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Having previously floated August 22 as the possible date of Armageddon, CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck and MSNBC host Tucker Carlson admitted on the August 22 editions of their respective programs that the date had not, in fact, brought about the end of days. But the lack of apocalyptic events on August 22 didn't stop Beck from warning, "I have been throwing a lot of scarier scenarios your way lately, and some of them may or may not come to fruition. But if they do ... we are going to be experiencing the joys of vaporization."
On the August 9 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Beck had declared that August 22 "is the day that Israel might be wiped off the map, leading to all-out Armageddon," and "could be the day that agnostics get down on one knee and start to pray, 'Sweet Jesus, are you coming today?' " Responding to a viewer email critical of his coverage of the issue, Beck declared on the August 22 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck: "I wasn't predicting Armageddon today. ... We talked about the predictions of renowned Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis." Beck continued: "It is amazing to me to be called a nut job for quoting a scholar who thinks we might expect aggressive behavior from a man who wants to wipe Israel off the map. I know. Sounds crazy! But, hey, who has time to actually listen?"
The program began with an announcer stating that "[s]ome day, you'll tell your grandkids where you were when absolutely nothing happened." Nonetheless, later in the program, Beck featured a segment in which he stated: "I believe in the second coming of Christ. Is this it?" Beck maintained that he foresees a "world war of biblical proportions," and ended the program by eating a slice of "doomsday cake."
Similarly, on the August 10 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, Carlson had asked whether "Iran [is] preparing to unleash Armageddon in less than two weeks," adding that August 22 is "a significant date on the Islamic calendar" and "also a date terror experts have nervously circled as the date the Iranian government may launch a global jihad." Yet with no signs of the end of days by the recording of the August 22 edition of his MSNBC program, Carlson asked Andrew Grotto of the Center for American Progress: "August 22nd, today, had been some predictions and some public hand-wringing about the beginning of a war with Iran today. Is this date going to pass without one?"
On both his August 9 and August 22 broadcasts, Beck cited an August 8 op-ed by Princeton University professor Bernard Lewis, posted to The Wall Street Journal's website. Lewis wrote that August 22 "is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq" and claimed that, as a result, it "might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world." Lewis also asserted that "[i]t is far from certain that [Iranian President] Mr. [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind."
As Media Matters for America has noted, many conservative media figures have seen signs of the Apocalypse in the escalated conflicts in the Middle East.
From the August 9 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: Look, everybody is talking about politics today, and we will, too, later on in the program. But first, I want to talk about something much more important. August 22nd -- it is the day that Israel might be wiped off the map, leading to all-out Armageddon.
August 22nd could be the day that makes people who are the most skeptical about my World War III theory say, "Holy mother of God, what's happening?" August 22nd could be the day that agnostics get down on one knee and start to pray, "Sweet Jesus, are you coming today?"
What I'm about to tell you nobody else is going to tell you. Honestly, it gave me great pause today, because it's verging on the edge of insanity. It really is. With that being said, the source is so good there's no way I can't tell you this news.
Let me make this clear. This is not my theory, and I hope that it's wrong. Princeton University's Professor Bernard Lewis, this guy, look him up. He has been called the most influential post-war historian of Islam and the Middle East. He is suggesting that Iran's Islamic end-of-times prophecies could be fulfilled on August 22nd. This August 22nd, 13 days from now.
August 22nd is, in the Islamic calendar, the date that Saladin, a 12th-century Muslim warrior, entered and conquered Jerusalem. It is also the date when Mohammed flew up to the furthest mosque, a.k.a. Jerusalem, then to heaven and then back again.
So to Muslims, I guess, August 22nd is like Christmas and Thanksgiving and New Year's all rolled up into one. Here's where it gets truly frightening: My theory all along has been that Iran has caused the current chaos in the Middle East to divert attention away from their nuclear program and stall for time.
President Ahmadinejad has repeatedly stated that he wants to personally bring back the 12th imam by destroying Israel. That's Armageddon. He says that he would respond to the West's question about his country's nuclear program at the end of August.
That's the thing that bothered me a couple of months ago. Now he's insisting that he will respond on August 22nd. Again, I'm not saying that this is going to happen. I mean, a lot of dates come and go, and nobody's the wiser, but at a time when we are in the early stages of World War III.
From the August 22 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck:
ANNOUNCER: Tonight's episode of Glenn Beck is brought to you by August 22nd. Some day, you'll tell your grandkids where you were when absolutely nothing happened.
BECK: Let me just tell you that I have been throwing a lot of scarier scenarios your way lately, and some of them may or may not come to fruition. But if they do, we are in for just -- we are going to be experiencing the joys of vaporization.
BECK: As I mentioned earlier today, the world just might end, you know, but if you had the right attitude, you could make it fun. We produced a little jingle for the day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): It's the end of the world and we all know why. It's August 22nd and we're all gonna die. It's the end of the world and we all know why. It's August 22nd, and we're all gonna die. We're all gonna die. We're all gonna die. It's August 22nd, and we're all gonna die.
BECK: Yes. It's just me. Paris Hilton, if that song becomes a hit, it's appropriate it came out on August 22, man, because that is the end of the days.
