When Glenn Beck announced his “40-Day Challenge” on his Fox News show, he pledged to “stop all lies for the next 40 days.” Beck has also said that Fox would fire him if he made “inaccurate” claims. But Beck habitually relies on false and misleading statements -- Media Matters compiled 40 inaccurate claims Beck made on Fox during his 40-Day Challenge.
Beck: “Stop all lies for the next 40 days.”
Beck's 40-Day Challenge: “Don't lie. ... establish a pattern of honesty and make it become habitual.” From the July 19 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: We have to have real honesty to have real hope. You can't expect honesty from others if you don't give it to them yourself. Stop all lies for the next 40 days. Break the habit. I mean, little lies, even. That includes lying to yourself.
If your wife asks do these jeans make me look fat? I think God's OK with that one. No, honey. Be honest in all of your dealings. Don't cheat. Don't lie. And this month, establish a pattern of honesty and make it become habitual.
Beck: “If I was inaccurate, they would have fired me long ago.” Responding to groups putting pressure on Fox News because of Beck's rhetoric, Beck said on the October 28 broadcast of his radio show:
BECK: Here's the thing. I'm not concerned. And if Fox needs to go away, that's for them to decide. That is totally fine with me. I have nothing bad to say about Fox. They have left me alone. They have let me do - they hold me responsible for what I say. They make sure that it's right and it's accurate. They do that. They - If I was inaccurate, they would have fired me long ago. Long ago.
Beck claims Media Matters and other critics “don't say that I'm wrong about X, Y, and Z.” On the October 28 edition of his radio show, Beck responded to Media Matters' call for Sarah Palin to denounce his reckless and extreme rhetoric and stated:
BECK: This is the choice, America. The choice is the Constitution. Does a man have the right to speak his mind? You'll notice that they don't say that I'm wrong on X, Y, and Z. They don't say that Glenn Beck said that these things would happen, and they're all lies. No. They now say - they now say that all I'm doing is inciting violence.
Beck made at least 40 false claims on Fox during his 40 days of “real honesty”
Transcripts are from Nexis.
CLAIM: Obama proposal to rescind Bush regulation would have meant “doctors can't refuse to do procedures they believe is murder.” From the August 17 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: This president and his administration seem to be slightly out of step with the average American -- you know, those people who are bitterly clinging to their God and their guns. If they really cared so much about religious freedoms, then why, may I ask you -- I'm going to puzzle for a minute, I'm going to puzzle and puzzle until my puzzler is sore on this one. Why did the Obama administration, a mere five weeks in his presidency, officially state their intention to rescind a Bush era regulation called the Freedom of Conscience Act? That.What does that mean? It means if something bothers you, you better do it! Unless this was in. See, the act cut off all federal funds to hospital or clinic or health care plans that didn't accommodate doctors and other health care providers who refuse to participate in care that they felt violated their personal, moral or religious beliefs.
BECK: Now, as the Freedom of Conscience is still standing now, I wonder why he wanted to yank that out. When I heard he wanted to do that, I thought, gee, is that in step with America? That you can't be -- I mean, this is a land based on religious freedom but same time, our president is lecturing us that he'd like to force doctors who believe that abortion is the equivalent -- the equivalence of murder. You've got to commit murder or you can't work here anymore. Now, I'm just a simpleton, clinging to my imaginary friend in the sky, so maybe somebody is going to have to explain the rationale here. But it's totally cool to go forward with a mosque run by a potentially radical nutjob and it's not -- doctors can't refuse to do procedures they believe is murder. Hmm.
REALITY: Federal law - which Obama cannot and did not try to “rescind” -- already protects doctors who refuse to perform abortions. The Wall Street Journal reported in December 2008, “For decades, federal law has said that doctors and nurses can't be compelled to perform abortions.” The Journal stated that Bush's “new regulation broadens that to make clear that all health-care workers may refuse to provide information, such as a referral, to patients looking for an abortion.” Scientific American also reported:
Federal law bars discriminating against healthcare workers who refuse to provide abortions or abortion referrals to patients, but the Bush reg change requires federally funded facilities to certify that they're complying with it - and both proponents and critics of the new rule agree that the way it's worded could be broadly interpreted to allow workers to also block access to other medical treatments, such as contraception and artificial insemination.
CLAIM: Hindenburg Omen means “a market crash happens 77 percent of the time.” From the August 25 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Do you remember the Hindenburg Omen that I told you about? What was it, a couple of weeks ago? Two weeks ago, we talked to you about it. It's a technical indicator that measures several economic factors and helps foreshadow stock market crashes, you know, like 1929, the Hindenburg. Boom! When it's triggered, a market crash happens 77 percent of the time. Well, we told you that it was triggered two weeks ago. Unfortunately, it was just triggered again last Friday. And almost triggered a third time last Thursday.
REALITY: A market crash happens roughly 25 percent of the time after a Hindenburg Omen. The creator of the Hindenburg Omen indicator reportedly said that “There's a 77 percent probability of a 5 percent drop following a Hindenburg signal, and a 24 percent probability of a major meltdown following one.” The Wall Street Journal also reported that “significant stock-market declines have followed the indicator just 25% of the time.”
CLAIM: Hebrew stone was found in North America and hidden by the Smithsonian. From the August 18 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: This is the Bat Creek stone. It was found during the course of an official Smithsonian evacuation. The Smithsonian didn't understand the meaning of the writing on the stone. They thought it was Cherokee since it came if Cherokee country. They didn't realize that it's actually Hebrew. They had published this originally upside down. They threw it in the box at the bottom of a Smithsonian and put in the basement. Many years later, a scholar took it out of the box, looked at it and went, “Oh, my gosh. It's upside down.” It's Phoenician - ancient Hebrew.
So what is going on here? What is that about? Where is that history? I'll show you in a few minutes and we're going to have a conversation. I'm going to show you more things that the Smithsonian, science, government, commerce colluded to erase. By the way, I want to thank the directors of the documentary, “Lost Civilizations of North America” for bring these stories to my attention. I was blown away. To find more, visit the Web site, “LostCivilizationDVD.com.”
REALITY: Archaeologists believe the stone was a fake. The Columbus Dispatch reported in December 2004 (accessed via Nexis):
The Bat Creek stone is a small stone tablet engraved with several apparently alphabetic characters, found during excavations of a small mound in 1889 near Knoxville, Tenn.
Initially, the inscription was thought to be in the Cherokee alphabet, invented by Sequoh around 1821. J. Huston McCulloch, an Ohio State University economics professor, dashed this interpretation when he obtained a radiocarbon date of A.D. 427 for the mound and found that the inscription was written not in Cherokee but in a form of Hebrew.
He concluded in a 1993 essay in the Biblical Archaeology Review that at least “a few Hebrew sailors” must have made their way to eastern North America more than 500 years before Leif Ericson.
Archaeologists and historians, however, have rejected the Bat Creek stone as a fake.
Kyle McCarter Jr., a professor of Near Eastern studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, wrote in a response to McCulloch's article that the history of the Bat Creek stone belongs not to some fifth-century Israelite odyssey but to “the melodrama of American archaeology in the 19th century.”
