This week David Brock, founder and CEO of Media Matters for America and Michael B. Keegan, president of People for the American Way, wrote a piece for the Huffington Post urging Sarah Palin, as a leading figure in the conservative movement, to condemn Glenn Beck's reckless and extreme rhetoric. Brock later appeared on MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell and said,
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.
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.
Today Palin gave her answer, telling Beck on his radio show: “I stand with you, Glenn.”
During the show, Beck claimed that he has been the most outspoken opponent of violence “since Martin Luther King,” and suggested that Media Matters was “setting something up,” saying, “They know that violence is coming as much as I do, because the pressure on this country and its citizens is becoming overwhelming.” Beck insisted, “I'm going to be relieving some of that pressure” and “we will be the group of people that stand together in peace and in love ... when the whole world is freaking out.” Beck went on to compare Media Matters to “the smelly kid in the third grade”; label MSNBC “barely a network”; and call George Soros “pathetic and sad.”
Beck said during his show that it's “totally fine with me” if Palin and Fox News decide to distance themselves from him. But Beck's producer got Palin on the phone and she said: “I stand with you, Glenn” and “I support what you're doing.” She called Brock's plea, “ironic,” and accused Media Matters of “twisting and perverting” Beck's message about “respecting our nation's history so that we don't lose what makes America exceptional.” As Beck sarcastically begged Palin to change her mind, she made it clear that she sees Beck as a teacher of the people, “explaining to Americans what the threats are to our peace and to our opportunities and to our freedoms”:
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.
Brock released the following statement in response:
“On Tuesday, I asked Sarah Palin to use her influential voice to stop attempted incidents of domestic terrorism incited by right-wing extremists like Glenn Beck. By telling Beck, 'I stand with you,' Palin -- Fox News' star contributor -- now associates herself with acts of violence and the insane conspiracy theories and hate speech behind them.
Rather than seize the opportunity to act in the national interest and do her part to prevent a major tragedy like the Oklahoma City bombing, Palin called into Beck's show to call me 'pathetic.' While Palin and I don't agree on much, I honestly believed we shared the view that the incitement to violence by a powerful media outlet was a national crisis that transcends the partisan divide. Sadly, I was wrong.”