On January 9, the Associated Press reported ABC News' announcement that conservative talk show host Glenn Beck will soon join Good Morning America as a “regular commentator.” “Glenn is a leading cultural commentator with a distinct voice,” GMA senior executive producer Jim Murphy told the AP. “At times, he is the perfect guest for many of the talk topics we cover on morning news programs.” But as Media Matters for America has extensively documented, what often distinguishes Beck's “voice” are his inflammatory and controversial comments regarding Muslims, Arabs, Mexicans, and other minorities. For instance, during a November 14, 2006, interview with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who recently became the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, Beck said: “I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' ”
Beck first appeared on the November 28, 2006, broadcast of Good Morning America to discuss Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Turkey that month. As Media Matters noted, during the interview with co-host Diane Sawyer, Beck repeated several comments he has made before, such as: “I believe that it is important for all of us to look evil in the eye and crush it” ; and “I believe there is a cancer that is radicalized Islam, and it must be cut out or it's going to kill all of us.”
A few weeks later, on December 15, Beck again appeared on Good Morning America to discuss the so-called War on Christmas and how to greet people during the holiday season. During a roundtable discussion with Sawyer and co-host Robin Roberts, Beck declared that “it's time for everybody just to relax and take a chill pill” because “Christmas is really about ... the death of” Jesus, “redemption ... and having a second bite at the apple.” Beck then asked, "[W]ho's offended by that?"
Beyond the question he posed to Ellison in November, Beck has a long history of making inflammatory statements regarding Arabs and Muslims on both his syndicated radio show and CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck -- a matter that the Good Morning America hosts have failed to address during his two previous appearances. Following are several examples:
- He has declared that “Muslims who have sat on your frickin' hands the whole time” rather than “lining up to shoot the bad Muslims in the head” will face dire consequences.
- Beck warned 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.”
- He described as “surprising” a letter criticizing Al Qaeda in Iraq because “the man who wrote it” -- Islamic Society of Nevada director Aslam Abdullah - “is a Muslim.”
- Beck mocked Islam by “mark[ing] the death” of Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi with a “Zarqawi bacon cake.”
- He said that "[t]he Middle East is being overrun by 10th-century barbarians" and "[i]f they take over ... we're going to have to nuke the whole place."
- Beck aired a segment mocking the names of several missing Egyptian students in which the announcer said that one “may or may not be accompanied by his camel.” The segment showed pictures of crowds and pointed to random, unidentifiable people as the missing Egyptians. It ended with a reading of the students' names in quick succession followed by the announcer pretending to gag as he struggled to pronounce them.
Beck has not reserved his vitriol for Arabs and Muslims alone, however:
- Beck claimed that there are three reasons that an illegal immigrant “comes across the border in the middle of the night” : “One, they're terrorists; two, they're escaping the law; or three, they're hungry. They can't make a living in their own dirtbag country.”
- Beck referred to “those who were left in New Orleans [during Hurricane Katrina], or who decided to stay” as “scumbags.”
- Beck called antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan “a pretty big prostitute.” He later described her as a “tragedy pimp.”
- During a discussion of the “politically correct world we live in,” claimed that Braille on walls (used to identify rooms for blind people) “drives me out of my mind.” He then said, “Just to piss them [blind people] off, I'm going to put in Braille on the coffee pot ... 'Pot is hot.' ”
- Discussing an illegal immigrant who had been accused of killing a police officer in Houston, Beck asked: “Are you kidding me? We're taking rapists out of your country, and you've got a problem with that, and you're shipping killers to us? Please.”
- After airing a clip from the documentary film An Inconvenient Truth in which former Vice President Al Gore states that global warming could cause many highly populated coastal areas to be submerged by seawater -- including the entire city of Shanghai -- Beck responded: “This is what would happen to Shanghai. Does anybody really care? I mean, come on. Shanghai is under water. Oh, no! Who's gonna make those little umbrellas for those tropical drinks?”