Robert Mainfort and Mary Kwas, two archaeologists with the University of Arkansas, announced in the current issue of American Antiquity that they have found conclusive proof the Bat Creek stone was a forgery, and they identify the source of the fraud.
The text of the inscription appears as an illustration in the General History, Cyclopedia, and Dictionary of Freemasonry published in 1870.
CLAIM: Health Care Reform funds abortion with taxpayer dollars in state high-risk pools. From the July 19 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Ten Commandments, Mr. President. The Ten Commandments -- here they are. God's Ten Commandments: Shall not kill -- remember that one in about 10 minutes. You shall not commit adultery, shall not steal. Remember that one. Shall not bear false witness.
How many of these can this administration break? Bearing false witness. He said abortion, no federal dollars. I told you he was the most anti-life president we had had up until -- before Wilson.
And now, what do we have? Well, how's it working out for him? Let me show you. In Pennsylvania, they were the first state getting federal funds, $160 million. Oh, look Obamacare covers abortion in Pennsylvania. The mandated high risk pool covers abortions.
REALITY: HHS clearly stated that the high risk pools would not cover elective abortion except in cases of rape and incest. The Department of Health and Human Services stated on July 14 that “in Pennsylvania and in all other states,” the high risk insurance plans will not cover abortion “except in the cases of rape or incest, or where the life of the woman would be endangered.” Even Rep. Bart Stupak -- who received only a 25% rating on reproductive choice from NARAL -- rejected the claim that the high risk pools cover elective abortion. And both FactCheck and Politifact have called the claim false.
CLAIM: Obama administration said “there is no terrorism.” From the July 19 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Let's refresh our memories on what this administration said it believed. And I'm -- I have to tell you something: I'm looking for people who actually believed this president.
January 15th, 2009, there is no terrorism. It's man-caused disasters. Really?
March 13th, 2009, the administration said, “There's no such thing as an enemy combatant.” Why? Because enemy combatants, we'd be able to put them in jail now, wouldn't we?
March 13th. “The war on terror doesn't exist. It's the overseas contingency operation.” Yes. Yes.
REALITY: Obama frequently discusses “terrorists” and “terrorism.” Obama has used the words “terrorism” and “terrorist” numerous times in speeches, press conferences, and other statements throughout his presidency, including in remarks made shortly before Beck's broadcast.
CLAIM: The only time Beck talked about Sherrod, he supported her. From the July 21 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Instead, the outlets say -- I'm the one jumping to conclusions. I'm the one smearing and lying. Oh, man! You know, last night, they were talking about how I damaged this woman. And I hurt her career. I'm sorry. I think the only time I talked about her, I supported her. That's weird. That is weird.
BECK: Now, how many people wanted to convict and lock up the Times Square bomber? Now, I wanted to arrange a meeting with this dirt bag and Allah as soon as possible -- just like everybody else. But it seemed like I was the only mature adult in the room standing in the corner raising my hand saying -- Miranda rights, what do you say? Citizen. Constitution.
Shirley Sherrod is the next example. We didn't rush. No, we didn't rush to condemn her. In fact, I may have rushed to stand by her side. This is another seeming redistribution of wealth woman who I bet I disagree with on anything everything. But she asked for the rest of the tape to be heard and I agree with her. The farmer in the story backed her up. It was a turning point story. If you don't have a turning point story, you're probably still a dirt bag. She has a turning point story. That's why we defended her. I stayed on her side of the story and demanded that her side be heard. Because crazy, context matters.
REALITY: Beck aired the edited video on his radio show and attacked Sherrod. On the July 20 edition of his radio show, Beck said that they “have video tape of a USDA administration official discriminating against white farmers.” He then asked, “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?” After playing the audio of the tape, Beck said, “You tell me what part of the gospel is teaching that.” The smear had been thoroughly debunked by the time Beck went on Fox at 5 p.m. ET and offered support for Sherrod.
CLAIM: AZ immigration law “specifically states ... you cannot take into account race.” From the July 29 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: [W]hile the left is still complaining about the oppression of unions, and the students, their new victim of police brutality and racism are these people, the illegals. This was their approach towards the Arizona law. Listen to the manifesto and see if this sounds familiar. The law specifically prohibited targeting -- specifically prohibited targeting anyone because of their race. So they had to fall back on the idea that the police -- the pigs -- are racist. That's why Arizona law, the police are racist. And they would violate the law to harass Hispanics.
BECK: Kris, I don't understand - I don't understand how, without any evidence, that there is anything going on. And with this bill - I've read this bill. All it says is this is the federal statute. We want you to do it. We will send them to you. We'll call you. We'll bring them to you.You must do it all in accordance to federal law. And it also specifically states like 1,000 times, you cannot take into account race. What did they throw this out on?
REALITY: The AZ immigration law does not prohibit the consideration of race. The Arizona immigration law allowed law enforcement officers to take race into consideration “to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution,” something “that is far from nailed down” by the courts, according to Politifact.com. University of Arizona law professor Gabriel Chin said he was " deeply surprised that anyone construes this law to prohibit racial profiling."
CLAIM: Sarah Spitz works for National Public Radio. From the July 21 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Well, we're finding more about this top secret group's discussions. It's not so secret now, is it? You don't like it when we reveal secrets about you guys, do you? In one line exchange, Sarah Spitz - she is a producer for National Public Radio. She wrote that she would, quote, “laugh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out” if she ever encountered Rush Limbaugh writhing in torment while having a heart attack. Boasting that she would gleefully watch a man die in front of her eyes, Spitz seemed to shock even herself. She said, “I never knew I had this much hate in me. But he deserves it.”
Oh. Inclusive tolerance and loving unless, you know, they deserve your hatred. I see. Spitz' hatred for Limbaugh seems shocking, even imbalanced, but it's not. No, no. No, it can't be. It's on publicly funded NPR or National Public Radio, you know, the voice you can trust.
REALITY: NPR said Spitz “has never been an NPR employee.” On July 21, National Public Radio stated that “Spitz has never been an NPR employee.” NPR further said Spitz worked for KRCW, a public radio station in Santa Monica -- “one of some 900 independently-operated public radio stations across the country that air NPR's news, talk and entertainment programming.” The Daily Caller, Beck's apparent source for the claim, later posted a clarification.
CLAIM: We hired Berwick “to implement the same health care system here” that they have in Great Britain. From the July 26 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Great Britain - they are decentralizing their health care. I love this. Remember the European model that we are going after? Yes, they say now that it doesn't work and we just appointed Donald Berwick called their national system a seductress. Oh, yes. Nationalize health care. We had him - we hired him to implement the same health care system here in America that doesn't work over there and they are getting out of it. So how do you think all of this ends for us?
REALITY: Health care reform does not establish a system like Britain's NHS. As Media Matters has noted, the United Kingdom has a single-provider health care model, wherein the government owns and operates the health care system, employing all doctors and other medical personnel through the National Health Service (NHS) and paying them for all medical services. Our own Veterans Affairs offers a single-provider system for veterans. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act implements private health insurance exchanges and an expansion of Medicaid, not a nationwide single-provider system.
