On both his Fox News program and his radio show, Glenn Beck has repeatedly likened himself to historical figures of note, including Socrates, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Benjamin Franklin.
Beck has repeatedly compared himself to historical figures
Beck: “Today is the first day I actually feel like Paul Revere.” On the March 4 edition of his radio program, after raising fears that the nation is “in peril” because of efforts to reform health care, Beck stated that he felt like Paul Revere:
BECK: Health care, yesterday, was one of the more incredible things I have ever seen. This health care speech with the doctors behind him. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it. I don't understand how the rest of the nation doesn't see this. Or how they don't understand our nation, as we know it, is in peril. Today is the first day that I actually feel like Paul Revere. The British are coming. The British are coming. [Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program, 3/4/10]
Describing his frequent questioning, Beck stated, “I understood for the first time why they killed Socrates.” On the March 3 edition of The Glenn Beck Program, Beck drew a comparison between himself and Socrates:
BECK: I understood for the first time why they killed Socrates. Because Socrates would go and seek out the, you know, the smartest people and he'd say, hey, so, answer this question. And he was really, honestly asking. But then they couldn't answer it, or they'd answer it like an imbecile and he'd say, OK, that's just stupid. Do you know any smart people? That's why they killed him. And I kind of understood that because when all of that was happening I kept going to the smartest people I could find and say, hey, so explain this. And they couldn't, or, you know, it didn't make sense to me, and I'd say, OK, I don't think that works. Thanks. And I'd go find somebody else. [The Glenn Beck Program, 3/3/10]
Beck: “I'm going to be called a hatemonger. ... They also called people like Benjamin Franklin a hatemonger.” On the October 9, 2009, edition of his Fox News program, Beck stated that “illegal immigration is modern-day slavery” before likening himself to Benjamin Franklin:
BECK: Isn't it odd that here we are, transforming the Constitution that they argued about in 1787, and we're having the same damn argument. Except now we have new slaves, illegal immigrants, being used the same by the same people. Although the conditions are not as bad as they were. But it's the same damn argument. I know, I know, I'm going to be called a hatemonger for this, you know, conversation that we have, whatever, that's fine. They also called people like Benjamin Franklin a hatemonger. They said that he was crazy. I wonder if they've said that about me yet. Yeah, Benjamin Franklin was crazy, he was the first real abolitionist. Boy, that man stood up every single time. And in our modern-day slavery, I will be happy to be called crazy right along with Benjamin Franklin. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 10/6/09]
Beck compared his views on government to those of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On the November 25, 2009, edition of his radio show, Beck stated:
BECK: They say that I'm anti-government. No I'm not. I'm anti-corrupt government. I'm anti-out-of-control government.
It is only people that stand up against the government and do what our founding fathers told us to do, to be vigilant on our rights, those are the people, these are the times when you stand up, when you can stand up peacefully. Because if you don't stand up as you are losing those rights, as the government is growing in power, then unfortunately it becomes too late to stand up peacefully. How many times do I have to say: peaceful. As Martin Luther King did. Was Martin Luther King, was he anti-government? Well he sure took the government and turned it upside-down, now didn't he? He totally transformed the parties in this sys -- in this government. [The Glenn Beck Program, 11/25/09]
Beck: “Thomas Paine was ... kind of the me” of the revolutionary era. From the February 18, 2009, edition of Beck's Fox News program:
BECK: When the French Revolution started, the Americans were very excited. Very excited. We the people. We the people. And the French said, yeah, us too. Mon ami! It was so exciting that Thomas Jefferson endorsed the French Revolution, and Thomas Paine went over to support. Remember, Thomas Paine was kind of the -- oh, I don't know. My apologies to Thomas Paine, but kind of the me of the genera -- I mean, I can't think of anybody else. A guy just saying, “Hey, really, stand up. Come on. We can do it.” He was kind of the -- he was the media guy, really. He just did pamphlets, the rest of us just do TV. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 2/18/10]