Palin enables Beck's extreme rhetoric

As John Hamilton reported, alleged California highway shooter Byron Williams described Glenn Beck as “a schoolteacher” and said that “it was the things [Beck] exposed that blew my mind.” One of Beck's biggest supporters has been Sarah Palin, who has appeared at Beck's events, praised his “wisdom,” and encouraged followers to watch his conspiracy-laden programs.

Palin enables Beck

Beck's long history of violent rhetoric. As Media Matters for America has documented, Beck frequently spews violent rhetoric and pushes conspiracy theories about progressives.

Palin has appeared on Beck's Fox News program three times. Beck has hosted Palin on his Fox News program on three occasions: on March 18, January 13, and January 19, 2009 (Beck's first broadcast on Fox News).

During his January 13 interview with Palin, Beck read her an entry from his diary: “Tomorrow, I meet Sarah Palin and family for the first time. I'm actually a little nervous -- as she is one of the only people that I can see that can possibly lead us out of where we are. I don't know yet if she's strong enough, if she's well-enough advised, or if she knows she can no longer trust anyone. I don't know if she can lead and not lose her soul.”

Palin wrote Beck's "Time 100" article. Palin wrote Beck's article in Time magazine's annual issue profiling the 100 “people who most affect our world.” Palin wrote: “Who'd have thought a history buff with a quirky sense of humor and a chalkboard could make for such riveting television? Glenn's like the high school government teacher so many wish they'd had, charting and connecting ideas with chalk-dusted fingers -- kicking it old school -- instead of becoming just another talking-heads show host. ... His love of the Founding Fathers inspires others to learn and respect our nation's history. Best of all, Glenn delights in driving the self-proclaimed powers-that-be crazy." [Time, 4/29/10]

Palin and Beck hosted 9-11 event in Alaska. On September 7, Palin wrote a note on Facebook inviting followers to join her and Beck at a ticketed event on 9-11. Palin wrote: “We can count on Glenn to make the night interesting and inspiring, and I can think of no better way to commemorate 9/11 than to gather with patriots who will 'never forget.' Hope to see you there!” The Associated Press wrote in a September 12 article that at the event, “Palin applauded the conservative commentator as an inspiration for millions, saying he represents why so many citizens never have to apologize for being American.”

Palin spoke at Beck's “Restoring Honor” rally on the National Mall. Palin spoke at Beck's 8-28 “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington, D.C. During her “non-political” speech, Palin said: “I must assume that you too, knowing that, no, we must not fundamentally transform America as some would want, we must restore America and restore her honor.” Following the rally, Palin tweeted: “Please watch the entire rally. Honorable & inspirational from beginning to end. Listen to Dr. Alveda King, Beck, et al!” On August 29, Palin tweeted: “Silly media reports'maybe thousands'@Beck's 'irrelevant' event;insinuating MSM sheeple mustn't believe their own eyes&ears re: event's truth.”

Palin: “Lamestream media: watch rerun of Glenn Beck's show today.” In a September 13 tweet, Palin wrote: “Lamestream media: watch rerun of Glenn Beck's show today. Listen/Learn/Don't underestimate the wisdom of the people. Times,they r a'changin!”

On his September 13 show, Beck claimed that “there's a lot of us” who think America isn't going to “continue as a country” much longer, and told viewers: “There is an effort in this country to dismantle the free-market system.”

Palin said Beck “hit the nail on the head” in CPAC speech. On February 20, Palin tweeted: "@GlennBeck hit the nail on the head in his #CPAC speech: USA is the abiding beacon of freedom & we need 'less Marx, more Madison'!" During the speech, Beck suggested a liberal “minority” has “hijack[ed]” America and claimed that "[o]ur government looks at the American people as the bad guy," that "[e]conomic holocaust is coming," and that "[p]rogressivism is the cancer in America and it is eating our Constitution."

Palin promoted Beck's documentary linking progressives to atrocities of communism. On January 22, Palin tweeted: “Pls watch Glenn Beck's FOX documentary on Friday to learn about 'manufactured crisis'-mode of govt operatives that lead to harmful proposals.” In previewing his documentary on communist atrocities, Beck promised to show what “progressives don't want you to know.” Beck opened his documentary by citing Che Guevara, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong as “left-wing icons.” Beck also suggested that Adolph Hitler was a liberal and claimed that Soviet genocide has been “erased” from history books.