CLAIM: Someone from another network “introduced the video from the president” at Netroots conference. From the July 26 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: I love the fact that the Netroots progressive thing, a conference in Nevada happened over the weekend, and how you had, I think, three people from one of the other networks there. One of them introduced the video from the president -- and yet, FOX is the one that is getting charged with being involved in politics. It's truly fascinating to me how there's only one bad network in America. It's amazing -- truly amazing.
REALITY: Nancy Pelosi introduced the video. As the Associated Press reported on July 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “introduced” Obama's video. A clip from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show was included in the video itself.
CLAIM: Van Jones never “pivot[ed]” from what he believed in the past. From the July 22 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: The administration who says, “Van Jones, Bill Ayers - what they did in the past is irrelevant.” No, no, it's not. When those two - what they have in their past, they have never denounced. That's not credible. History is relevant, but you have to look at the person.
Did they conquer their demons? Did they do this? Be who you are, not who you've allowed yourself to become. Shirley could have because she had allowed herself to become influenced by race. She didn't. She conquered it. She became who she really is.
That is the goal of everyone. I think I said that, but there may have been a really smart person who I don't remember, because it was in my drinking days when I first read that. I forgot a lot about the drinking days.
I don't know much about this woman. What I do know is that digging into a person's past to show how bad they are without showing their pivot point, if they have one - if they have one - is inexcusable.
That's why I've been asking, I'd like some questions answered about Van Jones. Where is his pivot point?
REALITY: Van Jones, “changed his politics and his approach,” according to Politifact. As Politifact noted, Jones “was, in fact, a communist for about 10 years. But he ultimately changed his politics and his approach. More recent statements show Jones has tranformed into a cheerleader for eco-entrepreneurs.” The East Bay Express reported in a November 2005 profile that Jones “began transforming his politics and work” in 2000 and that he said, “I realized that there are a lot of people who are capitalists -- shudder, shudder -- who are really committed to fairly significant change in the economy, and were having bigger impacts than me and a lot of my friends with our protest signs.”
CLAIM: Majority is “against the public option.” From the July 26 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Perception of failure. It becomes dangerous here because it could fall apart because people are tired. They're discouraged. Crazies start to appear. But look how close. The next step is majority public opinion. This is already happening. There's already the majority that are against the public option, against health care, against the regulation, and it is already there. What's the next step? Success. But you have got to get past this box. It's amazing because this is the box that the left is in. You go to the next step. It is continuation here, down here at the beginning.
REALITY: Polls consistently found strong support for public health insurance option. Throughout the health care debate, public opinion polls conducted by numerous outlets found that the majority of respondents favored creating a health insurance plan administered by the federal government to compete with private insurers.
CLAIM: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf employed someone who blamed Jews for 9/11. From the August 10 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Now, let me ask you this: would a moderate imam, a peaceful Muslim employ another imam who told an Arabic language Web site that, quote, “Only the Jews could have perpetrated the 9/11 attack.” That kind of sounds like Jeremiah Wright, doesn't it?
And if Americans only knew that it was the Jews' fault, they, quote, “would have done to Jews what Hitler did,” end quote. And that Jews, quote, “disseminate corruption in the land and spread heresy, homosexuality, alcoholism and drugs.” Oh, that's the kind of moderate imam I've been looking for right there at ground zero. How about you?
Would be -- I'd have to ask “Time” magazine, the Muslim leader right- wing commentators fantasize about -- would that guy refuse to denounce Hamas as a terrorist organization? No? Well, he did. He did all of those things.
REALITY: The imam Beck refers to resigned in October 2001, prior to making the offending statements. The comments blaming “the Jews” for 9-11 were attributed to Muhammad Gemeaha, who was described by the Middle East Media Research Institute as “Imam of the Islamic Cultural Center and Mosque of New York City,” where Rauf is a member of the board of trustees. However, Gemeaha reportedly resigned from the mosque before making those remarks, which were denounced by the head of the mosque's board.
CLAIM: FDA revisiting Avastin approval shows “death panel” claim was true. From the August 17 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: OK. Those crazy conspiracy theorists are back with the death panels. Yes, back in the news again. Don't you hate those conspiracy hate-mongers? Here's what I told you death panels really were a year ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(on camera): I want to make it very, very clear what this people are talking about is how to ration in case of an emergency. They define it as a shortage, a shortage of kidneys, hospital beds or flu vaccine - a shortage.
But what we have to remember is universal health care creates another shortage - a shortage of money. And when we are out of money, these people will begin making the rules governing your health care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
No, not going to happen, because here is what they said about me saying that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEITH OLBERMANN: There is no death panel. There is no judgment based on societal productivity. There is no worthiness test.
BARACK OBAMA: We plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill our senior citizens. It is a lie, plain and simple.
RACHEL MADDOW: The real agenda lurking behind health care reform is a secret plot to kill old people.
JOE BIDEN: No panel is going to sit down and tell your doctor anything about how to care for you. We are all going to get to the end of life period. It's malarkey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: No panel. It's - no panel. It's a lie. Ridiculous conspiracy. Except your first death panel is here, “Federal regulators are considering taking the highly unusual step of rescinding approval of a drug that patients with advanced breast cancer turn to as a last-ditch hope.”
What do the president and the vice president have to say now? Malarkey - there is no panel. And the propagandists over at MSNBC - oh, they're having a good chortle over this one, I'm sure.
See, it's not that they'd ever be called death panels or anything like that. The point has always been with this new system - it's based on money. It's possibly happening now exactly the way we said it would happen - malarkey.
REALITY: The decision to re-evaluate Avastin did not result from either health care reform or cost considerations. Claiming he had found “your first death panel,” Beck quoted from a Washington Post report stating that the Food and Drug Administration “is reviewing the recommendation of influential scientific advisers to revoke authorization of the drug [Avastin] to treat metastatic breast cancer.” Contrary to Beck's claim, “the FDA and its advisory panels don't consider cost effectiveness when reviewing drugs for approval,” as AP noted. The FDA advisory committee reportedly recommended withdrawing Avastin's approval for advanced breast cancer because trials found that the drug did not extend life. The FDA's decision to revisit the approval is unrelated to the health care reform legislation, which conservative media falsely accused of instituting "death panels." This is at least the third false death panel that Beck has identified.
CLAIM: “Submission to his will” is “Islam.” From the August 24 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: All right. Now, it's this kind of ideology that we got from Jeremiah Wright, which makes sense. Because Jeremiah Wright is the church that Barack Obama found Jesus at. Quote, “Kneeling beneath the cross of the south side of Chicago, I felt God's spirit beckoning me. I” -- and key words here -- “I submitted myself to his will, and dedicated myself to discovering his truth.” Even that statement is confusing -- submission. Submission to his will. That's Islam.
REALITY: Christian Bible contains similar language. From the King James Bible: Ephesians 5:22: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your husbands, as unto the Lord.” James 4:7: “Submit yourself therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Psalms 66:3: “Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.”
