Is Glenn Beck smearing people just for the hell of it?

Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

Twelve hours ago, I knew nothing about Deepak Bhargava. I didn't know that he is executive director of the Center for Community Change. I didn't know that he worked for ACORN a number of years ago. I had no idea that he was getting his BA at Harvard undergrad at the same time President Obama was at Harvard Law. But now that I've listened to Glenn Beck's radio program yesterday and watched his television program yesterday afternoon, not only do I know Mr. Bhargava's name and these curious factoids about his personal life, I also know that he's a "radical," he's at the center of some inexplicable government conspiracy to engineer crises of financial and foreign policy, and we should all be "scared" of him.

Beck, as is his wont, didn't really explain how the heretofore unheralded Bhargava came to hold such influence. What Beck did say, however, was this: "I want to make it clear -- I don't have any evidence that he has any links to the White House. I am not bringing him up and saying, 'Look, he's making policy.' I just want you to listen to his words and compare them to the words of our president." OK, so no evidence of any connection to the White House or any policymaking of any kind, which doesn't really help to explain why Beck is attacking him. And just in case you thought Beck would actually explain why he thinks this man is important, he followed this all up with: "See if you can figure out why I think this man is important."

Ah, so it's our job to figure out why Beck is going after Bhargava. Apparently, it has something to do with a panel discussion hosted by The Nation in April that Bhargava spoke at, in which he praised the administration's anti-poverty measures but bemoaned Obama's "stealthy agenda" that doesn't "lead with questions of poverty or racial justice." OK, so Bhargava likes the administration's anti-poverty measures but wishes they were more about racial justice. Of course, that's just one man's opinion, and since Beck explained that Bhargava has no influence with the White House at all, we still hadn't figured out why Beck cared about him.

However, in spite of this lack of influence, Bhargava, according to Beck, is a key component of the "strategy" being employed by Obama, which involves creating "intentional" crises in order to "transform" the country. Beck explained all this -- well, perhaps "explained" is too generous a word -- he shouted lots of words about all this in one of his bizarre albeit entertaining chalkboard segments, all the while telling us that we are not going to "freak out."

But clearly he's bad, right? I mean, for Beck to call him a "radical" who wants to engineer crises and devote so much time to exploring who he is, he must be a pretty awful guy whose doing some serious damage to the country, right? Well, not really, it seems, as Beck led off his discussion of Bhargava with Breitbart crony Scott Baker by saying, "So, help me out on who this guy is. I'm not even claiming this is a bad guy, or anything. Who is he?"

At this point we didn't know what to think. Thankfully, Baker was there to do the thinking for us. "He's not a guy who works in the White House, but he's not just a guy either," Baker explained. "There are connections between Deepak Bhargava and his Center for Community Change and Barack Obama." Those connections are, apparently, that Bhargava worked for ACORN for a few years and was at Harvard with Obama at the same time. And they've appeared at a few labor events together. That's it. What matters most to Beck and Baker, apparently, is that Obama and Bhargava "use the same language." Words like "transform" and ... well, that's the only example Beck offered. But apparently that's enough in Glenn Beck's world to not only earn yourself an entire cable news segment devoted to you and you alone, but also a key role in the Obama-engineered conspiracy to create "intentional" crises.

And to round it all out, Baker declared, based solely on the fact that Bhargava is tangentially connected to Obama, that "people should be scared." Beck and Baker could offer no link between Bhargava and Obama other than the utterly trivial, and they acknowledged as much during the 20 minutes they spent defaming him on national television simply because he and the president have used similar-sounding language in the past.

The only thing more reprehensible than Glenn Beck dragging Deepak Bhargava through the mud was the fact that Beck admitted that he couldn't explain why he was doing it.

Glenn Beck
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