Beck uses blatant distortions to smear SEIU as violent organization of "thugs"

››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN & JOCELYN FONG

During the November 16 edition of his Fox News program, Glenn Beck repeatedly launched false, misleading, or unfounded attacks against the Service Employees International Union, its president Andy Stern, and President Obama to claim that SEIU members are "thugs" who "beat down" opponents and command elected officials.

Beck falsely attributes quote to Rep. Michaud to suggest he was "bribe[d]" or "scare[d]" by Obama and SEIU

After claiming Michaud said "personal coaxing" from Obama secured his vote for health care, Beck suggests Michaud was bribed or bullied by SEIU. From the November 16 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Michael Michaud -- he's from Maine -- he was won over with -- what did he say it was? -- "personal coaxing" from the president. Could I show the purple shirt people again? Personal coaxing. I believe my grandfather would have called it bribes or scare tactics. You see, these people don't care about what their constituents want. Do you remember the polls? We don't want this. We're consistent on it. They're on the take. And guess who they're taking from? You. And the biggest winner in the health care sweepstakes, here it is, the unions. SEIU.

After stating, "Could I show the purple shirt people again?" Beck showed two men wearing SEIU shirts:

In fact, the words "personal coaxing" came from Wall Street Journal writers, not Michaud, and the Journal article did not mention SEIU. In a November 9 article, Journal writers Jonathan Weisman and Naftali Bendavid wrote that "it was personal coaxing from President Barack Obama" that secured Michaud's vote for health care reform. The article quoted Michaud's statement that "I am pleased that [Obama] understood my concerns as they relate to Maine and pledged to work with me to address them." From the November 9 Journal article:

For Rep. Dennis Cardoza, it was an assurance from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the drought afflicting California's Central Valley would get high-level attention. For Rep. Michael Michaud, a liberal from Maine, it was personal coaxing from President Barack Obama Saturday morning. For Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, the lone Republican vote, it was multiple conversations with Obama administration officials, topped with new promises of support for his Katrina-ravaged New Orleans.

And for a large bloc of Democrats, a last-minute deal between the speaker and the Roman Catholic Church on abortion made the difference and secured passage of legislation offering near-universal health insurance.

The 220-215 vote late Saturday gave Mr. Obama and the Democrats virtually no margin to spare. Special House election victories in upstate New York and California secured two votes Tuesday, the cushion Democrats ultimately needed four days later, one top aide said.

[...]

On Saturday, at a closed-door meeting of Democratic House members, Mr. Obama pulled aside Mr. Michaud to hear his concern that Maine would take an outsize hit from Medicare and Medicaid cuts in the bill. In a statement, Mr. Michaud said, "I am pleased that he understood my concerns as they relate to Maine and pledged to work with me to address them."

Beck falsely claims that while Obama talks to Stern about health care, "he won't talk to you at a ... town hall meeting"

From the November 16 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Andy Stern, the president of SEIU, a union of 2.2 million people, leads the White House visitors list. Twenty-two visits. He's been to the White House more than anybody else. So what is it the president and Andy Stern talk about together?

OBAMA [video clip]: Before debating health care, I talked to Andy Stern and SEIU members.

BECK: They won't talk to you at a, you know, town hall meeting. But he'll talk to Andy Stern. Not your concerns. No, no, no. Andy Stern.

In fact, Obama has taken questions on health care reform from people at numerous town hall meetings. Obama has taken critical questions from the public on health care reform at health care town halls across the country, including in Annandale, Virginia, Shaker Heights, Ohio, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Belgrade, Montana, Grand Junction, Colorado, and at the White House.

Beck falsely smears SEIU's Stern as a communist because he said "workers of the world, unite"

From the November 16 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: So we know the president has a lot in common, apparently, with Andy Stern and his goals. But do you? Let's refresh. What are the goals of Andy Stern and SEIU?

STERN [video clip]: Workers of the world, unite, it's not just a slogan anymore. It's the way we're going to have to do our work.

BECK: "Workers of the world, unite." That's a really dicey kind of phrase there. You might have heard that before, because it's the old communist slogan. "Workers of the world, unite." Good thing there hasn't been a recent rash of communist radicals running around the White House, right? I mean, because then I'd really be concerned. Let's, for a moment, give old Andy Stern the benefit of the doubt that he just went to the Anita Dunn school of comedy over and over and over again.