CLAIM: Michelle Obama went to Spain with “approximately 40 of her friends.” From the August 9 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: How are you doing with the smoking thing, Mr. President? I know it's tough. I gave up two packs a day. I gave it up. I know it's tough. How are you doing? You can't exercise self-control. You tell us to, you know, cut back. You tell to us be careful with our spending, not go to Vegas. But then, you go and take a helicopter to go a couple of miles and your wife takes our money and goes to Spain with a bunch of friends. I mean, how can we expect a family who has taken several vacations in recent weeks to understand we can't afford the pensions and everything else?
BECK: Now, his wife, currently off the scent of struggle just a little bit with her recent mother-daughter trip to Spain. She flew on an AC-32A - that's a 757 which usually serves Air Force Two and sometimes Air Force One. It only costs $11,351 per hour to operate.
Then, the first lady reserved 30 rooms at opulent five-star hotel. That's beautiful. This is just for her and approximately 40 of her friends. Now, I'm not a sacrifice expert so forgive me. But where exactly is the sacrifice here?
REALITY: Officials said Michelle Obama travelled with security but not with 40 friends. The New York Times reported, “Mrs. Obama is not traveling with 40 friends, one official said, but with two friends and four of their daughters, as well as a couple of aides and a couple of advance staff members.” The Times further reported that “officials note that the first lady is paying for her own room, food and transportation, and the friends she brought will pay for theirs as well. The government pays for security, and the Secret Service, not the first lady, determines what is needed.”
CLAIM: Taxpayer dollars paid for NPR article raising notion that 8/28 would be “a pit of hatred” if signs were allowed. From the August 26 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: I have also heard people wondering about how big or small the crowd size will be. I've heard people speculate that what's going to happen -- what is Glenn Beck going to do after the event? NPR wrote about the event wondering what stunt is Glenn Beck going to pull, noting that progressive pundits are expecting me to pervert the memory of Martin Luther King, and I don't have the credentials to speak at the location of MLK's speech. My gosh!
And then there was this: “Attendees are prohibited from bringing signs. The fear, of course, is that it will turn into a pit of hatred, a la the health care town halls.” A pit of hatred? A pit of hatred -- written with our taxpayer dollars. See, this is where I get confused about people saying that I don't have the credentials to speak about honor and integrity and about the judging people by the content of their character, when the very same people that are saying that about me seem awfully quick to cast an entire group of individuals in to a pit of hatred just because they disagree with a particular policy.
REALITY: Beck was quoting from a piece by The Root. The article Beck attributed to NPR was actually written by The Root, the “daily online magazine that provides thought-provoking commentary on today's news from a variety of black perspectives,” and cross-posted on NPR's website.
CLAIM: Chevy Volt only goes 40 miles before requiring a recharge. From the July 28 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: when he took over control of General Motors, I said on the air many, many times that the government would mess them up even more. Am I eating those words today? Here's the president, in the new Chevy Volt. Now, this is an electric car that goes 40 -- count them -- 40 miles before the electricity runs out. It can be yours all for the low, low price of $41,000. Now, that's quite an accomplishment. I mean, Nissan -- what a joke they are, they have a new Nissan Leaf that gets 100 miles and costs $32,000. But this goes 40 and it's like $10,000 more expensive. So, I apologize -- Barack Obama has apparently turned the ship of G.M. around.
REALITY: The Volt can go for 300 more miles after its all-electric battery power runs out. As the Christian Science Monitor reported, the Volt “can go 40 miles on all-electric battery power before an onboard gasoline engine kicks in as a 'range extender' for 300 more miles.” By contrast, “The Nissan Leaf is an all-electric car that can go 100 miles on a charge, but has no range-extending gas engine.”
CLAIM: Financial regulation reform makes SEC exempt from FOIA requests. From the July 29 edition of Fox News:
BECK: Yesterday, on this program, we told you that the SEC had expanded their powers and are now exempt from requests under the Freedom of Information Act. OK. Well, now, the most transparent administration ever is today pushing to give the FBI even more power.
REALITY: In fact, the exemption was limited to certain records that the SEC gathers from financial institutions. As Reuters reported on July 28, the legislation exempted the SEC “from having to turn over to the media information it gathers from financial institutions in its expanded supervisory role, but does not limit the disclosure of other agency data.” Reuters explained, “The SEC still has to comply with requests for other types of information requested under the Freedom of Information Act.” The Colombia Journalism Review criticized Fox Business Network for exaggerating the scope of the change. The provision was subsequently removed from the legislation.
CLAIM: Hillary Clinton's college thesis was “a love note” to Saul Alinsky. From the July 28 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: I ask you again - how many radicals do you know? How many people were in SDS? How many people do you know? How many people do you know were in the Weather Underground? This man is surrounded by a ton of them. And when you see the manifesto that the people - they may not be. I don't think he has this on his desk or anybody has this on their desk. It is just part of them. Hillary Clinton - she was - wrote a love note as their college thesis on Saul Alinsky. It's there. You decide. You decide if it makes a difference.
REALITY: Clinton's thesis included a critique of Alinsky. An msnbc.com analysis of the thesis reported: “In formal academic language, Rodham offered a 'perspective' or muted critique on Alinsky's methods, sometimes leaving unclear whether she was quoting his critics or stating her own opinion. She cited scholars who claimed that Alinsky's small gains actually delayed attainment of bigger goals for the poor and minorities.” The article further stated:
In the end, she judged that Alinsky's “power/conflict model is rendered inapplicable by existing social conflicts” -- overriding national issues such as racial tension and segregation. Alinsky had no success in forming an effective national movement, she said, referring dismissively to “the anachronistic nature of small autonomous conflict.”
Putting Alinsky's Rochester symphony threat into academic language, Rodham found that the conflict approach to power is limited. “Alinsky's conclusion that the 'ventilation' of hostilities is healthy in certain situations is valid, but across-the-board 'social catharsis' cannot be prescribed,” she wrote.
CLAIM: “We work our butts off every day to make sure that we've checked into the context whatever it is that we're showing.” From the July 21 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: But we work our butts off every day to make sure that we've checked into the context whatever it is that we're showing. You know how many clips I could have shown of Van Jones that I could have played over and over again? I could have made him into -- I could have made into Beelzebub. I'm not saying Van Jones is he is Beelzebub, but I'm not not saying it either, am I? Oh, boy!
We didn't play a lot of stuff that we could have played -- I mean, I got closet full of stuff that we could have played for you. Oh, yes. Yes! We could have made him look a lot worse. Why didn't we play it? Because we weren't sure what the clip really meant because we couldn't get the whole context. We couldn't get the whole sheet -- the whole speech, so we buried it.
REALITY: Beck routinely distorts quotes to fit his narratives and conspiracy theories. As Media Matters has documented, Beck has repeatedly and grossly distorted the context of people's remarks. During one episode of his Fox News show, Beck distorted five quotes from progressives in two minutes.