BECK: Now, if you watch the show a lot, you probably know that -- you know, nobody is ever really going to accuse me of not talking enough about Iran or World War III or the massive fight we're undertaking against terror and extreme Islam. But even somebody like me -- I mean, somebody who gets up every morning and gets on that paranoia express to go to work can't quite go as far as our next guest is willing to go.
So before we get to him, let me give you a quick test to see how far down Apocalypse Avenue you're willing to -- you're willing to drive tonight. One, do you think Iran has nuclear ambitions? Do you believe that the U.N. [United Nations] won't aggressively stand up to them? And, three, do you believe that Iran and Russia will come together to invade Israel, resulting in a world war of biblical proportions, an eventual peace treaty, and the beginning of the seven-year tribulation period, and the eventual revoking of the peace treaty by a leader who turns out to be the Antichrist, and a campaign of Armageddon, and the second coming of Christ?
If you're still shaking your head "Yes," you are going to love Mark Hitchcock. He is the author of Iran: The Coming Crisis [Multnomah, June 2006], and the stage being set for the end times.
Mark, I've got to tell you, I believe in the second coming of Christ. Is this it? Do you think this is it?
HITCHCOCK: Well, no, I don't think that what we see happening right now is it. You know, this is the -- no one knows when the end is going to come. But my thesis is just that a lot of the things we see happening in the world today appear to be setting the stage for the end times. We don't know how long this stage-setting might take or what it might look like, but --
BECK: All right. So this is not it now?
HITCHCOCK: No, this is not it right now, no.
BECK: Do you think that the Antichrist is alive today?
HITCHCOCK: Well, no one knows for sure. You know, we can say this: If the end times are going to begin in the next 30 to 40 to 50 years, it's very possible that he is, because obviously he's going to have to be an adult when the end times would come.
BECK: So you think that he is possibly alive today?
HITCHCOCK: He possibly is, yes.
BECK: Well, I mean, I suppose I could point out for the 13,000th time that I wasn't predicting Armageddon today, even though I did order a cake. We talked about the predictions of renowned Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis. But even he didn't really predict the Apocalypse. He said, quote, "It's far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad planned any such cataclysmic events precisely for August 22nd, but it would be wise to bear in mind the possibility."
It is amazing to me to be called a nut job for quoting a scholar who thinks we might expect aggressive behavior from a man who wants to wipe Israel off the map. I know. Sounds crazy! But, hey, who has time to actually listen?
BECK: But I figure if I'm going to go out on -- you know, we're going burst into flames, you might as well go out eating cake. And I want you to know, I'm taking this war in the Middle East and this cake very seriously. I am.
But before we leave, I have a special idea for Armageddon, our Armageddon exit sign. Project it in the sky. This is when, when everything melts down, you'll at least know which direction to run in. There it is. I say we get one over the skies of every city in America.
From the August 10 edition of MSNBC's Tucker:
CARLSON: August 22nd: it is a significant date on the Islamic calendar and a day United States terrorism officials are watching very closely. Is Iran preparing to unleash Armageddon in less than two weeks? Some are taking that possibility seriously. We will discuss it when we come right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back. The foiled terror plot in England comes at a time when the world is already on edge about the possibility of a cataclysmic attack on the U.S. and Israel by Iran. August 22nd is a significant date on the Islamic calendar. It's also a date terror experts have nervously circled as the day the Iranian government may launch a global jihad.
Should we be worried? Ken Timmerman is an author of the book Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran [Crown Forum, 2005]. He is also contributor to NewsMax.com. He joins us now from Nice in the south of France. Ken Timmerman, welcome. Do you think the Bush administration is taking seriously the possibility that Iran will launch some sort of attack against us in -- later this month, August 22nd?
TIMMERMAN: Well, I think the Bush administration is very concerned that the Iranians may have a clandestine nuclear program, and that is the big problem.
I was in Israel earlier in June looking at this problem with Israeli officials, and then went back for NewsMax.com to look at the -- to follow the war there. The Israelis had made their calculation, their timetable of Iran's nuclear weapons effort based solely on what they have declared to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency]. They say that it will take Iran another three years. I have always contended and I think there are people in the Bush administration who've been looking at this as well who believe that Iran has a clandestine program, and we just don't know when they will have nuclear weapons capability. They could have it by August 22nd.
From the August 22 edition of MSNBC's Tucker:
CARLSON: Welcome to the show. Today was supposed to have been Armageddon, August 22nd. That's the day at least one Islamic scholar predicted would be the beginning of World War III, a war instigated by Iran in an effort to fulfill Shiite religious prophecy. It hasn't happened yet, though events may be moving toward conflict.
CARLSON: And finally, Andrew, August 22nd, today, had been some predictions and some public hand-wringing about the beginning of a war with Iran today. Is this date going to pass without one?
GROTTO: I think so. You know, I think -- there is a lot of hype about that date. Who knows what the Iranian leadership was thinking. It could be coincidence. We just don't know. The fact is that there is no war right now with Iran. Iran, you know, made an offer to the Europeans, obviously not to our liking, but, you know, the offer still shows at least some willingness to give the appearance, at least, of playing by the rules.