Palin invited her “friends” to watch Beck exposé on “who is actually running the White House.” On August 26, 2009, Palin posted a note on Facebook inviting her “friends” to watch Beck. Palin wrote: “FOX News' Glenn Beck is doing an extraordinary job this week walking America behind the scenes of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and outlining who is actually running the White House. Monday night he asked us to invite one friend to watch; tonight I invite all my friends to watch.”

During the week of August 26, 2009, Beck's shows regularly featured violent and paranoid rhetoric. On August 26, 2009, for instance, Beck told viewers they “are about to lose your freedom of speech” and suggested there could be a Venezuela-type “clampdown”:

BECK: Is this America? Is it? Ask yourself that question. These are reasonable questions in apparently unreasonable times.

Is this the way we decide how things happen? Do we have these shadow operations with these new czars or advisers or whatever the hell they want to call them, calling the shots? And doing it with a hidden agenda? Doing it slowly, quietly behind the scenes and then, boom! There it is.

You are about to lose your freedom of speech in this country. If you disagree with that, please contact me and tell me how, because I'd like to live in that world. I'd like to believe that. But with everything else I have shown you this week, and then you see the clampdown by somebody who is extolling the virtues of the revolution in Venezuela, I don't know how you see that.

Could somebody, please -- I mean this sincerely -- please explain to me how this isn't anti-capitalist, revolutionary in nature, and anti-constitutional? How is this -- how does this resemble our republic and our First Amendment at all? Please answer that question.

On August 27, Beck also cropped President Obama's remarks to fearmonger about Obama's “civilian national security force.” As Media Matters has repeatedly noted, Obama made his comments about the necessity of a “civilian national security force” in a July 2, 2008, speech on service and referred to expanding the Foreign Service, AmeriCorps, and the Peace Corps. Beck claimed that Obama's “civilian national security force” is “what Hitler did with the SS. He had his own people. He had the brown shirts and then the SS. This is what Saddam Hussein” did.

Beck also mentioned Soros and Tides that week. For instance, Beck wondered how many members of the administration are part of a “communist, socialist society” and asked: “What role does George Soros play in all of this?” From Beck's August 25, 2009, show (retrieved from Nexis):

BECK: All this week, we are asking questions. I may not have the answers but I have a whole lot of questions and you should, too. These are just from tonight's show. Who is surrounding the president at the White House? Do any of the president's advisors have criminal records?

President's advisors work to better the country or for their own ideals? Who are the anti-capitalists in Washington? What role do they have in crafting any of the bills, especially the jobs creations? What was STORM? What happened to the founders? Where are they now?

What are the qualifications to be a czar or a presidential advisor? What's the difference between a community organizer and a community activist? Is there? Do these czars have power, real power? Should a communist have the ear of the president of the United States?

America, please, answer that question, please. What role did the Apollo Alliance play in crafting the bill? Does the president know that the cofounder of the Weather Underground is a board member of the Apollo Alliance that crafted the stimulus package?

How many people in this administration are connected to the Movement for a Democratic Society? That is a communist, socialist society, developed in 2006. What role does George Soros play in all of this? Where is the Constitution?

On his August 27, 2009, show (from Nexis), Beck and right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin discussed the alleged connections between the Tides Foundation, Soros, ACORN, and the Obama administration:

MALKIN: Glenn, you have talked numerous times on your show about the Tides Foundation, and the connection between Tides an Drum & Pike, and ACORN. There is a direct relationship between ACORN and President Obama.

BECK: Michelle --

MALKIN: President Obama's campaign paid $832,000 to an ACORN front group. The connections are far greater on the left between the Democrat Party and these fringe groups than they are on the right and the Republicans.


BECK: This week I have been telling you, ask questions. Here are the questions from just today. We have more. You will find them on the website at

I told you that we were going to talk about these things. We were going to talk about Obama, the Left, internationalists, graft, ACORN-style organizations, revolution and hidden agenda. Oligarh -- one letter is missing. Why did I select these words, because ACORN selects Tides, they all select their words first, and then tie them altogether into one word. Oligarch, the only letter that is missing is Y. I don't know what we're turning into an oligarchy, or what we're turning into, but unless you ask why, we're going to transform into something. Ask questions.

Now, the second part of this, a few months ago, I told you, you got to know you're not alone. You've got to know. You got to unite. Talk to people. Make sure you know you're not alone, through the 9/12 project. We started that. Millions all involved across the country and the 9/12 project and other organizations like it. I knew we needed to connect with one another.

Byron Williams reportedly told investigators that “his intention was to start a revolution by traveling to San Francisco and killing people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU.” He also assailed Soros during his interview with reporter John Hamilton.