CLAIM: Bill Ayers “is tight with Obama.” From the August 10 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Yes, let's continue with the chalkboard, shall we? Who else is here? Oh, here's Bill Ayers and his lovely radicalized wife Bernardine Dohrn. Now, how do they fit? Oh, that's right! They also helped Free Gaza. They helped organize the flotilla. And Ayers is tight with Obama. The president has a lot of friends in the flotilla world, including this guy, Rashid Khalidi. Oh, good friends there. Yes. Good friends here.
REALITY: The two men were little more than casual acquaintances. An investigation by The New York Times found that Obama and Ayers, “do not appear to have been close.” The Times said: “Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called 'somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.'” Ayers told the New Yorker that his relationship with Obama “was probably like that of thousands of others in Chicago and, like millions and millions of others, I wished I knew him better.”
CLAIM: Mosque is “being built across the street from ground zero.” From the August 10 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: But there is an Islamic community center and mosque called the Cordoba Center that you need to know about. It's being built just down the road from ground zero. I know you've heard this. It's an emotionally-charged subject. You may have seen some of the footage of the town hall meetings in New York City where (INAUDIBLE) a little more tense than maybe, I don't know, Nebraska.
It would be easy, as many commentators did, just to shout down the idea of building a mosque right off the bat. I haven't done that. In fact, this may be the first time that I've addressed this on television because I've had a different opinion than everyone else, and we've had things to roll up our sleeves and do.
But things have changed. But I want to start at the beginning. I want to show how I responded on radio when I first heard the news that a mosque was being built across the street from ground zero.
REALITY: Park 51 is being built two blocks away from Ground Zero. The Park 51 cultural center and mosque will be located two blocks away from Ground Zero. Politifact noted, “The proposed mosque is not at or on Ground Zero. It does not directly abut it or overlook it.” The Park 51 website states that “on completion of our planned building some years from now there will not be any views of the Ground Zero memorial from the building.”
CLAIM: Obama said U.S. would have 137.8 million jobs by 2010. From the August 10 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Consumers have no confidence in the economy. Job worries drove July consumer confidence level to the lowest since - this is ridiculous - the lowest since February. Today, we learn that the fed downgraded their economic outlook. We lost another 131,000 jobs last month. After Obama bragged about stopping the hemorrhaging, the number of Americans on food stamps has hit an all-time high. Yes. Look at the chart by the Heritage Foundation. The president pledged to create 3.5 million jobs by 2010. That would put us at 137.8 million jobs.
What is the actual amount? Where is it? Based on the July 2010 numbers, that leaves a deficit - don't worry - only about 7.6 million jobs. Plus, the administration highest profile economic officials - Tim Geithner, Peter Orszag, Christina Romer - they both resigned. Yes. They're out of here.
REALITY: Obama said the stimulus would increase employment by 3.5 million jobs compared to what would have happened otherwise. The Obama administration did not say that the Recovery Act would increase the number of total jobs by 3.5 million over the number of jobs that existed when the legislation was passed, nor did he say that the number of total jobs would not decrease following the passage of the bill. In January 2009, Obama's economic advisers estimated that a stimulus package would raise employment by between “3.3 to 4.1 million jobs” by the end of 2010 and clearly noted that this estimate is calculated “relative to the no-stimulus baseline.” During a February 9, 2009, press conference, President Obama cited “the magnitude of the crisis” and stated that even with the stimulus package that would save or create millions of jobs, "[t]hat still means that you're going to have some net job loss" in the short term; “but at least we can start slowing the trend and moving it in the right direction.”
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that as of the second quarter of 2010, the Recovery Act “Raised the level of real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent” and “Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million.”
CLAIM: CAP recommended cutting history, constitutional studies, economics “from education.” From the August 13 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: I told you earlier this week about George Soros and the funding that he sent to the Center for American Progress -- not really a place known for its, you know, cost-cutting measures. But, it -- there is a booklet on education. And it said that these are the things, these are the niche items that we can cut from education. Are you ready? U.S. history, constitutional studies, and anything to do with economics. That's what the Center for American Progress -- they say that is “niche” : the Constitution. Well, the reason I wanted to tell you about that is because that “niche” history is being erased and it's only going to get much, much worse.
REALITY: CAP never recommended cutting any of these subjects from public education. Beck is referring to an April 2010 research paper released by the Center for American Progress, which recommended saving money by eliminating certain federal Department of Education grant programs “that are ineffective, duplicative, or outdated.” Beck has previously promoted the idea of abolishing the Department of Education.
CLAIM: In Canada, the Bible is hate speech. From the August 27 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: A lot of Americans have lost sight of that. And certainly, our country doesn't focus on the Bible anymore. Our neighbors in Canada think the Bible is hate speech now, believe it or not. It wasn't always that way. In fact, this is kind of a new recent trend.
The founders relied on the Bible. Do you know that -- do you know that more than 30 times all the other books, all the other things they could have read, more than 30 times the Book of Deuteronomy over everything else. That's what the founders used.
REALITY: The legislation to which Beck is likely referring protected arguments based on religious texts. In 2004, Canada added “sexual orientation” to the list of protected groups under its hate propaganda law, a move that was labeled, “Bible as hate speech” by right-wing media. (Beck's website linked to a World Net Daily article with such a headline at the time.) The law states that those who “wilfully promote hatred against any identifiable group” are “guilty of an indictable offence,” unless “in good faith, the person expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text.”
CLAIM: Imam Rauf wants to impose Shariah law in the United States. From the August 23 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: The imam from the Ground zero mosque apparently wants Sharia law in America. I will introduce you to the guy who has been doing the research on this -- next.
BECK: Everybody is talking about Ground Zero and the mosque. Should it be there? Should it not be there? I believe, as a nation, we're pretty clear. You can build any house of worship wherever you want to build. But, shouldn't we be asking a more important question? Who are the people behind this? Where are they getting the funding? What do they really believe? According to our next guest, the imam behind the Ground Zero mosque, Imam Rauf, makes no bones about his goal to build a mosque near sacred ground and to bring Sharia to America. To further explain, Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy and assistant secretary of the Reagan Defense Department. OK. Well, I guess we start with Sharia. Explain quickly what Sharia is for anybody who doesn't know.
FRANK GAFFNEY, PRESIDENT OF THE CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY: Sharia is a political program that the authorities of Islam have long believed, a millennium or so, must be imposed over the entire world, to be ruled by a theocracy, a caliph, and to impose Sharia as the rules. To give you a sense of how it operates, look at Saudi Arabia, look at Iran. They are governed by Sharia. And guys like Feisal Abdul Rauf, who want to bring Sharia to America, have in mind having us governed the way they are.
REALITY: Rauf has argued that America is already Shariah compliant. As Media Matters has previously reported, Rauf, in his book What's Right With Islam, argued that “the American political structure is Shariah compliant” because it “protects” “God-given rights.” He wrote that “Muslim legal scholars have defined five areas of life that Islamic law must protect and further. These are life, mind (that is, mental well-being or sanity), religion, property (or wealth), and family (or lineage and progeny).” Because the American political system “upholds, protects, and furthers these rights,” Rauf said that it is “therefore legally 'Islamic,' or Shariah compliant, in its substance.”
