
The problem is, the chyron adds a new false element to the story - both Romanoff and the White House have denied that any job offer was made, let alone 3. Romanoff said that three job descriptions were presented to him should he decide not to make a run for the senate seat, but "at no time was I promised a job," and in fact, the White House aide who contacted him said he "could not guarantee my appointment to any of these positions." Similarly, a White House statement said "there was no offer of a job."
So where did Fox come up with this idea that there was any "offer" made? No other reporting supports this allegation, and the chyron isn't repeating a charge anyone made. Furthermore, in a later appearance on that same program Romanoff denied being offered a program. Based on all that contrary evidence, my best guess would be that this is just the latest from Fox's chyron writers doing their best to cast the Obama administration in a negative light.
At least the spelling was right this time.
On his Fox News show, Glenn Beck proclaimed that he doesn't "know why we're not having real conversations" in America. During the same show, Beck compared the current state of our country to the biblical story of Moses and the films Star Wars and Robin Hood and cited a national division between supporters of Woodstock and the Apollo Project.
On his show Tuesday, Beck created a conflict that seems to exist in his own mind, between those who were fans of the Apollo moon landing and those who went to Woodstock later in the summer of 1969. Apparently Beck doesn't think it's possible that there's an overlap between Neil Armstrong fans and Jimi Hendrix fans, though common sense would indicate that Woodstock wasn't a protest against the moon landing.
Until now, it seems.
What Beck is siding with happens to be what was a large, multi-billion dollar government program. The Apollo project cost about $25 billion in the '60s (around $186 billion in modern dollars). That's the sort of large government investment that Beck generally spends a lot of chalk attacking and wrapping up in the conspiracy du jour. It's possible Beck has carved out an exception for what was (and is) considered one of the seminal achievements of mankind, let alone America. But it is just as likely based on his track record of being incorrect on issue after issue that Beck just doesn't know that the Apollo program was a government expenditure.
Just one more small step towards inconsistency for Beck.
From the May 30 edition of ABC's This Week:
Loading the player reg...
If you were to believe Dick Morris (and his track record clearly indicates you'd be better off if you didn't) every time someone voted for the health care bill in Congress, they did so as a result of some sort of bribe from the Obama administration. Here's Morris on tonight's edition of Hannity:
Morris claims that the White House favored incumbent Colorado Senator Michael Bennet over his challenger within the Democratic Party, former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, because Bennet had Obama "buy his vote" on health care reform. Morris (as usual) doesn't cite any sort of evidence to support his very serious accusation. The only case he makes is that, for some unspecified reason, Romanoff "would be a stronger candidate," and thus there must have been some reason for the Obama administration to act against their own purported best interest by supporting Bennet.
This isn't the first time Morris has made this type of accusation. In March, Morris claimed that the brother of Rep. Scott Matheson had been appointed a judge in exchange for his health care vote, which might have made sense except that Matheson ended up voting against the bill, while a Bush-appointed judge debunked the appointment side of the story.
Morris went to the well again, when he claimed that the ethics investigation into Rep. Eric Massa was some form of retaliation against Massa since he didn't vote for the health care bill. The Washington Post later reported that Massa was being investigated for allegedly groping staffers.
Based on that track record, there's clearly no reason to believe that Morris is any closer to the truth with his most recent allegation. In fact, you would be far better off not trusting a thing Dick Morris says.
Right-wing media have claimed Obama administration counterterrorism adviser John Brennan's statement that jihad is a "legitimate tenet of Islam" is "absurd" and frightening" and indicates Brennan is "deranged." But former President George W. Bush similarly stated that extremists "distort the idea of jihad" to support their terrorist acts.
Glenn Beck devoted much of his May 26 show to renewing his attacks against Obama administration official Cass Sunstein. Beck claimed that Sunstein is "the man who controls everything", "a geek" who has "more power than the Fed" and with the passage of financial reform would "control your every move."
Sometimes Fox News goes so far with their misreporting that it drives even conservative Republican members of congress to protest. That was the case today, when Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) responded to a report on the network's America Live which falsely claimed that recently-announced pension legislation constitutes a "union bailout." As Rep. LaTourette noted (via Think Progress), the bill is no such thing:
LATOURETTE: Something just happened on Fox News that compelled me to come to the floor. They've run this diagram and it really is a, I think, blaspheming my good friend Pat Tiberi from Ohio and indicating that there are nine Republicans supporting a bill that will bail out unions. Well, that's nonsense and I don't know who the pin head and weenie is at Fox News that decided to put that story together. But the true facts of this piece of legislation are as follows. This bill will save the taxpayers by saying to those corporations that have union pension plans, if you find yourselves in a bind, rather than thrusting that upon the taxpayer, it spreads out over five years the ability to bring those pension plans up to speed. That's good government, it's a good bill. It's a good Tiberi bill and I don't know what they're doing at Fox News, but they should stop smoking it and get back to reporting the facts.
The segment LaTourette flagged was only the latest in a series of Fox reports which pushed the false "union bailout" talking points. Those reports often also claimed the bill would cost taxpayers $165 billion - according to its sponsor, the bill would cost $8-10 billion.
It isn't every day that Fox is taken to task on the floor of the House by a Republican, but it is a pretty good measure of just how farfrom the truth Fox News has staggered on this issue. Reporting what a bill does isn't the most complicated thing in the world. All it requires is that a news outlet collects information then explain it to the public. Yet Fox News fails at this basic task practically every single day.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs joked today about a license for punditry, in response to criticism from Sarah Palin about the Obama administration's response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
MR. GIBBS: Look, I've heard people on -- I've heard people say -- not want to offer conspiracy theories but say somehow that we've delayed our response for whatever reason. There have been notions made by people that even this was done intentionally. You know, again, I -- you got to have a license to drive a car in this country but regrettably you can get on a TV show and say virtually anything.
The very real problem is that misinformed claims like Palin's are far too often made, and repeated - despite the fact that they are untrue. In this case, Palin got it wrong on BP contributions to Obama. Previously she falsely claimed President Obama ran as a "quasi-conservative", that the U.S. had apologized to China about the Arizona immigration law, that Obama wants to ban guns, and of course there was the "death panels" monstrosity. And those are just a few examples.
You don't need a license to practice punditry, but it probably isn't asking too much for someone like Palin to at least be minimally informed on the issues she goes on television to discuss. If we're having debates about serious issues (like national security, the environment, health care), the claims made should at least have some basis in reality, and not just be products of the imagination of a former governor.
So far Fox and Palin seem deeply uninterested in even the pretense of presenting informed punditry. In fact, they seem to revel in the lack of actual facts in Palin's work for the network so far. There aren't any licenses for punditry, but maybe somebody should get a ticket.