This week, Sarah Palin rejected Media Matters for America CEO David Brock's call to condemn Glenn Beck's violent rhetoric. Beck's rhetoric was recently cited as inspiration for death threats issued against Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and against debate organizers in Illinois.
Palin rejects Brock's call to “stop this insanity” and repudiate Beck
Brock to Palin: “stop this insanity.” In an October 26 appearance on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Media Matters CEO and founder David Brock entreated Sarah Palin to “stop this insanity.” Brock explained that Palin is uniquely poised to help scale back Beck's violent rhetoric:
BROCK: I was recently told by a member of the Murdoch family that if you could affect the bottom line, you might get attention by the News Corp board. But the truth is, we can't wait for that.
So, Sarah Palin, right now, in our view, needs to step up. She needs to step up because she's a leader of the Republican Party, of the conservative movement. She's a Tea Party favorite. She is the one person in this country right now, today, who in the national interest, just in the moment to put partisanship aside, could pull this country back from the precipice of another Oklahoma City. And that's what a real leader does, that's what we're asking.
As you know, you know, Bill Buckley, back in the '60s, divorced the conservative movement from the John Birch Society, and called it idiocy and paranoia. So, there's precedent for this.
And Sarah Palin is a leader. We're now going to find out what kind of leader, what she's made of, and whether she's going to do it. And I'm telling you, we're going to find out.
Palin responds on Beck's radio show: “I stand with you, Glenn.” Responding to Media Matters, Palin called in to the October 28 edition of Glenn Beck's radio show to reaffirm her support for Beck. From the show:
PALIN: So, you know, when I speak of your love of our Founding Fathers, and how you are helping to educate Americans about respecting our nation's history so that we don't lose what makes America exceptional, and the far, far left mouthpieces, they're twisting and perverting that message. No, what I do, I go back to what Abraham Lincoln said about standing with anybody who stands right. You stand with him when he stands right, you part with him when he goes wrong. I stand with you Glenn.
PALIN: Glenn, you know I abhor violence. I know you do. Hating war, hating civil war, and praying for peace, and wanting peace and freedom for our kids in a civil society. That is the mission here, is explaining to Americans what the threats are to our peace and to our opportunities and to our freedoms in America.
PALIN: That is what I see you doing, and that is why I support what you are doing.
Reports point to Beck-inspired death threats in WA, IL
Beck reportedly inspired man convicted of threatening Sen. Murray (D-WA). A cousin by marriage of Charles Wilson, the Washington man convicted of issuing death threats to Sen. Patty Murray, said in publicly available documents filed in federal court that Wilson's “fears were grown and fostered by Mr. Beck's persuasive personality,” and that Wilson's actions occurred because he “was under the spell that Glenn Beck cast.” In a September 17 letter, Wilson's cousin wrote:
What happened later with Charlie is something I think I can understand. He became basically housebound due to illness and his small world became even smaller. His brother got him a computer and he was able to stay connected with family. And he watched television and found Glenn Beck... I found Glenn Beck about the same time Charlie did. I understand how his fears were grown and fostered by Mr. Beck's persuasive personality. The same thing happened to me but I went in a different direction with what I was seeing. Rather than blame politicians for the current issues, I simply got prepared for what Glenn said was coming. I slowly filled our pantry as Glenn fed fear into me. I did not miss watching his show and could not understand why the rest of the world didn't get it -- Glenn became a pariah to me. But I was finally able to step away and realize the error of my ways. The media lost its grip on me. But it still held very tightly to Charlie.
While his actions were undeniably wrong and his choices were terrible, in part they were the actions of others played out by a very gullible Charlie. He was under the spell that Glenn Beck cast, aided by the turbulent times in our economy. I don't believe that Charlie even had the ability to actually carry out his threats.
In court documents, federal prosecutors pointed to voicemail messages Wilson left for Sen. Murray that raised “serious concerns,” including:
“Just remember that as you are politicing for your reelection. It only takes one piece of lead. . . . Kill the fucking Senator! Kill the fucking Senator! I'll donate the lead. . . . Now that you've passed your health-care bill, let the violence begin. Let the violence begin.”
“By your attempts to overtake this country with socialism, somebody's gonna get to you one way or another and blow your fucking brains out, and I hope it does happen. If I have the chance, I would do it.”
“Kill the fucking Senator! Hang the fucking Senator! I hope somebody puts a fucking bullet between your fucking eyes. Far left liberal socialist democratic bitch. You mother-fucker. You sold the fucking people of the country out for socialism. I hope somebody fucking erasers your fucking life. Yes, I hope somebody assassinates you, you fucking bitch.”
“We are going to fuck you up. We are going to fuck you up as bad as we can. Yes, the independents. The real people of this country, not you spineless fucking socialists. You better watch your fucking back, baby, because there's people gonna come after you with fucking both fucking barrels, bitch.”
