In a piece set to be published in this Sunday's edition of The Washington Post, Dana Milbank goes through Glenn Beck's outrageous history of linking President Obama and progressives to Nazis as part of his fringe conspiracy theories. Milbank writes:
Telling the nation that Obama is leading the country into Nazism is outrageous -- and that's exactly why Beck has been so successful. He averages more than 2 million nightly viewers on his Fox show, brings in $32 million in annual revenue from his various ventures, according to Forbes magazine, and is an unofficial leader of the tea party and its mass anti-government rallies.
Beck has achieved this in part because he is willing to do what other leading right-wing talkers are not: "to give a platform to the conspiracy theorists and anti-government extremists," as the Anti-Defamation League puts it. His fellow Fox News host Bill O'Reilly once said Beck succeeds because he is willing to "take it five steps further than I do."
At the heart of Beck's technique of amplifying fringe theories is his obsession with Nazism. For much of the past 70 years, there has been an unwritten rule in U.S. political debate: Avoid Hitler accusations. Once you liken your opponent to the Nazis, any form of rational discussion becomes impossible. But Beck, it seems, has a Nazi fetish. In his first 18 months on Fox News, from early 2009 through the middle of this year, he and his guests invoked Hitler 147 times. Nazis, an additional 202 times. Fascism or fascists, 193 times. The Holocaust got 76 mentions, and Joseph Goebbels got 24 mentions.
Milbank details several of the bizarre comparisons Beck has made between Nazis and Obama and progressives, including:
- Beck's comparison of health-care reform plans to "Mein Kampf";
- Beck's comparison of car dealership closures under the GM and Chrysler bankruptcy deal to the Nazism;
- Beck's statement that Al Gore is using "the same tactic" to fight global warming that Adolf Hitler used to vilify Jews'
- Beck's assertion that Obama's plan for a "civilian national security force" that would expand the foreign service, AmeriCorps, and the Peace Corps is "what Hitler did with the SS."
Milbank's entire piece on Beck is definitely worth a read.