Glenn Beck recently lashed out at civil rights leaders who accused him of “hijacking” the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. Though Beck claims he isn't “hijacking” King's legacy in “any way, shape, or form,” he has repeatedly attempted to co-opt both King and the civil rights movement to promote his upcoming 8-28 rally and other political causes.
Beck has repeatedly invoked Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement to promote his upcoming 8-28 rally
Beck: 8-28 rally will “reclaim the civil rights movement.” On the May 26 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program, Beck asserted that his upcoming 8-28 rally -- which he described as an “iconic event” -- will “reclaim the civil rights movement,” which has been “so distorted.” Beck also said: “We are on the right side of history. We are on the side of individual freedoms and liberties and damn it, we will reclaim the civil rights moment. We will take that movement because we were the people that did it in the first place.”
Beck: At 8-28 rally, we will “pick up Martin Luther King's dream that has been distorted and lost.” On the June 15 edition of The Glenn Beck Program, while encouraging people to attend his upcoming rally, Beck said, “As we create history together, your children will be able to say, 'I remember. I was there.' As we -- as we pick up Martin Luther King's dream that has been distorted and lost, and we say 'we bought it when he first said it. It's time to restore and to finish it. Restoring honor: 8-28.”
Beck: It's “divine providence” that 8-28 rally is on anniversary of King's speech On the June 18 broadcast of The Glenn Beck Program, Beck promoted his rally and noted that the date falls on the “anniversary of the 'I Have a Dream' speech from Martin Luther King. And what an appropriate day.” Beck added, “At first we picked that date, we didn't know and I thought, 'oh jeez.' But now I think it was almost divine providence. I do. His dream has been so corrupted.”
Beck again labeled the date of the rally “divine providence,” and said, “Blacks don't own Martin Luther King.” On the June 28 edition of The Glenn Beck Program, Beck explained that his rally was originally going to be scheduled on 9-12, but he wasn't going to ask people to “work on the Sabbath,” so he rescheduled to August 28. Beck added: “I have to tell you something: I believe in divine providence. I believe there's a reason. Because whites don't own the founding fathers. Whites don't own Abraham Lincoln. Blacks don't own Martin Luther King.”
Beck again compares his “historic” 8-28 rally to King's “I Have a Dream” speech. On the August 9 broadcast of The Glenn Beck Program, Beck said of the rally: “The more we get into it, the more historic it feels. I've been thinking about this lately -- about what my children are going to remember -- this. I think my 5 year-old will remember this moment. This is going to be one of those things -- I talked to somebody who went to Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech when they were about five. And she says, 'I remember it,' and she said, 'I remember my parents and it made a statement to me about my parents all throughout the rest of the years. I knew where they stood.' ” Beck added: “This is going to be something that you'll never, ever experience any other time.”
Beck frequently invokes King and the civil rights movement
Beck invoked King to proclaim: “We are the inheritors and the protectors of the civil rights movement.” On the May 24 edition of The Glenn Beck Program, Beck aired audio of Rev. Al Sharpton's statement that King's “dream” was “not to put one black family in the White House. The dream was to make everything equal in everybody's house.” Beck responded: “That is not the dream. That is a perversion of the dream. We are the people of the civil rights movement. We are the ones that must stand for civil and equal rights. Equal rights. Justice. Equal justice. Not special justice, not social justice, but equal justice.” He added, “We are the inheritors and the protectors of the civil rights movement. They are perverting it.”
Beck: “Martin Luther King's dream is being massively perverted. ... It's time to set it right.” On the June 14 edition of The Glenn Beck Program, Beck said that “Martin Luther King's dream is being massively perverted.” Beck added, “It's time to set it right. One side has all the power. Enough power.”
Beck listed similarities between “our side” and King. On the April 22 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck, Beck purported to enumerate the similarities between “our side” and King, including “principles and values” and trusting “the American people.” Beck added that King knew that “once America saw somebody getting hosed down or dogs or whatever, America wouldn't stand for that. You know the same thing, that once your neighbors see the truth, the regular shlubs will reject the media's bogus claims. Once they see -- 'Wait, who are you with, what?' It's only a matter of time before this collapses.”
Beck: “I wouldn't be surprised if in our lifetime dogs and firehoses are released or opened on us.” While discussing the opposition to the “fundamental transformation of America” on the April 9 edition of The Glenn Beck Program, Beck said that “we must put ourselves on that path” of King, adding that he “wouldn't be surprised if in our lifetime dogs and firehoses are released or opened on us. I wouldn't be surprised if a few of us get a billy club to the head. I wouldn't be surprised if, you know, some of us go to jail, just like Martin Luther King did, on trumped up charges. Tough times are coming.”
Beck: While MLK “had to face German Shepherds, we have to face SEIU and leftist thugs.” Responding to a Media Matters item documenting Beck's violent rhetoric in the wake of the passage of health care reform, Beck claimed on the March 25 broadcast of The Glenn Beck Program that “while Martin Luther King had to face German Shepherds, we have to face SEIU and leftist thugs. That's okay, we will continue to stand. We will continue to march forward. We will not pick up a weapon because our greatest weapon will be God.” Beck also stated, “You may destroy me, but you will have to kill me to stop me from speaking out.”
