Glenn Beck's affinity for chalkboard diagrams charting out the frequently illusory “connections” in the growing liberal conspiracy to undermine America is well-documented. In that spirit, Media Matters for America has explored Beck's links to the extremist, unhinged, and sometimes paranoid people and groups that inhabit the world of right-wing political activism and laid them out in a Beck-style chart, but with two key differences: these connections actually exist, and they were spell-checked.
1. GLENN BECK → W. CLEON SKOUSEN: As documented by Salon's Alexander Zaitchik, W. Cleon Skousen, a right-wing activist and conspiracy theorist, is “Beck's favorite writer and the author of the bible of the 9/12 movement, 'The 5,000 Year Leap.' A once-famous anti-communist 'historian,' Skousen was too extreme even for the conservative activists of the Goldwater era, but Glenn Beck has now rescued him from the remainder pile of history, and introduced him to a receptive new audience.” Beck frequently touts Skousen's work on his television and radio programs and wrote a foreword for the 30th anniversary edition of The 5000 Year Leap, which he promotes on his website.
2. GLENN BECK → THE JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY: Beck interviewed Sam Antonio, a national spokesman for the John Birch Society, on the July 25, 2007, edition of his now-defunct CNN Headline News program. Leading off the interview, Beck said to Antonio: “I have to tell you, when I was growing up, the John Birch Society, I thought they were a bunch of nuts, however, you guys are starting to make more and more sense to me.” Beck was discussing with Antonio the Security and Prosperity Partnership, an economic and security initiative of the United States, Canada, and Mexico that the John Birch Society believes is a vehicle “to stealthily merge the three North American nations.”
3. GLENN BECK → ABC NEWS: In January 2007, ABC News hired Beck to appear as a “regular commentator” on Good Morning America. The announcement was made not long after Beck's interview with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, during which 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.' ” Beck appeared on Good Morning America several times as a “commentator.”
4. GLENN BECK → SIMON & SCHUSTER: Every one of Beck's books has been published by Simon & Schuster or one of its imprints. Beck's latest offering, Arguing with Idiots, was published by Threshold Editions, Simon & Schuster's conservative imprint.
5. GLENN BECK → NEWS CORP.: In October 2008, Fox News announced that Beck would be joining the network in 2009. The first episode of Glenn Beck aired on Fox News in January 2009.
6. GLENN BECK → HANNAH GILES: Beck was the first to air excerpts from James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles' undercover videos, in which the two dressed as a pimp and prostitute and attempted to solicit advice from ACORN employees on how to operate their proposed brothel. Giles appeared on the September 10 edition of Beck's Fox News show to discuss the videos.
7. GLENN BECK → ANDREW BREITBART: Beck has relied heavily upon Matt Drudge protégé Breitbart for the content of his radio and television programs and has praised Breitbart highly, calling him a “great journalist” and his work “instrumental.”
9. GLENN BECK → MICHELE BACHMANN: On the October 14 edition of his radio program, Beck interviewed Rep. Bachmann and offered to “have a fundraiser” for her after Bachmann claimed that “Speaker Pelosi has made me her number-one congresswoman to defeat next year.” Bachmann herself has called for an investigation to root out the “anti-America” members of Congress.
10. JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY → W. CLEON SKOUSEN: Though he claims to never have been a member, Skousen was a staunch defender of the John Birch Society. He authored a 1963 pamphlet titled “The Communist Attack on the John Birch Society,” in which he alleged that people who criticized the group “usually did so without realizing they were promoting the official Communist Party line.” Salon's Zaitchick wrote that Skousen “aligned himself” with John Birch Society founder Robert Welch's accusation that Dwight Eisenhower was a “dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.”
11. W. CLEON SKOUSEN → 9-12 PROJECT: On the March 13 edition of his Fox News program, which was the official launch of the 9-12 Project, Beck provided his studio audience with a selection of books, one of which was Skousen's The 5000 Year Leap. Beck lauded the “fantastic” book," telling the audience that “it is the 29 principles that our founders put together, and how they put this genius country together.”
12. SIMON & SCHUSTER → MARY MATALIN: Matalin, a Republican political consultant and former Bush White House aide, is the chief editor of Threshold Editions, Simon & Schuster's conservative imprint.
13. SIMON & SCHUSTER → CBS: Simon & Schuster is a division of CBS Corp.
14. ANDREW BREITBART → JAMES O'KEEFE: Breitbart worked closely with O'Keefe in promoting and distributing O'Keefe's undercover ACORN videos, which were first posted on Breitbart's BigGovernment.com. Breitbart is also one of many media conservatives who have offered to raise money for O'Keefe and Giles' legal defense fund after the two were sued by ACORN.
