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Glenn Beck's Top 5 Worst Smears

In more than two years on Fox News, Glenn Beck has repeatedly smeared those with which he disagrees. Media Matters presents a selection of Beck's worst smears.

  • 5. Beck Smeared Cass Sunstein As “The Most Dangerous Man In America”

    [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 9/22/10]

    Beck Claimed That Sunstein Advocated For Forced Organ Donation. Beck previously claimed that Cass Sunstein, head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, “believes that everyone must be an organ donor.” [Media Matters, 10/5/09]

    Beck Claimed Sunstein Argued That “You Should Not Be Able To Remove Rats From Your Home.” Beck also claimed that Sunstein said “you should not be able to remove rats from your home if it causes them any pain.” [Media Matters, 10/5/09]

    For the truth behind Beck's smears of Cass Sunstein, SEE HERE.

    4. Beck Smeared Frances Fox Piven As “Want[ing] To Destroy America”

    Beck: Cloward And Piven “Want To Destroy” America. On the November 5, 2010, edition of his Fox News program, Beck asked if “people [like Cloward and Piven] really want to destroy” America. He continued:

    BECK: There are some things that we have to address as a nation. We have to try to be better. We have to learn from our mistakes -- not bury them, learn from them -- but also not exploit those mistakes.

    And there are an awful of lot of people in America that would like to exploit those mistakes; equal number that would like to bury them and forget them.

    But do people really want to destroy it? Well, people like Cloward and Piven do. Cloward and Piven -- you probably didn't even know who these people were, I mean, unless you were -- I mean, unless you were living in the basement of your -- if you were a progressive, maybe, a diehard progressive. Or you were living in the basement of your mom's house, you know, in your underpants, eating Cheetos and going, “I'm telling you, it's Cloward and Piven.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 11/5/10]

    Beck Suggested Piven Is “Inciting Riots” And “Asking For Violence.” On the January 17 edition of his Fox News program, after reading an excerpt from a Nation article by Piven, in which she asserted that “an effective movement of the unemployed will have to look something like the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece,” Beck asked: “Is that not inciting riots? Is that not asking for violence? Is this not outlining and how to make it happen?” From the broadcast:

    BECK: So let's just say we have malcontents, but she claims they're malcontents because they're unemployed. We need to gather them and we need to look at what the prisons are doing.

    And she says, “Second, before the people can mobilize for collective action, they have to develop a proud and angry identity.”

    Now, this is where she parts ways with, let's say, the 9/12 Project that said, hey, people should get together, not necessarily those in prisons or the angry malcontents, but now, she is encouraging -- while we encourage values and principles, she says they need to develop an angry identity and a set of claims that go with that identity.

    They have to go from being hurt and ashamed to being angry and indignant. Third, protesters need targets. Has she been on the Sarah Palin Web site, or is this her own doing?

    “Protestors need targets, preferably local and accessible ones, making the kind of angry response to angry demands.”

    She goes on, "An effective movement of the employed would look something like the strikes and riots that has spread across Greece and in response to the austerity measures forced on the Greek government by the European Union, or like the student protest that recently spread with lightning speed across England in response to the prospect of greatly increased school fees.

    You have it? It's not, hey, let's get together in the tea party. She's saying it should look like the video I showed you in Greece. Is that not inciting riots? Is that not asking for violence? Is this not outlining and how to make it happen?

    She says, “The protests should be led by the unemployed young workers and by students who face a future of joblessness, who might just become large enough and disruptive enough to have an impact in Washington.”

    She closes it with this, “Shouldn't we hope for another American social movement from the bottom? And then join it.”

    I go back to my definition of “enemy.” An enemy of the Constitution, foreign or domestic -- it is defined as one seeking to injure, overthrow or confound an opponent. All of that applies to what she is saying.

    We're accused of being government-hating, but they hate the government. Government-hating, yet we cling to that Constitution. She is talking about riots, violence. There is no excuse for violence from the right or the left.

    I think the tea party gets that. I haven't seen this or anybody calling for this from the right. But if they do, I reject them. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/17/11, accessed via Nexis]

    Beck: Cloward And Piven Are “Fundamentally Responsible For The Unsustainability And Possible Collapse Of Our Economic System.” On the January 5, 2010, edition of his Fox News program, Beck introduced Piven and Richard Cloward, her late husband, as “the people you would say are fundamentally responsible for the unsustainability and possible collapse of our economic system.” From the show:

    BECK: I'm going to give you a hard concept to get your arms around: It's the concept that there are people in this country who want to intentionally collapse our economic system.

    How could it be that any American would or would want to do such a thing? Well, those involved sleep just fine at night because they tell themselves that they're not collapsing, they're transforming -- transforming -- America into something better.


    BECK: Now, as we discuss this, keep in mind that you're watching all of this through your eyes; you see this as trying to collapse our economy. But progressives see this as a fundamental transformation -- something better than we've ever had -- as promised by Barack Obama:

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, OCT. 30, 2008)

    THEN-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE BARACK OBAMA: We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.


