In recent weeks, Fox News' Glenn Beck has railed against the proposed food safety legislation making its way through Congress, claiming it is a way for the government to "control your food" and ultimately "control you." This is just the latest in a long line of hysterics from conservatives regarding efforts to make Americans' food safer and healthier.
In a November 24 blog post, The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg took a hammer to Glenn Beck's continued effort to demonize Aryeh Neier, the president of George Soros' Open Society Institute, exposing Beck's nonsensical conspiracy that Soros is really trying to destabilize American democracy (and take over the world). Hertzberg completely upends Beck's portrayal of Neier as a "radical, violent, subversive, rage-maddened, [and] riot-inciting" individual, pointing out facts that Beck rarely, if ever, bothers himself with.
For days, as Hertzberg notes, we were treated to an anti-Soros-themed "sideshow" in which Neier, who helped found Human Rights Watch and served as the national executive director of the ACLU, was described as "the founder of the violent activist group SDS," Students for a Democratic Society. Beck would go on to connect SDS with the "Days of Rage riots" and the Weather Underground and call their activities "subversive." But as we've noted, in his 2003 autobiography, Neier writes that he had "little influence" on SDS and opposed its direction because he was "anti-Soviet and anti-Communist."
In sum, (a) Neier was not the founder of SDS, merely its re-namer; and, more important, (b) he parted company with it because, in his view, it had become insufficiently anti-Soviet and anti-Communist. ("I disapproved of SDS's leftism," he adds in "Taking Liberties.")
As we further stated, as of 1962, SDS opposed violence, as the group's Port Huron statement says. Hertzberg notes that the Port Huron statement reads: "As democrats we are in basic opposition to the communist system." He concludes:
Remember: This is the SDS that Neier broke with -- the naïve, romantic, painfully earnest SDS of "participatory democracy," whose slogan as late as the 1964 election was "Part of the way with LBJ." The SDS of "Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh! NLF is gonna win!" and "Long Live the Victory of the People's War!" and "Off the pig!" was still many years in the future. Neier was long gone by the time SDS went crazy, morphed into the Weather Underground, and started staging idiotic stunts like the Days of Rage (smashing store windows in the Chicago Loop) and committing acts of petty terrorism (such as setting off a homemade bomb in a Pentagon men's room).
Neier was the very opposite of what Beck says he was. But, given that Beck's basic thesis is that George Soros's heroic (and successful) efforts to undermine Communist dictatorships prove that he is trying to undermine American democracy, we should not be too surprised. The only question is whether Beck is a liar, an ignoramus, or a charlatan. I'm voting for all three.
Hertzberg previously criticized Beck for citing a New Yorker piece while trying to portray Soros as an anti-Semite.
According to Glenn Beck, George Soros is connected to pretty much everything that's bad in the universe, but today, Beck settled on trying to make the case that Soros is somehow behind WikiLeaks, the organization that recently posted secret government communications on its website. Beck claimed that Soros is using Wikileaks to "cause chaos" and bring down America using, as always, the nefarious "bottom-up, top-down, and inside out" technique of "George Soros operative" Van Jones.
Weaving a tale that began with organizations supporting accused leaker Pfc. Bradley Manning, Beck continued:
BECK: Then you have the Movement for a Democratic Society. Now what is the Movement for a Democratic Society? ... It's the adult counterpart of the Students for a Democratic Society. So it's like the Gray Panthers and the Black Panthers. The Gray Panthers are the old ones. Now, who's the guy who started SDS back in the 1960s? He's the guy who's now running the Open Society Institute for George Soros. Well, so, that's -- that's good.
WikiLeaks founders, when they started to talk about the need to raise $5 million, they said the only ones that had this kind of money that could do what they were looking to do was the CIA or George Soros. And they complained that the initial round of publicity had, quote, "affected our delicate negotiations with the Open Society Institute."
Now, I'm sure George Soros -- because he's come out and he has said he is so against this WikiLeaks thing. He is so against it. WikiLeaks advisory board member was the director of the China office of Human Rights Watch, which is Soros-funded. And the WikiLeaks editor -- you know he's hiding out in Great Britain -- he's represented by attorney Mark Stephens, which is weird, because Stephens also does pro bono work for the Open Society Institute. Isn't that weird, huh?
So let's see if I've got this straight: An organization that supports the accused WikiLeaks leaker is "the adult counterpart" to another organization, founded by a man who is now president of Soros' Open Society Foundation. While looking for funding, "WikiLeaks founders" allegedly mentioned the "CIA" and "George Soros" and the group was reportedly in "negotiations" with OSI. A "WikiLeaks advisory board member" used to work for "Soros-funded" Human Rights Watch and Julian Assange's legal council "does pro bono work" for OSI. Beck sure has a slam-dunk case there.
Fox News figures seized on Warren Buffett's comment that "people at the high end -- people like myself -- should be paying a lot more in taxes" to attack him and other millionaires who support ending the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. Fox has repeatedly defended the tax cuts for the wealthy and has accused Democrats of engaging in "class warfare" for wanting to return the top two income tax rates to 2000 levels.
Fox News contributor Sarah Palin, much like many of her Fox News colleagues recently, has decided to publicly advocate for racial profiling in response to the new airport screening procedures. In two November 19 posts on her Twitter page, Palin demanded that the Transportation Security Administration do just that, writing: "we profile individuals/suspects in other situations! profile away."
A few minutes later, she wrote:
Palin has long held the view that the government should use profiling in efforts to prevent terrorism.
Right-wing media have suggested that Justice Elena Kagan acted illegally by not recusing herself from a case challenging the constitutionality of a provision in the health care reform legislation due to her prior job as solicitor general. In fact, Kagan has said that she did not participate in litigation dealing with health care reform, nor did she comment on the ensuing law's constitutionality.
Before the midterm elections, Republicans indicated that if they gained control of the House, they would launch investigations into numerous "scandals" that have been pushed by Fox News over the past two years. Since the elections, Fox News figures have also called for these investigations. But the purported "controversies" have long been debunked.
In the past few months, Sean Hannity has cheered, defended, and hosted numerous Republican candidates on his Fox News show, effectively turning the nightly hour-long program into a GOP fundraising venue. It's no surprise that Republican senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell said she has Hannity "in my back pocket" or that Republicans reportedly go on his show to get a "certain kind of treatment."
When Glenn Beck announced his "40-Day Challenge" on his Fox News show, he pledged to "stop all lies for the next 40 days." Beck has also said that Fox would fire him if he made "inaccurate" claims. But Beck habitually relies on false and misleading statements -- Media Matters compiled 40 inaccurate claims Beck made on Fox during his 40-Day Challenge.