In fact, while discussing use of "workers of the world, unite" slogan, Stern said "the good news is, Communism is dead." During the May 14, 2006, edition of CBS' 60 Minutes, reporter Lesley Stahl said to Stern: "You like to say, 'Workers of the world unite.' Which sounds, it is Karl Marx. But that's your, that's your kind of slogan now." Stern replied: "Well the good news is Communism is dead," adding, "[b]ut the truth is the phrase means a lot because all of a sudden workers in London and workers in the United States are working for the same employer and the same owners."

Beck suggestion of cover-up in alleged assault is entirely without evidence

From the November 16 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: You see, right now the only thing these people want is to get re-elected, and they're afraid. But they have more fear in the big purple monster than faith in we the people. You speak without fear, tell them no means no. But look out, be warned, if you do, the big purple SEIU monster doesn't like no and isn't used to taking no for an answer. Next, the SEIU beatdowns that you need to see.

[...]

BECK: Those special interests are thugs. They are not used to taking no for an answer. Let me tell you about this guy. His name is Kenneth Gladney. When Kenneth heard about the opportunity to have his voice be heard at a town hall on health care -- it was hosted by a Missouri Democrat -- he jumped at the chance to go. But once there, he started to hand out these Don't Tread On Me flags. That's when it happened. He was attacked and beaten by several thugs from SEIU, the union that the president knows quite well.

STERN [video clip]: We're trying to use the power of persuasion. And if that doesn't work, we're going to use the persuasion of power.

BECK: Gladney was an African-American, and he was not only physically beaten, he was also called the N-word. You would think that the president wouldn't rest until justice came swiftly to those SEIU thugs. Yet, here we are over 90 days later and there are no charges here -- none. Now, here is one of the guys who beat him, and he has an SEIU attorney, which is strange. Mr. President, may I ask this question? Have the prosecutors or is it just the police that have acted stupidly in this case? Or perhaps -- I mean, you agree with SEIU so many -- on so many things, maybe you feel that justice was served that day.

[...]

BECK: OK. This guy was -- well, this guy was beaten. He was called the N-word. I mean, I can't think of a case that President Obama -- if he actually meant what he said and said what he meant -- I can't think of a case that would be more important to an African-American president than defending this man's right to speak. But nobody is involved.

Now, we understand that it's Pat Reddington that is supposed to be the one filing the charges here. Bill McCullough kind of passed it off to her. Can you kind of tell me what is going on here?

LOUDON: Sure. In the jurisdictions, you basically have the elected county prosecutor, Robert McCullough, who has ultimate jurisdiction. If he thinks this is a hate crime, if he doesn't like this gang violence, which it was, or stifling political free speech, he can call the press conference, file charges, and take it over.

He doesn't apparently think it rises to that level, so he's laying it -- leaving it in Patricia Reddington's court. Now, Patricia Reddington is a Democrat-appointed county counselor. She serves at the pleasure of the Democrat county executive, Charlie Dooley.

Between Dooley and Reddington, they've got to figure out what they're going to do with this thing because we're tired of having these things swept under the rug. And we're glad to have somebody like you and Andrew Breitbart and Big Government -- these folks coming and exposing these things to the light of day.

BECK: I have to tell you, it is so clear to any thinking American what's going on here. It's clear. And we're not going to let this story fall off to the wayside. We want answers.

Beck provided no evidence of a cover-up, and reports have noted that the video of the incident is "inconclusive." Beck stated that "here we are over 90 days later and there are no charges here -- none" in the incident and claimed that maybe Obama "feel[s] that justice was served that day." He hosted former state Sen. John Loudon, who noted that Patricia Reddington "is a Democrat-appointed county counselor. She serves at the pleasure of the Democrat county executive, Charlie Dooley." However, Beck did not provide evidence of a cover-up or any improper action by authorities. Moreover, The Wichita Eagle reported that the video Beck showed as evidence of the alleged assault on Gladney "show[s] a scuffle but is inconclusive as to what exactly happened." Kansas City Star editorial page columnist Barb Shelly has also noted that the "[v]ideo seems inconclusive as to who initiated the melee."