CLAIM: Opposition to building mosques is limited to the one near ground zero. From the August 24 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Paterson doesn't get it. Bloomberg doesn't get it. Bloomberg has green-lit this project at the same time he's out there in the media eloquently defending the right of Muslims to build a mosque, which no one is arguing with. I mean, have they built any mosques since September 11? Have there been any mosque -- because I haven't heard anyone screaming and yelling about it. It's this one!
REALITY: Mosques have faced opposition across the country. As the Washington Post reported, “In Tennessee, three plans for new Islamic centers in the Nashville area -- one of which was ultimately withdrawn -- have provoked controversy and outbursts of ugliness. Members of one mosque discovered a delicately rendered Jerusalem cross spray-painted on the side of their building with the words 'Muslims go home.'” In addition to the Murfreesboro Islamic center, mosques in Texas, Florida and California have been vandalized.
CLAIM: The mosque of the Cordoba is built right on top of a Christian church they conquered. From the August 24 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Right. Now, let me show you the Cordoba Mosque, if you can bring that picture up, please. This is - remember, the Cordoba initiative is the Ground Zero Mosque. What is the significance? This is the mosque of the Cordoba.
BARTON: It's got the same foundation, built right on top of a Christian church they conquered.
BECK: OK. Now, America - and David doesn't even know this. Please bring up - please bring up the picture of the room of the Last Supper. This is the room that they say Jesus had the last supper in. This is not my photo, because I'm in Washington. I have a photo of my wife and I standing in this room. And it is the most amazing room you have ever been in. Why? You can barely see it on that wall, but on that wall, that is Arabic writing. Where the photo is taken from is the back corner. When you walk in, there is the back corner. There is a minaret in the corner. It has all been defaced and it has all been written. It is a Muslim room or was. When you walk around the great city of Jerusalem and see there is - there is one group of people that is very clear are trying to erase the Jews and Christianity.
REALITY: The Cordoba mosque has been a cathedral for 700 years. As the Christian Post reported, “Built in the 8th century after the Moorish invasion of Spain, the Cordoba house of worship was transformed from a mosque into a cathedral in 1236 when King Ferdinand III captured the city of Cordoba from the Moors. Since then, except on rare occasions, Muslim prayer rites have been forbidden inside.” As historian Kenneth Wolf told Media Matters via email:
Yes, the conquering Muslims (711) did eventually replace a church with a mosque in Córdoba. But for the first fifty years after the invasion, they shared the main church in the city (St. Vincent's) with the local Christians, dividing it into two parts so that it could serve both communities. Later (765) when it was clear that there was not enough space for the growing number of Muslim worshippers, the authorities bought the other half from the local Christian leaders and allowed them to rebuild a church in another part of the city to make up for their loss. It should also be pointed out that when the Christians later reconquered Córdoba in 1236, the mosque was immediately consecrated as a church; and in the sixteenth century, the middle of it was gutted to build the Renaissance-style cathedral that can be seen there today.
CLAIM: Soros Fund Management reduced its equity investments from $25 billion to $5.1 billion. From the August 25 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Look, gang, this is all about power. Do you know who is taking money out of the stock market? Who's taking the off-ramp right now? George Soros. Wait a minute, you mean the guy who's -- yes, the guy who's issuing these statements on me? Yes! George Soros, the fund management, reduced his $25 billion in equity investments to $8.8 billion in March and then down to $5.1 billion at the end of June. Why? He's getting out of the market because he knows. Experts are saying that they believe he is shifting his money towards government bonds. Gee, what do you think? Maybe to be liquid.
This guy doesn't care about people or countries, just money and power. He didn't care when he famously profited off of England's misery. He won't care when our day of reckoning comes because he'll profit on that as well. He and his family will be going to Singapore. Well, can your family go to Singapore? Make no mistake. The day is coming and we must stick together and rely on the truth.
REALITY: $25 billion is the total value of Soros Fund Management's assets. As Bloomberg recently noted, “Soros Fund Management LLC manages about $25 billion.” Reuters reported in that its “total U.S.-listed equity holdings,” or stock investments, were "$8.8 billion at the end of 2009," and "[t]he fund listed $5.1 billion of equities as of June 30."
CLAIM: Obama “got a shady home loan” through Rezko and ShoreBank. From the July 20 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: How about the media not really caring about the slumlord Tony Rezko or the fact that Obama got a shady home loan through him? Didn't spark any interest. How is this one? That loan came through Shore Bank, home of Crime, Inc. Have you seen Crime, Inc. or shore bank anywhere else?
REALITY: No reports exist of Obama securing home loan through ShoreBank with help from Rezko. It's not clear what Beck is referring to. Media Matters found no reports mentioning Rezko's involvement in Obama's home loan or reports of Obama having a loan through ShoreBank. Obama reportedly got his home loan from Northern Trust. Beck may be referring to Obama's purchase of a piece of land from Rezko's wife. As FactCheck.org noted, “there's no evidence Obama did anything improper.”
CLAIM: Hezbollah is involved in carbombing in Mexico. From the August 16 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Again, is an election going to stop these three? Another part of the perfect storm is our borders. Has anyone noticed the violence escalation on the boarder? Just last month, the cartels had a two-hour firefight with authorities -- two hours. An Arizona sheriff just announced the border patrol officials are pulling their men off the border because it's just too dangerous. Well, that's great! Here's an idea. Show me the map. Why don't you say we pull back -- oh, I don't know, somewhere about here, Portland -- is that enough? Why don't we pull back to Oregon? Why don't we give them California? I haven't even mentioned the fact that car bombings are now happening on our border. And nobody seems to notice that car bombings -- oh, yes, where do we see those? Hezbollah. Hezbollah is involved.
BECK: My concern on our border has always been our security. I mentioned a few minutes ago about an increase of violence along our southern border. And what is eye-opening isn't just the increase in violence -- it's the type of violence. This summer, Mexican drug cartels launched a car bomb attack in Juarez. This is just a stone's throw away from El Paso. And I know a lot of Americans are going, oh, yes, well, that's par for the course. Violent area, you know? Yes, well, this time, they've done -- they've done this Mideast style: car bomb. Now, why would they do that?
Congresswoman Sue Myrick is asking DHS to, quote, “Engage us and Mexican law enforcement and Border Patrol officials about Hezbollah's presence, activities and connections to gangs and drug cartels.” Hezbollah has already been active in Colombia and Venezuela for quite some time. So, is it really that big of a stretch to think that maybe Hezbollah might migrate north?
REALITY: This appears to be baseless speculation. News sources like the Israeli National News that posited a link between Hezbollah and the attack did so solely based on the fact that it was a car bombing. News reports following the attack did not state that Hezbollah was involved. The Los Angeles Times reported that Mexican police arrested Fernando Contreras Meraz, “a regional boss of an armed gang known as La Linea” and the man suspected of detonating the bomb.
