Facts ruin Glenn Beck's voter intimidation comparisons

Facts ruin Glenn Beck's voter intimidation comparisons

Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

On Glenn Beck's show today we were treated to more revisionist history (also, the sky is blue). This time, Beck attempted to equate the New Black Panther case with previous incidents of voter intimidation by the Ku Klux Klan. Beck also conveniently failed to mention that the conservative noise around the case is pretty dishonest.

The most glaring problem with this Beck comparison is that not a single person has come forward to say they were actually intimidated by the New Black Panthers at this polling place. Nobody. That's actually one of the reasons the Department Of Justice obtained an injunction against the man seen wielding a nightstick, but dropped charges against other parties in the case.

Beck compared this action to the Klan. The problem is the Ku Klux Klan has a very long and bloody history in America of not only intimidating voters, but doing so through violence:

  • Klansman Edgar Ray Killen was convicted of orchestrating the 1964 murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, who were attempting to register black voters in Mississippi
  • The Klan assassinated Rep. James M. Hinds in 1868, along with other Republican officeholders in the reconstruction-era south
  • In 1868 the Klan engaged in a campaign that killed, wounded or otherwise injured over 2000 people in Louisiana in the weeks prior to the presidential election in what was described as a campaign of "constant terror." Numerous parishes saw vote totals plunge for the Republican ticket in the presidential election as terrified black voters stayed home. For example: in St. Landry, Republicans went from carrying the parish by 678 votes to receiving no votes at all. Congress passed the Force Act of 1870 as a direct reaction to the Klan's actions.

Added to that is the history of the Klan engaging in all sorts of racial violence not directly connected to voting and voting rights. So, on one hand an incident with no complaints of intimidation, on the other hand an organization that has plagued Americans trying to exercise their constitutional right to a vote. In the mind of Glenn Beck, these are one and the same. By bending facts to fit a narrative, Beck insults those who have actually suffered from racial discrimination and violent intimidation.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.