Despite pattern of inflammatory comments, Beck to guest host for CNN's Zahn

On June 26,'s TVNewser weblog reported that CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck will fill in for Paula Zahn all next week on CNN's Paula Zahn Now beginning on July 2. TVNewser noted that Beck will also continue hosting his own show on CNN Headline News, which airs at 7 and 9 p.m. ET, meaning that for three consecutive hours, a CNN network will be broadcasting Beck. During the June 26 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Beck said that CNN will “allow me to design [Paula Zahn Now] on what I wanted to talk about,” adding, “I have decided to do a theme all next week on both television shows of 'We the people declare our independence.' ” Beck also said, “I thought it was a good place and a good time to bring my theory to CNN that America is changing, that we are not Republicans and Democrats.”

Since his Headline News show debuted on May 8, 2006, Media Matters for America has extensively documented the inflammatory comments Beck has made. Beck has frequently aimed his vitriol toward Democratic politicians:

  • On the June 21 broadcast of his radio show, while discussing an alleged Al Qaeda/Taliban training camp “graduation ceremony” shown on a tape obtained by, Beck said: “I was surprised, because I really thought speaking at a suicide bomber graduation ceremony, I would just -- I -- maybe Jimmy Carter was booked and that's why he didn't speak at the commencement ceremony.” As Media Matters documented, Beck has also referred to former President Jimmy Carter as a “waste of skin” and contrasted him with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, who, Beck said, was not a “bigger waste of skin” because "[a]t least evil is using that skin."
  • During the June 20 edition of his CNN Headline News show, Beck hosted Michael Graham, a conservative radio talk show host, who said that, while watching a spoof of a scene from the series finale of HBO's The Sopranos filmed by former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), he wanted to see someone “whack” the Clintons. Beck, while smiling, said he “did not want to see that.” Two days later, CNN Headline News re-aired the program. Beck, himself, has referred to Clinton as "the stereotypical bitch."
  • On the June 4 broadcast of his radio show, Beck said of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and his wife, Elizabeth Harper Kucinich: “How did that happen? ... You think it's dope?” Beck went on to speculate whether she was under the influence of “some sort of ... date rape drug.” Beck described the drug he had in mind as “not powerful enough to actually knock you out, but it's powerful enough to, like, make you think that you're not standing next to Dennis Kucinich and making out with him.” Beck continued: “I was thinking cyanide. That would be the only thing that would really dull the senses enough. Even then, your dead body would be like, 'Dennis Kucinich has his tongue in my mouth.' ” Additionally, Beck compared Kucinich to Gollum, a character in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Beck said: “You take his shirt off and put him in a loincloth, and he's Gollum.”
  • On the February 12 broadcast of his radio show, Beck featured Philadelphia-based conservative radio host Dom Giordano, who claimed that “the mainstream media has dubbed [Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)] to be African-American” and said, “If you start to, you know, delve around the edges, say, 'Wait a minute, isn't he mixed race? Weren't we told that last year?' Or whatever, biracial. Not allowed to say that anymore.” Beck responded by saying “he's very white in many ways,” adding, “Gee, can I even say that? Can I even say that without somebody else starting a campaign saying, 'What does he mean, ”He's very white?" ' He is. He's very white."

    Beck later attempted to clarify his comments to his executive producer and head writer, Steve Burguiere. Beck claimed that Obama “is colorless,” adding that “as a white guy ... [y]ou don't notice that he is black. So he might as well be white, you know what I mean?” Beck also said: “I guarantee you, there will be blogs today that will have me being a racist because I say that.”

  • On the June 14, 2006, edition of his radio show, after airing a clip from the documentary film An Inconvenient Truth (Paramount Classics, May 2006), in which former Vice President Al Gore states that global warming could cause many highly populated coastal areas to be submerged by seawater -- including the entire city of Shanghai -- Beck said: “This is what would happen to Shanghai. Does anybody really care? I mean, come on. Shanghai is under water. Oh, no! Who's gonna make those little umbrellas for those tropical drinks?”

Beck has also smeared Arabs and Muslims on both his radio and television shows, including:

  • During an interview with then-Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, Beck said: “I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies,' ” a comment he later stated was “poorly worded” and “wish[ed]” he “could take back and rephrase.”
  • He has declared: “All you Muslims who have sat on your frickin' hands the whole time” rather than saying that "[w]e need to be ... lining up to shoot the bad Muslims in the head" will face dire consequences.
  • Beck warned that if “Muslims and Arabs” don't “act now” by “step[ping] to the plate” to condemn terrorism, they “will be looking through a razor wire fence at the West.”
  • He described a letter criticizing Al Qaeda in Iraq as “surprising” because “the man who wrote it is a Muslim.”
  • Beck mocked Islam by “mark[ing] the death” of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi with a “Zarqawi bacon cake.”
  • He has said that "[t]he Middle East is being overrun by 10th-century barbarians" and "[i]f they take over ... we're going to have to nuke the whole place."
  • Beck aired a mock news segment mocking the names of several missing Egyptian students in which the announcer said that one “may or may not be accompanied by his camel.” The segment showed pictures of crowds and pointed to random, unidentifiable people as the missing Egyptians. It ended with a reading of the students' names followed by the announcer pretending to gag as he struggled to pronounce them.