League of Women Voters officials link death threats they received to attacks by Beck. The moderator and the organizer of an Illinois congressional debate reported receiving aggressive calls and emails, including death threats, for refusing a request to say the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the debate. Both told Media Matters that there was an uptick in hateful calls and emails after Beck attacked them by name on the October 25 edition his Fox News show. Jan Czarnik, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Illinois, which sponsored the October 20 debate, told Media Matters, “I am getting death threats and I am taking it to our local FBI. There are postings on Fox News' Facebook page that include threats on my life.” Event moderator Kathy Tate-Bradish also confirmed receiving threats by phone. Czarnick sent the following emails she had received to Media Matters:
Please tell Executive Director Jan Czarnik and Kathy Tate-Bradish that if they prefer (and probably would), people in the crowd of any future debates can sing the Soviet hymn ... If they do not wish to do that, please tell those c*nty douche bags to go f*** themselves :)
You had better put a leash on your liberal lunatic Tate-Bradish. She will take you down. Her Pledge of Allegiance video is going viral, now that Beck outed her fanaticism. You will follow NPR down the rathole, thanks to her.
On the October 25 edition of his Fox News show, Beck said that the two women are “almost like in bed with George Soros”:
BECK: We wanted to look at the moderator, Kathy Tate-Bradish, from the League of Women Voters. Oh, she sounds so neutral and everything. I mean, she's even neutral on the Pledge, apparently -- just a typical woman voter trying to get the truth out. No, not so much -- not so much.
She is on fire for Obama. She is a big-time Obama supporter. In fact, so much so, she's part of his Organizing for America arm. Hmm.
She's even hosted campaign event in her home in 2007, part of her post on OFA's, Organizing for America Web site, “Hope Action Change”: “On March 31st, people across America open their homes to friends, families, neighbors, to kick off a week of support for a movement for Barack Obama and the movement to change America.”
That's great. I didn't know that change was, you know, meant to abandon the Pledge, but hey.
Now, what about czar -- Jan Czarnik -- just another regular woman voter from the League of Women Voters. Well -- and she also worked with ACORN's Project Vote, which is funded by Tides, and Soros, his Democracy Alliance, which she also worked with progressive people for the American Way, which is a group that recently joined Tides to call for the advertisers to stop advertising on FOX because of this program, which is also funded by George Soros. It's weird, isn't it?
They're so neutral that it's almost like they're not. They're so neutral that they're almost like in bed with George Soros of Tides.
America, I mean, all you have to do -- all of this stuff can be found. It's not hidden. It's not hidden. It's all the same people.
You are being duped. You got to get out and flood the voting booths next week. Do your own homework.
Don't take my word for it. Don't take the League of Women Voters. Ooh! Really? I'll add that to my list of people that I don't trust anymore.
Beck's rhetoric and conspiracy theories linked to real-world violence
Glenn Beck's rhetoric inspired would-be Tides assassin Byron Williams. As Media Matters detailed, Byron Williams told journalist John Hamilton that Beck, “blew my mind,” adding that Beck is “like a schoolteacher on TV.” Williams was arrested after being wounded in a shootout with police, and 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.” Beck regularly attacks Tides on his show. Williams also said that “Beck is gonna deny everything about violent approach and deny everything about conspiracies, but he'll give you every reason to believe it. He's protecting himself, and you can't blame him for that. So, I understand what he's doing.” Williams continued:
“And I'd say, well, you know, that's the thing. It's that anything you do is going to be considered promoting terror attacks or promoting violence. So now they've got Beck labeled as this guy that is trying to incite violence. And what I say is that if the truth incites violence, it means that we've been living too long in the lies.
”Because it's gonna be too many -- it's gonna be more and more people that are, you know -- when you become unemployed, desperate, you can no longer pay your bills, when your society has come to a standstill, and cannot grow anymore, you're becoming socialized, everything, you know -- companies are moving overseas, what do you think is gonna happen? You know, for crying out loud. It's gonna get worse. And more and more people are gonna get desperate."
Pittsburgh police shooter Poplawski reportedly “loved Glenn Beck.” As described by Media Matters' Will Bunch in his book, The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama, interviews with friends of alleged Pittsburgh police shooter Richard “Pop” Poplawski revealed that he “loved Glenn Beck” and was obsessed with survivalist theories Beck forwarded. Bunch wrote in a post for Media Matters:
This January, I spent several days in Pittsburgh investigating the Poplawski case and seeking to learn more about what really motivated him to kill three police officers. The research was for a chapter in my book, The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama, which comes out at the end of the month. I learned quite a bit -- including a couple of new details about the shooting and Poplawski's past that will be revealed when the book is published. But the main thing was that Poplawski's fears about the “Obama gun confiscation” was the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it came to his increasingly paranoid ideas that he seemed to glean largely from talk radio and from Beck.
“Rich, like myself, loved Glenn Beck,” Poplawski's best friend Eddie Perkovic told me during a long interview in his narrow rowhouse on the steep hill running down to the Allegheny. (Perkovic had a lot of time -- he was wearing an ankle bracelet for house arrest because of an unrelated case.) Perkovic and his mom -- who also had a close relationship with the accused cop-killer, still awaiting trial -- told me that for months Poplawski had been obsessed with an idea -- frequently discussed by Beck, including in ads for his sponsor Food Insurance -- of the need to stockpile food and even toilet paper for a societal breakdown. Poplawski was also convinced that paper money would become worthless -- another claim given credence by the Fox News Channel host, particularly in close connection with his frequent shilling for the now-under-investigation gold-coin peddler Goldline International.