Beck falsely suggests Stern's "persuasion of power" quote is a threat of violence and somehow related to alleged attack on Gladney

From the November 16 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Those special interests are thugs. They are not used to taking no for an answer. Let me tell you about this guy. His name is Kenneth Gladney. When Kenneth heard about the opportunity to have his voice be heard at a town hall on health care -- it was hosted by a Missouri Democrat -- he jumped at the chance to go. But once there, he started to hand out these Don't Tread On Me flags. That's when it happened. He was attacked and beaten by several thugs from SEIU, the union that the president knows quite well.

STERN [video clip]: We're trying to use the power of persuasion. And if that doesn't work, we're going to use the persuasion of power.

In fact, Stern was talking about "power" to "change laws" and "strike," not physical force. When asked by PBS' Bill Moyers, "What kind of leverage do[es] [SEIU] have against these huge private equity firms?" Stern stated, in part, "We're trying to use the power of persuasion. And if that doesn't work we're going to use the persuasion of power. Because there are governments and there are opportunities to change laws that affect these companies. I'm not naïve. We're ready to strike. We're ready to talk." Stern later added, "You know, we are trying to talk to people. But when people don't want to talk, you know, we are going to have the power of people to try to get their attention and use moral suasion and economic power and political power to try to change their behavior."

Beck claims "SEIU" left "TV reporter in California" "bloodied and in the hospital" and suggests Stern is connected to incident

From the November 16 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

OBAMA [video clip]: I have spent my entire adult life working with SEIU. I'm not a newcomer to this.

BECK: No, he's not. It seems like this is what SEIU does. It's what they did to a TV reporter in California earlier this month. They left him bloodied and in the hospital. Even --

STERN [video clip]: We took names. We watched how they voted. We know where they live.

Police reportedly "not sure who's to blame" for altercation. In a November 6 news report, California's KCRA Channel 3 News reporters stated that "Sacramento police still aren't sure who's to blame for the bloody and chaotic end to a union meeting in downtown Sacramento" and that "what we still don't know is the big question: who attacked whom?" While Ken Hamidi, a cable access host -- not a "reporter," claims that "union thugs ... brutally beat me up" as part of a "conspiracy" organized by SEIU Local 100 leaders Yvonne Walker and Jim Hard, Walker has reportedly stated that Hamidi "again attempted to disrupt a meeting" and "[w]hen he was asked to leave, he responded by physically and verbally assaulting several staff members -- causing injury to one individual."

Hamidi has been removed from previous SEIU meetings by police. According to a November 6 article on the incident by KCRA, "Hamidi is an outspoken critic of the union. He hosts a cable access show that regularly criticizes leaders of SEIU. Hamidi admits that police have escorted him out of previous union meetings."

Beck disingenuously attempts to link 2007 quote from Stern to November 2009 incident. Despite Beck's suggestion, even Hamidi has not alleged that Stern was responsible for his alleged assault, instead accusing local officials of giving the "direct command" to attack him. The Stern quote Beck contrasted with his claim that SEIU left a TV reporter "bloodied" -- in which Stern said, "We took names. We watched how they voted. We know where they live" -- is from a February 2007 WBEZ story in reference to a "Big Box Ordinance," according to a November 2 Naked Emperor News video that includes several of the Stern quotes that Beck highlights.

While discussing alleged SEIU beating, Beck says "even the Boy Scouts aren't safe from SEIU's thuggery"

From the November 16 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Even the Boy Scouts aren't safe from SEIU's thuggery. In Allentown, a 17-year-old Eagle Scout worked 200 hours to clear a walking path at a park. This is a Boy Scout. This apparently is a no-no in Allentown, because the park is managed by SEIU.

An SEIU spokesman said, "We're looking into the Boy Scout or the Cub Scout who did the trails."

This is who is getting priority in America. These are the people, the beatdowns.

But the Boy Scout story has nothing to do with violence and was about the union's concern about layoffs. The Morning Call reported that local SEIU president Nick Balzano was "considering filing a grievance against the city [Allentown] for allowing" the Eagle Scout "to clear a 1,000-foot walking and biking path at Kimmets Lock Park." The article further noted that Balzano "said Saturday he isn't targeting Boy Scouts. But given the city's decision in July to lay off 39 SEIU members, Balzano said 'there's to be no volunteers.' No one except union members may pick up a hoe or shovel, plant a flower or clear a walking path. ... Balzano said Saturday the union is still looking into the matter and might cut the city a break. 'We are probably going to let this one go,' Balzano said."

Posted In
Economy, Labor Unions
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Glenn Beck
Show/Publication
Glenn Beck show
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