Beck: Tea parties should be fighting the “same fight” as MLK. On the April 21 edition of Glenn Beck (accessed via Nexis), Beck advised the tea party that they are “missing the boat” and “misguided,” because they are too focused on taxes. Instead, Beck said the “tea party needs to focus” on “truth and justice” and “equal justice,” which he classified as “the same fight that Martin Luther King was fighting.”
Beck: King would support AZ law targeting ethnic studies classes. On the May 12 edition of The Glenn Beck Program, Beck said, “I would believe that Martin Luther King would be for” a law passed in Arizona banning classes “that are designed for pupils of a particular ethnic group, promote resentment or advocate ethnic solidarity over treating pupils as individuals.” He added, “It's the content of your character, not the color of your skin.”
Beck quoted King while claiming we are “being dragged back into the 1950s, 1850s” by “media diversity” efforts. On the August 26, 2009, edition of Glenn Beck, Beck discussed Mark Lloyd, Chief Diversity Officer at the Federal Communications Commission and “media diversity” efforts. Beck stated that he “believe[s] in the words of Martin Luther King: Judge someone by the content of their character.” Beck then asked, “Why we are being dragged back into the 1950s, 1850s, where we're looking at somebody's skin color?”
Civil rights leaders accuse Beck of “hijacking” King's legacy
Top U.S. civil rights leaders accuse Beck of “hijacking” Dr. King's legacy, plan 8-28 counter rally As Media Matters' Will Bunch reported, several top U.S. civil rights leaders accused Beck for “hijacking the imagery and symbolism of August 28 and the Lincoln Memorial to promote an agenda of intolerance,” in the words of Marc H. Morial of the National Urban League.
Sharpton: King's views are “exact antithesis” of what Beck's followers represent. On the July 1 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann aired Beck's “we will reclaim the civil rights moment” remarks and asked Rev. Al Sharpton to whom he thought Beck was referring when he said “we.” Sharpton called King's views the “exact antithesis” of Beck's movement. Sharpton also said of Beck and his followers:
SHARPTON: I think that they are absolutely, unequivocally -- I don't even have to get to the race side of this -- they are against the concept of what the march was about in '63, and for them to now talk about 'we're going to reclaim or we're going to take back a movement,' that they are the philosophical children of the Barry Goldwaters who opposed it.
SHARPTON: We knew all along that it is about bringing the country together. They're the ones that are saying no to government. 'Let's go back to states rights. Let the unemployed go uninsured. Let us pit people against immigrants.' We are the ones saying, let's bring the country together under some sound judgment. Come and affirm it at a rally of affirmation, not some joke that is saying they're reclaiming a moment that I don't think they understand.
Beck: “I am not hijacking” King's “legacy in any way, shape, or form” On the June 23 broadcast of The Glenn Beck Program, Beck responded to Media Matters' report highlighting civil rights leaders accusing Beck of “hijacking” King's legacy by claiming that he is “not hijacking his legacy in any way, shape, or form.” On 8-28, we plan to salute Dr. King and the civil rights movement."
Beck, Doocy now whitewashing Beck's comparisons between 8-28 rally and King
Doocy: The civil rights movement is “not what this rally is about ... it's not political.” On the August 24 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Sharpton noted that August 28 was “the day that the civil rights movement really arrested the attention of the world on what was going on in the country in terms of inequality.” After co-host Steve Doocy stated that the date of Beck's rally was coincidental, Sharpton said, "[W]hat we take issue with is when he says it has anything to do with Dr. King's speech that day, unless that is what they're going to talk about." Doocy replied, "[T]hat's not what this rally is about. It is described on his web site as a chance to honor or heroes, heritage and our future. You know, looking at the principles of integrity, truth and honor. It's not political."
Beck: “We're not doing for any other reason than -- it's about honor.” Later on Fox & Friends, Doocy said to Glenn Beck, “You coincidentally just picked [August 28] off a calendar because it was -- the mall was available.” After stating that he had originally chosen 9-12, Beck said:
BECK: We picked August 28th. It was open in my schedule, open in the park and we could get the entire mall because we didn't know exactly what we were going to do at the time, and I wanted to make sure that we had enough buffer because I knew exactly what would happen. When I announced it, the New York Times blogged immediately that this was MLK day and I immediately said, 'Oh my gosh.' I mean, I knew that that would be a date that a lot of people would immediately jump to and say, 'how dare Glenn Beck,' I knew the trouble that was coming. We're not doing it for any other reason other than it's about honor."
Beck: “We would have never made the connection to Martin Luther King if everybody else isn't making the connection.” After playing Sharpton's comments, Doocy said to Beck, “Glenn, there is no connection to Martin Luther King. Your rally, Restoring Honor rally is to restore the honor in America, to honor heroes, heritage and our future. There have been some people in the media or bloggers who tried to make some connection.” Beck replied, “We would have never made the connection to Martin Luther King if everybody else isn't making the connection to Martin Luther King.”