    So, let me introduce you to the people you would say are fundamentally responsible for the unsustainability and possible collapse of our economic system: Richard Cloward and Francis Fox Piven, authors of the Cloward-Piven strategy. Something else to remember is that this isn't some conspiracy theory that we're tossing out; they wrote about collapsing the economy and how they planned to do it in the article they co-authored in the '60s called, “Mobilizing the Poor: How it Could Be Done.” Six months later, it was published in The Nation, under the title “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/5/10]

    Beck Included Cloward And Piven On His “Tree Of Radicalism And Revolution.” From the September 18, 2009, edition of Glenn Beck:


    [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 9/18/09]

    Beck Compared His Warnings About “Dangerous” Enemy Piven To Earlier Warnings About Bin Laden. From the January 27 broadcast of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

    BECK: Let me show you a cartoon from the '60s. It's a Black Panther cartoon with a caption, “The only good pig is a dead pig.” This is a kid shooting a police officer. It leads to things -- we don't have that. I can't even say that. I can't show you that today. But it leads the things like this: rallies in support of the convicted cop killer, Mumia Abu Jamal, Storm, the Ella Baker Center, Van Jones, all participate in rallies when they are, they're standing up for a guy who kills a cop. I stand by my pledge tonight. The Hutaree Militia that claims to be on the right. That claims to say, we are going to kill cops. And Frances Fox Piven, who claims to be on the left, who says we need riots like that in America, are dangerous.

    Nobody listened to me in 1999 when I said, Osama Bin Laden will attack the city of New York. Will you fight him when there is blood and bodies in the streets of New York? Nobody listened to me. Nobody listened in. Is anybody really listening now? There are enemies in this country. But it's not us. Not us. The Hutarees, the extreme left. If things get bad, you will see the same levers being pulled -- Twitter, Facebook, internet. We're being told now that the president here needs to have the ability to shut down the internet. An internet kill switch just for emergencies and for your safety, of course. Can you see a time when a president on the left or the right needs to shut down Twitter just to stop the riots? It's not technology. What is happening to us? [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/27/11]

    Beck's Attacks Spawned Death Threats Against Piven, Condemnation From Academics.

    3. Beck Smeared President Obama As A Racist With “Deep-Seated Hatred For White People”

    Beck's Comments Sparked Widespread Condemnation And A Successful Advertiser Boycott:

    • Fox News VP Responded, Saying Beck Expressed “His Own Views, Not Those Of The Fox News Channel.” Bill Shine, Fox News' senior vice president of programming, responded to Beck's statement, telling TVNewser, “Glenn Beck expressed a personal opinion which represented his own views, not those of the Fox News Channel. And as with all commentators in the cable news arena, he is given the freedom to express his opinions.” [TVNewser, 7/28/09]
    • NAACP Released Statement On Beck's Comments. On the July 29, 2009, edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-host Willie Geist read the following statement from the NAACP: “How could the president be a racist, a man of both African-American and white heritage, a man who inspired millions of Americans to unite across the divide of race, religion, class, and age in his historic run for the presidency? We commend President Obama for having the courage to discuss an issue that all too many Americans consider a third rail.” [Morning Joe, 7/29/09, via Media Matters]
    • Media Figures Blasted Beck's Comments. Beck's remarks have been criticized by, among others, Joe Scarborough, Ron Christie, Jonathan Capehart, Donny Deutsch, Joan Walsh, Lois Romano, Chris Matthews, Mika Brzezinski, Mike Barnicle, Ed Schultz, Stephen A. Smith, Rachel Maddow, Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg. [Media Matters, 7/30/09]
    • Advertisers Fled Beck's Program. Following an advertiser boycott led by a coalition of progressive organizations, Glenn Beck reportedly lost nearly 300 advertisers, dealing a financial blow to the network. [Media Matters, 1/27/11, 4/7/11]

    2. Beck Smeared Van Jones As A Convicted Felon

    In Fact, Van Jones Has Never Been Convicted Of A Crime. As Eva Paterson, president and founder of the Equal Justice Society, has explained, “Van [Jones] has never served time in any prison. He has never been convicted of any crime.” [The Huffington Post, 8/28/09, via Media Matters]

    1. Beck Smeared Soros As A Nazi Collaborator

    [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 11/9/10]

    For the truth behind Beck's smear of Soros, SEE HERE.

    Jewish Groups Condemned Beck's Smears Against Soros. Several prominent Jewish organizations expressed outrage at Beck's false smears against Soros:

    • Anti-Defamation League Called Beck's Smears Of Soros “Horrific” And “Repugnant.” [Anti-Defamation League, 11/11/10]
    • Jewish Funds For Justice: Beck “Grotesquely” Mischaracterized Soros. [The Jewish Week, 11/11/10]
    • Holocaust Survivors Organization VP: Beck's Accusations Are “Monstrous.” [The Jewish Week, 11/11/10]
    • Conservative Jewish Magazine Commentary: Beck's Soros Smears Are “Off-Limits” And “Offensive.” [Media Matters, 11/13/10]