15. HANNAH GILES → JAMES O'KEEFE: Giles and O'Keefe collaborated on a series of undercover videos shot in ACORN offices in which they would pose as a prostitute and pimp, respectively, and solicit ACORN employees for advice on how to run a brothel. O'Keefe later claimed that he and Giles were not rebuffed at any of the ACORN offices they visited -- a claim that was later undermined by ACORN officials who produced a police report showing that ACORN had contacted police about O'Keefe's visit to their Philadelphia office.
17. GLENN BECK → CBS: Beck was interviewed by Katie Couric for the September 22 broadcast of the CBS Evening News. Couric disclosed during the program that Simon & Schuster, the publisher of Beck's Arguing with Idiots, is owned by CBS.
18. JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY → JOHN McMANUS: McManus is the long-serving president of the John Birch Society. A June 25 New York Times article on the John Birch Society reported that former members of the group had released “recorded snippets of Mr. McManus lecturing to Catholic groups that Judaism became a dead and deadly religion after the establishment of the Catholic Church.”
19. MICHELE BACHMANN → 9-12 PROTESTS: On September 12, Bachmann spoke at a “tea party” rally in St. Cloud, Minnesota, during which she attacked President Obama's health care proposals. Bachmann has been supportive of the tea party movement in general, videotaping a message of support to the Minnesota Tea Party Patriots, telling them, “Sign me up for your tea party, patriots.”
20. 9-12 PROJECT → 9-12 PROTESTS: The connection between the 9-12 Project and the 9-12 protests -- in particular the “March on Washington” -- should be obvious. As CNN's Howard Kurtz put it, the protest was “something that Glenn Beck practically conceived, promoted.” The 9-12 Project website worked closely with other groups in organizing the march, and Beck was chief among the Fox News personalities hyping the event.
21. YOUNG AMERICA'S FOUNDATION → 9-12 PROTESTS: YAF was a "bronze co-sponsor" of the 9-12 “March on Washington.” YAF receives funding from the Castle Rock Foundation, the F.M. Kirby Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.
22. JAMES O'KEEFE → LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE: O'Keefe reportedly received funding from the Leadership Institute while in college and worked for the group after he graduated.
23. COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE → 9-12 PROTESTS: Hosted a “BureauCrash Happy Hour” as part of the 9-12 March on Washington. CEI has extensive links to corporate interests and once reportedly claimed Exxon Mobil Corp. as a “major donor” due to the group's position that the burning of fossil fuels does not contribute to climate change. CEI also receives funding from the Earhart Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and the Sarah Scaife Foundation.
24. TEA PARTY EXPRESS → 9-12 PROTESTS: The March on Washington was the final stop on the Tea Party Express tour of America. One of the Tea Party Express organizers told CNN that a racist sign depicting Obama as a witch doctor “says to me that a lot of people in this country are angry about the direction that the administration and Congress are taking us.”
25. OUR COUNTRY DESERVES BETTER PAC → 9-12 PROTESTS: Our Country Deserves Better was a “gold” co-sponsor of the March on Washington. The group ran an advertisement comparing Obama to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and is the home to birther Mark Williams, who promoted the tea parties on Fox News.
26. FREEDOMWORKS → 9-12 PROTESTS: Led by Dick Armey, FreedomWorks aggressively promoted the first round of tax day tea parties, was the national sponsor of the 9-12 March on Washington, and disseminated wildly inflated estimates of the crowd size at the march.
27. AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY → 9-12 PROTESTS: Americans for Prosperity are major tea party promoters and brought its “Patients First bus” to the 9-12 March on Washington. AFP representatives frequently appear on Beck's radio and television programs.
28. LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE → 9-12 PROTESTS: The Leadership Institute was a “bronze” co-sponsor of the 9-12 March on Washington and put on several “grassroots activism” seminars as part of the 9-12 March agenda. The Leadership Institute receives funding from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the F.M. Kirby Foundation, and the Castle Rock Foundation.
29. TEA PARTY EXPRESS → OUR COUNTRY DESERVES BETTER PAC: The Tea Party Express “tour delegation” featured two members of Our Country Deserves Better, one of whom is birther Mark Williams.
30. FREEDOMWORKS → AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY: AFP is a splinter group of Citizens for a Sound Economy, which was later renamed FreedomWorks.
31. GLENN BECK → LOU DOBBS: During his time with CNN Headline News, Beck interviewed Dobbs several times on immigration-related issues. During a 2007 interview on the immigration reform legislation before Congress, Beck introduced Dobbs by saying: "[T]here's no more leading authority on this congressional debacle and just how badly it's hurting our country than Lou Dobbs." For his part, Dobbs has enthusiastically embraced Beck's reporting style and news sensibility and has praised his former colleague for having “the guts to stand up.”