Beck builds a show around bizarre rhetoric supported by falsehoods

Glenn Beck was in rare form tonight, even for Glenn Beck.

On most nights, you can expect false claims and extremist rants from Beck, but tonight, he uncorked some doozies -- many of them regarding the recently enacted financial regulatory reform law.

Beck got things started by declaring that the law amounted to “Big Brother,” and he called it “the biggest re-routing of the nation's wealth in our history” and “an unprecedented assault on our economy, our ability to do business, and quite honestly the republic as we know it.”

He became even more unhinged later, ranting that the new law is too complicated. He then yelled: “What is wrong with us, America? Why are people not in the streets? Your republic is over.” Next, he asserted that “the America we grew up in is over” and warned that “this Sherrod thing is all about” a government plot to “take over the media.”

Beck bumped up the bizarre factor even more a few minutes later, stating that his Fox News program is “the show of record,” and went off on the “dangerous and scary time” in which we live. Warning viewers about the “plan” that “people in and around this White House” have, Beck went biblical: “This isn't the new New Deal, this is an old, old deal -- maybe since the beginning of man. I believe a third of the angels fell from heaven over this plan.” He went on to paraphrase Psalm 23:4, the one about walking through the “valley of the shadow of death.”

What evidence did Beck base his absurd rants on? His usual steady stream of falsehoods and distortions.

Beck blamed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae for the financial crisis and stated that Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Christopher Dodd “were right in there -- real important -- right there with the collapse at every level in the first place.” In fact, the myths that Dodd and Frank and Fannie and Freddie were responsible for the crisis have repeatedly been debunked.

Beck went on to claim that the financial reform law would create a “massive government bureaucracy with the power to watch your bank account and track every credit card account.” In fact, the Office of Financial Research would simply collect and analyze data about potential risks to the financial system, a plan that's been endorsed by numerous economics and finance experts, including six Nobel laureates in economics.

Later, Beck asserted that the law would “create a protected class of arbitrarily selected companies that are too big to fail” and that it would lead to the “institutionalizing of bailouts.” In fact, the “orderly liquidation fund,” which would be paid for by financial institutions, would be used to dismantle failing firms -- not bail them out or give them some kind of “protected” status. In an analysis of Republican claims that the legislation establishes a $50 billion fund for future bailouts, PolitiFact called the claim “false,” stating: “The legislative language is pretty clear that the money must be used to dissolve -- meaning completely shut down -- failing firms.” PolitiFact further stated: “The fund cannot be used to keep faltering institutions alive.”

Near the end of the show, Beck purported to look at the “facts” about Andrew Breitbart's deceptively edited video of Shirley Sherrod. Beck claimed that “the first Fox report” about the video, in which Breitbart accused Sherrod of “racism,” came after Sherrod had already resigned, but in fact, posted an article about the video, and the Fox Nation website linked to the video well before Sherrod's resignation. Beck further suggested that he had defended Sherrod, claiming that he “took her side,” but his defense included labeling her a "Maoist" on his Fox News show and stating on his radio show that she had “discriminat[ed] against white farmers” and that her remarks on the video indicated that America has “transported into 1956 except it's the other way around.”