Today, Glenn Beck opened his Fox show by falsely accusing Media Matters of contradicting ourselves when we pointed out his convenient change of heart about Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is spearheading efforts to build an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan.
Here's what happened. On Monday, we unearthed video of a 2006 Good Morning America broadcast in which Glenn Beck appeared to call Rauf a “good Muslim.” We wrote:
During the ABC segment, Rauf condemned the extremists who issued death threats against the Pope and political cartoonists, specifically saying that “these reactions are not at all called for by Islamic teaching. The teachings of Islam are very similar to the teachings of Christianity, of loving the one God and loving thy neighbor. These are the two common principles.”
When Diane Sawyer mentioned that Imam Rauf says the radicals are just a “group of people” and “not him,” Beck seemed to agree, saying “sure, sure.” He added, “I believe it's a small portion of Islam that is acting in these ways.”
Beck, for his part, even appeared to gesture to Imam Rauf when he invoked the idea of “good Muslims.”
As we noted, Beck's 2006 comments about Rauf were a bit surprising in light of his current attacks on Rauf and the proposed cultural center:
One of the loudest voices in conservatives' fight against the center has been Glenn Beck, who has specifically targeted Imam Rauf with blatant falsehoods and hypocritical attacks in a desperate attempt to smear him as a radical.
Additionally, among other offensive comments, Beck has asked, “after you've killed 3,000 people you're going to now build your mosque?” He's also absurdly labeled the center an “actual danger” and suggested it is an “Allah-tells-me-to-blow-up-America mosque.”
Everything we wrote was correct, and Beck's initial response (on both his radio and television programs) was to truncate the video in order to disappear the part where he appeared to call Rauf a “good Muslim.”
But today, Beck tried a different line of attack. Holding up print-outs from our website, he explained that back in 2006, we had written about the same GMA discussion. Using some hard-to-follow logic, Beck declared that he had caught us in some sort of contradiction:
BECK: Let me show you how you at Media Matters originally reported the very same story from the very same interview in 2006. I wonder if they're the same. ... You see, here's the problem: They're using the same -- this one is now, and they're saying, “See, I endorse him. He's good.” This one is using the same video clip and saying, “I hate all Muslims.” That's weird. Using the same thing. Highlighting different words.
Beck's claim that in 2006 we used the GMA video clip to say he “hate[s] all Muslims” is completely false. You can read that post here.
Rather, back in 2006, we criticized GMA for hosting Beck to discuss Islam and for failing to explain that Beck “has a history of making derogatory statements about Islam and Muslims.” As evidence, we linked to, among other things, the 2006 interview in which Beck said the following to Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to Congress:
BECK: OK. No offense, and I know Muslims. I like Muslims. I've been to mosques. I really don't believe that Islam is a religion of evil. I -- you know, I think it's being hijacked, quite frankly.
With that being said, you are a Democrat. You are saying, “Let's cut and run.” And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, “Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.”
And I know you're not. I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way.
In the same item, we also noted the following:
During the [GMA] interview, Beck repeated several comments he has made before, such as: “I believe that it is important for all of us to look evil in the eye and crush it;” “I believe there is a cancer that is radicalized Islam, and it must be cut out or it's going to kill all of us;” and “I believe it's Germany, 1938.” As purported balance to Beck, Sawyer interviewed Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the leader of a mosque in New York who, according to Sawyer, is “working to help understanding between different communities.”
None of that in any way contradicts what we said on Monday -- that less than four years ago, Beck managed to have a calm conversation on national television with the man he is now suggesting wants to build -- in Beck's words -- an “Allah-tells-me-to-blow-up-America mosque.” And it doesn't contradict the fact that back then, Beck appeared to call Rauf a “good Muslim.”