CLAIM: Putin went whale hunting. From the August 26 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Does anyone believe in Divine Providence anymore? I know Ronald Reagan did. I know George Washington did. I know Abraham Lincoln did.
Reagan said, for whatever reason, God made America free. And he wasn't throwing cliches out when he said once a country loses her freedom, those people will never get it back again. That if freedom is extinguished in America, there is no place on the face of the earth for the world to run to.
Do you think Russia and China are going to lead the world on what? The environment? You got Putin yesterday taking pictures of himself hunting whales. Yes, yes, yes.
REALITY: Putin was collecting skin samples. As the Associated Press reported on August 25, Putin fired “a special arrow designed to collect skin samples” that would help researchers “determine where the whale came from.”
CLAIM: Jim Wallis “is an admitted Marxist.” From the August 25 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: You go ask your pastor, priest or rabbi if that is true. You might think someone would follow up on these surveys since two of the three best-known spiritual advisors, Jeremiah Wright and Michael Pfleger are extremist clergy members far out of the mainstream of Christianity into liberation theology.
The third, Jim Wallis, is an admitted Marxist. But no, no, no. Interest from the supposed big three of TV news -- no. No, that's not helping. Hey, Katie Couric, how are you ratings? No one has paid any attention the anti-capitalist in the administration.
Several socialists, admirers of Mao - none of this has aroused the interest of the adoring media crowd. Their only response is call me or you or anybody else a liar, a hater, a bigot, stupid, full of lies -- whatever.
REALITY: Wallis actually describes himself as a convert from “secular radicalism and Marxism to Jesus Christ.” Beck has previously claimed that Jim Wallis is a “Marxist” on the March 23 edition of his show, and as evidence, aired a portion of a radio interview in which Wallis mentioned his past beliefs. In response, Wallis wrote in a March 24 blog post that Beck “left out” the rest of the conversation, and that he and Dorothy Day " were sharing our conversion stories from secular radicalism and Marxism to Jesus Christ and his gospel of love and justice."
CLAIM: Journalists from Time, Politico, Huffington Post, Salon, and The New Republic plotted on email listserv to “fix” Jeremiah Wright damage. From the July 20 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Here are just a few of the highlights of the text going back and forth. When video surfaced of Barack Obama's pastor of 20 years, Rev. Jeremiah Wright who called America “KKK of A” - he called whites the oppressor and so on and so forth.
When ABC asked Obama if his reverend loved America, the journalists over at “JournoList,” listserv, called George Stephanopoulos a disgusting little rat snake. That was Richard Kim of “The Nation.” Others took the rage and plotted it in to action.
Journalists from “Time,” “Politico,” “The Huffington Post” - no. I wonder why the president recommends them. “The Baltimore Sun, ” The Guardian," “The Salon,” “The New Republic” all plotted to fix the damage of Jeremiah Wright.
Spencer Ackerman of “The Washington Independent” urged colleagues to deflect attention from Obama's relationship with Wright. His suggestion - pick one of conservative critics and play the race card.
REALITY: Daily Caller provided no evidence that journalists from those publications plotted Jeremiah Wright damage control. Beck's claim is based on a Daily Caller article about Journolist, a private listserv that was comprised of left-leaning journalists, academics and activsts. After obtaining access to the listserv, Daily Caller claimed “Employees of news organizations including Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic participated in outpourings of anger over how Obama had been treated in the media, and in some cases plotted to fix the damage,” but the article provides no evidence to support the claim that employees of Time, Politico, Huffington Post, Salon, and The New Republic were plotting on the listserv to “fix the damage of Jeremiah Wright.”
CLAIM: Rashid Khalidi is “an anti-Semite” and “anti-Jewish.” From the July 27 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: But I think I also know you and people like you, people like Oliver Stone. There's Sean Penn, Danny Glover, others that are slowly but surely revealing themselves for who and what they really are because they're arrogant. They think they are in the mainstream now.
Unfortunately, this anti-Jewish, anti-Israel sentiment isn't limited strictly to Hollywood now. I don't know if Barack Obama knows or has any association with this particular anti-Semite, Oliver Stone.
But he does know and has had association with Rashid Khalidi, not just an anti-Semite, anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, but believed to have been part of the PLO when it was considered a terrorist organization.
He is developing a new Gaza flotilla, you know, that he can put out there. In fact, he's calling it the “audacity of hope.” He is also a respected professor.
REALITY: Beck appears to be conflating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. Media Matters could find no reports of anti-Semitic statements or writings by Khalidi. An October 31, 2008,New York Times profile of Khalidi quoted Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, who “said he has known Mr. Khalidi for years,” saying of Khalidi: “He has always been consistently in favor of dialogue and common ground.” Marty Peretz of The New Republic, wrote, “I have written more appreciative words about Khalidi than Obama ever uttered. In fact, I even invited Khalidi to speak for a Jewish organization with which I work.”
CLAIM: Oakland has “taken away” your “right to own a gun.” From the August 25 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Oakland -- the Oakland police spokeswoman, Holly Joshi, warns citizens that, quote, “If you come home to find the house burglarized and you call, we're not coming.” Oh, they're not coming. Uh-oh! So, in other words, if I come home and I discover that my house is broken into in the middle of the night, I just walk in. I have no idea that it's safe to re-enter or anything else. Oh, wouldn't it be really great is if I didn't have a right to have a gun either because I could just walk unarmed to my house in the middle of the night. And I know the police aren't coming.
That's what I like to call fear. They accuse me of fearmongering -- that's fear, America. And that's why the Second Amendment is more important than ever. Your right to own a gun, if it is taken away like it is in Oakland, California, who's got the guns? Oh, yes, that's right, the bad guys where the police aren't going to come if they break in to your house.
REALITY: Guns are not banned in Oakland. Gun ownership is regulated but not illegal in California and Oakland. There are reportedly no licensed gun dealers in Oakland, but gun ownership is not banned in the city.
CLAIM: “George Washington loved the Indians.” From the August 18 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: We're going to start with the Founders and the American native. The prevailing wisdom of the Native Americans was that they were primitive savages and inferior intellect. That's what we started get into in the 1800s. We've heard of scalpings before. And you think of the scalping, that was just an Indian reference. Yes, Indians did scalp people. But many times -- not exclusively -- but many times, they did it because people paid them. Not that it justifies it, but that's what it was. The English made Mohicans for the heads of the Pequots. I think that it's interesting that they both have casinos next to each other now, the Mohicans and the Pequots. The Dutch paid for wampum and wear (ph) in the heads. The English soldiers scalped each other. Even puritan ministers would scalp to make money.
But the -- well, they're just a bunch of heathen savages -- that was a line that came into play, it was eventual justification for pushing Indians off their land. That really didn't play a role until commerce and government started to collude. However, not everybody thought Indians were primitive savages with no brains. George Washington loved the Indians. Thomas Jefferson had a different view of Native Americans. In 1784, he dug out on his property a 12-foot high mound. It was -- it was something that he couldn't figure out. He found several complex layers of burials. He concluded that the mound was the work of Indian ancestors.
