While much of CNN's coverage of the September 12 protest in Washington has made clear that the event included accusations of Nazism and communism, unsavory references to Sen. Edward Kennedy's death, and what Campbell Brown described as “really ugly, vicious, racist imagery,” CNN has largely ignored a central facet of the event -- the role Glenn Beck and Fox News played in organizing and promoting it. Indeed, according to a Media Matters for America review of the Nexis database, media critic Howard Kurtz is the only CNN figure to have noted that role, stating that the protest was “something that Glenn Beck practically conceived, promoted.”
Kurtz: 9-12 protest was “something that Glenn Beck practically conceived, promoted”
Kurtz contemplates whether Beck is “a talk show host” or “a leader of a movement.” From the September 13 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
KURTZ: Yesterday you mentioned -- you called them tea party protests -- there were these big conservative protests around the country, the 9-12 Project. That's something that Glenn Beck practically conceived, promoted. ... So what is Glenn Beck? Is he a talk show host and a successful one, or is he a leader of a movement?
CNN devoted extensive coverage to protest but ignored role of Beck and Fox
CNN covered protests during at least 11 hours of its September 12 programming. On September 12 alone, CNN reported on the protests during the 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. hours of CNN Saturday Morning and the 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m., and 10 p.m. hours of CNN Newsroom.
Kurtz only CNN figure to report on role of Beck or Fox. On September 15, Media Matters conducted the following search of the Nexis database for the previous week: "(Beck or Fox) and (protest! or rally)." Kurtz's September 13 comments were the only instance in which the role of Beck and Fox News in organizing and promoting the protests were mentioned.
Beck, Fox News were key in organizing 9-12 protests
Beck's 9-12 Project helped organize protest. Beck founded the 9-12 Project, which describes itself as “a place for you and other like-minded Americans looking for direction in taking back the control of our country.” Beck's 9-12 website worked with others organizing the September 12 “March on Washington.” Beck himself participated in the protest by broadcasting live from 1 to 3 p.m. ET on Fox News.
Beck: “On 9-12, I hope to see you in Washington. I will make sure you're seen all over the country.” On August 28, Beck described the 9-12 Project's “March on Washington” as something “worth standing up for” and told viewers, “I hope to see you in Washington. I will make sure you're seen all over the country.”
9-12 march website: Beck “really helping our numbers grow!” A post on the 9-12 march website 912dc.org states: “The recent coverage by Glenn Beck is really helping our numbers grow!” The website frequently mentions Beck's promotion of the march and excerpted a September 8 USA Today article reporting that the march has been "[e]ncouraged by conservative commentators such as Fox's Glenn Beck."
Fox relentlessly promoted Tea Party Express. Fox News heavily promoted the Tea Party Express tour -- the final stop of which was the 9-12 protest -- on Fox News, Fox Business, the Fox Nation, and FoxNews.com. The network frequently provided viewers the dates and locations of upcoming stops. On the August 23 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ, anchor Shannon Bream said, “We want to let folks know” the tour schedule so “they can be a part” of events. The Tea Party Express was organized by a political action committee -- formed by Republican operatives -- whose mission is to oppose President Obama and other Democrats.
Protesters said they watch Beck and Fox News. In a September 15 video titled, “Brought To You By Fox,” Media Matters documented numerous 9-12 protesters crediting Beck and Fox News with providing “fair and balanced” coverage.