Glenn Beck's sua culpa

Last summer, Glenn Beck pushed racism into the national discourse by calling President Obama a “racist” with “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” Since that time, he has lost more than 100 advertisers on his Fox News show. Today, Beck gave himself a little pat on the back for predicting in January that “racism” would again come into the national discussion, a prediction that has as much credibility as a member of the 1919 White Sox “predicting” that the Reds would win the World Series.

Before asking viewers to “pray” for his 8-28 rally and for the country, Beck reminded his followers, “You happen to watch this program because you respect me,” adding, “I ask for your faith one more time.” Lest they have reason to doubt him, Beck reminded them, “I told you in January that racism was going to be the main thrust of the election.” While it remains to be seen whether racism will become “the main thrust of the election,” it certainly has been thrust back into the national spotlight -- by none other than Glenn Beck and others in the conservative noise chamber who are desperate to convince Americans that Barack Obama and his administration have, well, a deep-seated hatred for white people.

Indeed, throughout the summer, Beck has treated race-baiting as his own campfire, using his media platforms to fan the flames by:

  • misrepresenting comments Obama made during a 1995 interview to claim Obama used “code language” that “sounds like racism,” “stereotyping,” and “profiling” ;
  • airing truncated comments of USDA employee Shirley Sherrod speaking to the NAACP and asking, “Have we suddenly transported into 1956, except it's the other way around? ... Does anybody else have a sense that there are some that just want revenge? Doesn't it feel that way?” ;
  • claiming that “radical revolutionaries” and the New Black Panthers “have ties to the White House in a myriad of ways” and that Attorney General “Eric Holder is opening the floodgates, giving them permission to do what they want to do -- he'll look the other way, except on things that they think need fundamental transformation” ;
  • claiming that “our government is going to stand by and let” the left start “a race war” ;
  • saying that the New Black Panther Party is part of Obama's “army of thugs,” and suggesting that Obama is sympathetic to the New Black Panthers' hate speech;
  • claiming that the New Black Panther Party represented “the kinds of people that our president aligns himself with” ;
  • and promoting the 1936 book The Red Network, written by Elizabeth Dilling, in which Dilling wrote that “un-Christianized” “colored people” are “savages,” and that “American Negroes have acquired professions, property, banks, homes, and produced a rising class of refined, home loving people” thanks to the “American government and the inspiration of Christianity.”

Beck, it would appear, put out his own plot spoiler and called it a prediction.