Beck has not reserved his contempt for Arabs and Muslims alone, however:

  • Beck has claimed that there are three reasons that an illegal immigrant “comes across the border in the middle of the night”: “One, they're terrorists; two, they're escaping the law; or three, they're hungry. They can't make a living in their own dirtbag country.”
  • Beck has referred to “those who were left in New Orleans [during Hurricane Katrina], or who decided to stay” as “scumbags.”
  • During a discussion of the “politically correct world we live in,” Beck claimed that Braille on walls (used to identify rooms for blind people) “drives me out of my mind.” He then said, “Just to piss them [blind people] off, I'm going to put in Braille on the coffee pot ... 'Pot is hot.' ”
  • Discussing an illegal immigrant who had been accused of killing a police officer in Houston, Beck asked: “Are you kidding me? We're taking rapists out of your country, and you've got a problem with that, and you're shipping killers to us? Please.”

Beck also hosted a “special report” on the May 2 edition of his CNN Headline News show, titled "Exposed: The Climate of Fear," which he promised would present the “other side of the climate debate that you don't hear anywhere.” During the show, Beck and those he featured rehashed several falsehoods and misleading talking points in an attempt to discredit the scientific consensus on global warming and to claim that Gore “exaggerate[d]” and misrepresented climate science in his documentary. Beck has also said that An Inconvenient Truth is "like Hitler" and compared scientists to Nazis, saying that “the scientific consensus in Europe in the 1920s and '30s was that eugenics was a good idea,” adding: “I'm glad that a few people stood against eugenics.” Beck also stated: “Al Gore's not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization. The goal is global carbon tax. The goal is the United Nations running the world. That is the goal. Back in the 1930s, the goal was get rid of all of the Jews and have one global government.” The Anti-Defamation League subsequently "denounced" Beck's comparison of Gore and the Nazis.

From the June 26 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:

BECK: I'm going to be hosting CNN for the first time. I -- I'm still ask -- checking for the seismograph to see if Central Park had any kind of aftershock when CNN decided to ask me to guest-host in the 8 o'clock hour, the Paula Zahn program, all next week and then allow me to design it on what I wanted to talk about -- and so far I haven't heard from geologists on exactly the seismic activity, but we're still looking into that.

I'm going to be doing the broadcast from the Stadium of Fire in Utah on Wednesday, but it starts on Monday, and I have decided to do a theme all next week on both television shows of “We the people declare our independence.” And I thought it was a good place and a good time to bring my theory to CNN that America is changing, that we are not Republicans and Democrats, we are Americans and somehow or another, we have lost sight of that and we have so much in common and some of the things that we have planned -- I'm going to look at the two big icons of the 20th century.

The Democratic icon would be FDR and the Republican icon would be Ronald Reagan, and I'm looking for the things that these guys had in common -- and boy, they had a lot in common. Work ethic -- just work ethic alone is enough to stop your heart when you read the words because you can't tell which one said it. We're going to be looking at those guys. And that is Independence Week all next week on CNN, and then, we'll also be doing the regular show on CNN Headline, as well. It's going to be a busy week for me next week.

Also, one other show note: If you are in Utah on Thursday, the day after the Stadium of Fire, I convinced CNN and I don't know how to do -- I did this, but convinced CNN to do a broadcast from This is the Place [Heritage] Park. This is a park that I was in just a few weeks ago and it is -- it's like Little House on the Prairie. It's this little pioneer town and it has been totally restored, and it is just this beautiful, beautiful park, and so, we're going to bring the CNN cameras and we're going to be doing a live show from This is the Place State Park in Utah and it'll be open to the public and you'll be able to come and see the show and possibly participate in it.

I haven't finished designing this one yet, but I believe I'm going to be doing some things with the people that are there because I just -- we just, you know, while we're in the middle of the country, why not talk to the middle of the country and stop listening to the talking heads in New York or Los Angeles? Let's hear from real people. That's all next week on CNN and CNN Headline and most of this program.

Nicholas J. Natalicchio is an intern at Media Matters for America.