Insight glossed over Beck's smears in report on "Muslim lobby" letter to ABC

››› ››› KURT DONALDSON

In a January 29 article (subscription required), InsightMag.com reported that "Arab and Muslim groups have launched a campaign to block the hiring of [CNN Headline News host] Glenn Beck as a commentator on ABC's 'Good Morning America,' " because, in the words of InsightMag.com, the groups said "Mr. Beck engages in anti-Arab and anti-Muslim rhetoric and his hiring would incite hatred." However, the website glossed over the groups' first and second complaint and completely ignored the third. For example, InsightMag.com asserted that Beck "challenged" Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress. In fact, during an interview with Ellison on his CNN Headline News show, Beck said to Ellison: "[W]hat I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' "

In its article, InsightMag.com noted the letter two Arab-American groups and a Muslim-American group sent The Walt Disney Company and ABC News "urg[ing]" them to "reconsider your hiring of Glenn Beck." The groups wrote:

Several disturbing instances highlight Beck's blatant anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias:

  • On August 10 and September 5, 2006, Beck stated that Arab and Muslim Americans are apathetic to terrorism -- completely ignoring the positive contributions of the community, especially in regard to national security -- and warned that Muslims "who have sat on [their] hands the whole time" rather than "lining up to shoot the bad Muslims in the head" will face dire consequences. One of those consequences being that Muslims will be "looking through a razor wire fence at the West."
  • On November 14, 2006, Beck interviewed then Congressman-elect Keith Ellison and asked him to "prove to me that you are not working with our enemies" simply because of Ellison's religious affiliation.
  • On November 15, 2006, Beck said he was surprised by a letter written by an American criticizing Al Qaeda because "the man who wrote it is a Muslim."

In its article, InsightMag.com wrote: "Mr. Beck has angered the Muslim lobby during his tenure at CNN Headline News and as a talk radio host. The lobby said Mr. Beck has suggested that Arab- and Muslim-Americans are apathetic to terrorism and that if they do not take action they will be 'looking through a razor wire fence at the West.' "

InsightMag.com continued: "Mr. Beck has criticized the Muslim lobby for failing to support the post-9/11 national security agenda. In broadcasts in August and September 2006, he warned that this would harm Muslim emigration to the United States. In November, Mr. Beck challenged the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat."

The website glossed over the first example from the groups' letter, which cited comments Beck made on August 10, 2006, and September 5, 2006. During the August 10, 2006, edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Beck declared, "All you Muslims who have sat on your frickin' hands the whole time" rather than saying that "[w]e need to be ... lining up to shoot the bad Muslims in the head" will face dire consequences. During the September 5, 2006, edition of his CNN Headline News program, as the letter noted, Beck stated that if "Muslims and Arabs" don't "act now" by "step[ping] to the plate" to condemn terrorism, they "will be looking through a razor wire fence at the West."

Regarding Ellison, InsightMag.com noted only that, "[i]n November [2006], Mr. Beck challenged the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat." The website did not report Beck's actual comment to Ellison, which Beck later stated was "poorly worded" and "wish[ed]" he "could take back and rephrase."

Further, InsightMag.com did not mention, at all, Beck's comments from his November 15, 2006, CNN Headline News show, during which, as the letter noted, Beck said "he was surprised by a letter written by an American criticizing Al Qaeda because 'the man who wrote it is a Muslim.' "

As Media Matters has documented, Beck has a long history of smearing Arabs and Muslims on both his syndicated radio show and his television show, CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck.

On January 17, InsightMag.com published an article claiming that "researchers connected to" Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) disclosed that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) "spent at least four years in a so-called Madrassa, or Muslim seminary, in Indonesia." The article cited only anonymous sources, as Media Matters documented.

From the January 29 InsightMag.com article:

The Saudi-funded Muslim lobby has found a new target: a conservative broadcaster that warns of terrorist plots against the United States.

Arab and Muslim groups have launched a campaign to block the hiring of Glenn Beck as a commentator on ABC's "Good Morning America." The Arab American Institute, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and Muslim Public Affairs Council, said Mr. Beck engages in anti-Arab and anti-Muslim rhetoric and his hiring would incite hatred. ABC, which responded rapidly, has offered to work with the groups in dealing with Mr. Beck.

"ABC News has initially responded to our letter, which is promising, but we need your help in order to encourage positive action on the part of ABC regarding this matter," the Arab American Institute said in an alert to supporters last week.

Mr. Beck has angered the Muslim lobby during his tenure at CNN Headline News and as a talk radio host. The lobby said Mr. Beck has suggested that Arab- and Muslim-Americans are apathetic to terrorism and that if they do not take action they will be "looking through a razor wire fence at the West."

"State that by giving Beck such a prominent platform to spread dishonest and hurtful statements, ABC is perpetuating fear of Arab and Muslim communities and is inciting hatred toward Arab and Muslim Americans," the alert said.

Supporters were asked to identify themselves as viewers of "Good Morning America" and warn that the inclusion of Mr. Beck would jeopardize the program's integrity. The lobby has relayed similar concerns to ABC's senior executives.

Mr. Beck has criticized the Muslim lobby for failing to support the post-9/11 national security agenda. In broadcasts in August and September 2006, he warned that this would harm Muslim emigration to the United States. In November, Mr. Beck challenged the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat.

In a Jan. 18 letter, ABC President David Westin appeared to rule out any reversal of his decision to hire Mr. Beck. But he said "Good Morning America" senior executive producer Jim Murphy would be in touch with the organizers to discuss how ABC would respond to any statements by Mr. Beck that would anger the Muslim lobbyists.

"I am aware of Mr. Beck's commentary on other outlets," Mr. Westin said. "I cannot say that I agree with some of what he has said. But that in itself is not grounds for our refusing to have him on our broadcast. There is a place of honest opinion openly discussed."

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Religion
Network/Outlet
Insight
Stories/Interests
Religion
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