Jefferson began to ponder this and he believed that the Indians possibly came, in his words, from Egypt or Asia. He looked at some of the ancient writings. He compared them. He was fascinated with language. He compared Egyptian and Indian. He started to say, well, you know what? They're not as primitive as everybody thinks.
REALITY: George Washington waged a bloody campaign against Iroquois nations. According to U.S. News and World Report, “Washington ordered what at the time was the largest-ever campaign against the Indians in North America. ... From his headquarters in Middlebrook, N.J., Washington authorized the 'total destruction and devastation' of the Iroquois settlements across upstate New York so 'that country may not merely be overrun but destroyed.'” From a March 22, 2008, article in the Michigan Historical Review (accessed via Nexis):
In the summer of 1779 George Washington, the commander in chief of the American forces, sent an army to western New York to punish the Seneca and other Iroquois who had allied themselves with the British for what he viewed as a great betrayal. Maj. General John Sullivan was placed in charge of this campaign and given a clear mission: “the total destruction and devastation of their settlements and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible.” To make his intentions clear, Washington reiterated them in his formal instructions and in several subsequent letters to Sullivan: that Seneca country “may not be merely overrun but destroyed'; that Sullivan must make ” the destructionof their settlements so final and complete, as to put it out of their power to derive the smallest succour from them, in case they shouldeven attempt to return this season"; and that he should not agree topeace with the Indians until “after you have very thoroughly completed the destruction of their settlements.”
These expeditions had devastating consequences for the Seneca and other Iroquois peoples. More than forty towns and an estimated 160,000 bushels of corn were destroyed, along with innumerable orchards. The orchards at Apple-town alone contained an estimated fifteen hundredtrees. The clear intent of Sullivan's campaign is revealed in the additional effort devoted to the destruction of orchards that both represented years of investment and stood as a physical claim of Indian ownership of the land. The destruction of annual vegetable crops brought a winter of suffering and starvation to the Seneca, but the loss of mature orchards was intended to destroy their will to return to their lands. By undermining the possibility of a quick recovery and return, Sullivan's forces paved the way for white settlement of these lands.
CLAIM: Obama Sr.'s article calls for Soviet-style Marxism. From the August 9 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: As an American, chances are, your father didn't dream of leaving his family and 2-year-old toddler behind to continue his education at an Ivy League school so that he could take that American government-paid education back to his home country, along with a woman he picked up in Boston who had become his third wife to encourage his nation to drop the newfangled socialism being promoted in favor of old-style Soviet Marxism.
Do you know anybody who had a dad who that was their dream? I don't know him, but the only one whose dad had that dream that I know is Barack Obama. Those were the dreams of Barack Obama's father. But they were a little more complicated than that, but essentially, that's what Barack Obama senior did.
He fought against African socialism advocated by pro-western third way leader. This guy. And the president of Kenya, this is Kenyatta. Do you have Kenyatta? There he is. And he fought against those guys in favor of the communist allied leader. He wrote an article in 1965. It's called “Problems Facing Our Socialism,” written by Obama senior.
This has a point. It's not just a history lesson. This actually applies to today and maybe can help you figure out what's really going on in the world and maybe help wake your neighbors up.
In this report, this mocks the government's economic policy of African socialism while focusing on what needs to be done in Kenya. He says “What is more important is to find means by which we can redistribute our economic gains to the benefit of all and at the same time be able to channel some of these gains to future production. It's the government's obligation.”
He goes on: “We also need to eliminate power structures that have been built through excessive accumulation so that not only a few individuals have control of vast magnitude of the resources as is the case now. How could we afford to ignore the pockets of this economy which are underdeveloped without some positive statement about their development? In Kenya, the colonial government only developed the so-called white areas.”
Anti-colonialism -- in this case, it was anti-English and Marxist. Not even Marxist. It was full-fledged Soviet.
REALITY: The paper was reportedly “moderate and conciliatory.” Politico reported that Obama Sr.'s “central aim” in the paper “was moderate and conciliatory” and that Kenya expert Raymond Omwami, an economist and UCLA visiting professor from the University of Helsinki" said that the paper doesn't show Obama Sr. to be “a socialist.” Politico said:
In other words, Obama senior's paper was not a cry for acceptance of radical politics but was instead a critique of a government policy by Kenya's Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, which applied African socialism principles to the country's ongoing political upheaval.
“The critics of this article are making a big mistake,” says Omwami, who at Politico's request read the document and the associated Internet debate over the weekend. “They are assuming Obama senior is the one who came up with this concept of African socialism, but that's totally wrong. Based on that, they're imbuing in him the idea that he himself is a socialist, but he is not.”
Omwami says he would instead refer to the elder Obama as “a liberal person who believed in market forces but understood its limitations.”
CLAIM: At OIRA, Cass Sunstein “makes all of the rules.” From the July 29 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: Now, let's -- let's focus for a minute on what dictatorship really is. A dictatorship -- according to the dictionary that I have but that could be rewritten now -- is an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by an individual, the dictator. Pretty simple. Never in America -- it could never happen in America. That's why these people failed in 1969.
But let's take a look at the direction that we're heading now. You tell me. Are we headed -- are we headed in the direction of more power going to you or the government?
See, the dictator is a really bad word, but if we replace “dictator” with -- “all powerful” -- all powerful government. Well, which is it going to? A government controlled by the few? Or maybe even one. Or you having the power?
Health care and financial reform, both massive bills that leave much of the decision-making into the hands of the unelected bureaucrats who are selected by the president, namely, Cass Sunstein, most dangerous man in America. That's what Glenn Beck has been saying. Cass Sunstein. Why? Because Cass Sunstein makes all of the rules now.
From the July 26 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: I think we're at that time. I thought about this, this weekend, and watchdogs, I need your help. We need you to scour these 5,000 pages. I need you to scour these bills and I need you to look for parts of a machine that will help make cap and trade unnecessary to pass through Congress. I believe they're turning this machine on with the help of Cass Sunstein -- again, the guy I've said from the beginning is the most dangerous man in America, because he's our regulatory czar. He's the guy that just takes the laws and then turns them into regulation. All these bills are, is someone else regulates. Well, Cass Sunstein is the guy who is that “someone else.”
REALITY: OIRA does not write the federal government's rules and regulations. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs does not have the power to create regulations. Rather, OIRA reviews regulations written by other agencies. Environmentalists reportedly objected to Sunstein's appointment because of his reliance on cost-benefit analysis. Julian Sanchez of the CATO Institute has also written:
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which Sunstein's been tapped to head, was created in 1980 and is precisely the sort of agency conservatives should love -- tasked with catching inefficient and excessively burdensome regulations before they go into effect. It has, unsurprisingly, been most active under conservative presidents, and is one of the few offices where fans of limited government should want a vigorous, influential, and intellectually formidable director at the helm.
Now, Cass Sunstein is not somebody I agree with on a great number of things. On the day he's tapped for a seat on the Supreme Court bench, I'll break out in hives. But it's awfully hard to imagine any realistic alternative -- anyone Obama might actually have appointed -- who would be better in the OIRA post from a limited government perspective.