Bill Press: Glenn Beck's "words push an unstable man over the edge"


In an October 17 New York Daily News column headlined "The poison tongue of Glenn Beck: His words push an unstable man over the edge," Bill Press wrote that "words can trigger violence" and detailed the connection between Byron Willilams "shooting spree" in San Francisco and the rhetoric of "rabid right-wing ideologues." Williams, Press wrote, "gives special credit to Beck."

Media Matters' reported on how Glenn Beck and the right-wing media drove Byron Williams to plot the assassination of the leaders of the ACLU and the Tides Foundation.

In his column, Press wrote, "Glenn Beck doesn't understand what Glenn Beck is doing," and that "when Glenn Beck warns the Tides Foundation that 'I'm coming for you' before clarifying that he isn't 'making threats' - it's no surprise that an unhinged person might consider it his duty to take matters into his own hands."

Read the full column here:

Words can trigger violence - whether they come from extremist Muslim clerics or rabid right-wing ideologues. Media Matters for America proved as much this week by publishing an incendiary interview with Byron Williams, a Timothy McVeigh wanna-be, arrested by Oakland, Calif., police on July 18.

Pulled over for driving erratically on an Oakland freeway, Williams - armed with two handguns and a rifle - opened fire on police officers. After a 12-minute shootout, he was subdued, arrested and taken to the hospital, where he told police he was on his way to San Francisco to "start a revolution" by killing employees of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU. He later told that he planned to assassinate 11 leaders of the Tides Foundation - to compensate for 11 men killed in the explosion of the BP oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20.

Why the Tides Foundation? In an interview from Santa Rita jail, Williams laid out a bizarre theory: Financier George Soros invests $1 billion in the Brazilian oil company Petrobras; President Obama in turn sends $2 billion of taxpayer dollars for deep water oil exploration; together, they hire Halliburton to blow up the BP platform in order to get rid of competition for Petrobras and put pressure on Congress to pass cap and trade legislation. And they were doing it all, Williams asserted, with the help and support of the little-known Tides Foundation.

Little known, that is, except to followers of Glenn Beck, who has vilified Tides as a "shady organization" that funnels money to "some of the most extreme groups on the left." Beck, in fact, attacked Tides 29 times on his Fox News show in the 18 months leading up to Williams' shooting spree. Employing his trademark blackboard, Beck accused Soros of using Tides to "create mass organizations to seize power."

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