For the third time in the past two weeks, The Washington Times has allowed Glenn Beck to dictate its coverage by presenting his attacks on progressives as news. A September 25 article was premised entirely on Beck's opinion that ACORN's internal ethics investigation is “bogus” because its advisory board members are “the worst of the worst,” without providing any actual evidence that would undermine the investigation's integrity.
When Glenn Beck speaks, The Washington Times amplifies
Washington Times: Glenn Beck said that ACORN's investigation is “bogus.” In a September 25 Washington Times article, headlined, “Glenn Beck: Probe of ACORN 'bogus,' ” Joseph Weber reported that "[c]onservative commentator Glenn Beck said Thursday the ethics investigation into the community activist group ACORN will yield no meaningful findings unless it reaches into the top levels of the organization or the White House gets involved." He then quoted Beck saying the investigation is “bogus” and “a show.” The article later reported:
Mr. Beck noted that ACORN's advisory board includes Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and former Maryland lieutenant governor; John Podesta, a Clinton administration chief of staff; and Henry G. Cisneros, secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton administration.
“How could you possibly clean up ACORN with these people on the board,” Mr. Beck said. “You have the worst of the worst sitting on this board making decisions.” [The Washington Times, 9/25/09]
The article provided no actual evidence that would undermine the legitimacy of the investigation.
Washington Times enlists in Beck's crusade against “diversity czar” over “provocative comments” that have been “discussed on cable television.” In a front-page September 23 Times article, Amanda Carpenter promoted Beck-led right-wing attacks on Mark Lloyd, the chief diversity officer at the Federal Communications Commission, by reporting that Beck, Andrew Breitbart, and conservative websites “unearthed” and “discussed” purported “provocative comments” Lloyd made about Hugo Chavez, freedom of speech, minorities' access to leadership positions, and ways to promote liberal radio. Carpenter wrote that Beck had “aired” a clip in which Lloyd “seems be siding with the anti-American leader [Chavez] against independent media outlets in his own country, some of which supported a short-lived coup against Mr. Chavez in 2002.” [The Washington Times, 9/23/09]
Washington Times chonicles Beck-led “hunt for next Van Jones.” In a September 15 article, headlined, “Conservatives hunt for next Van Jones,” Matthew Mosk reported that conservatives, "[e]mboldened by the ouster of presidential adviser Van Jones," had also targeted Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) chief David Michaels and Director for the Office of Regulatory Affairs Cass Sunstein. Mosk wrote that "[c]olorful samples from Mr. Sunstein's large body of academic work -- including those suggesting his strong views on animal rights and organ donation -- became fodder for critical commentaries on conservative Op-Ed pages and then arose during right-leaning television and radio talk shows." Mosk further noted that “Fox News personality Glenn Beck dispatched a message on Twitter seeking more information about Mr. Sunstein.” [The Washington Times, 9/15/09]
Beck increasingly sets media's agenda with Fox News crusade against “czars,” ACORN
Beck increasingly sets media's agenda. Beck has made no secret of his desire to influence the stories other news outlets cover, at one point boasting that a story on his program about ACORN would divert the media's attention from health care reform. In recent months, Beck has successfully pushed into the mainstream stories about ACORN; the April 15 and September 12 tea parties; White House “czars” ; and the National Endowment for the Arts. At one point, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, pointing to the ACORN and Van Jones stories, declared that “Fox News and talk radio are now setting the [national] conversation.”
Following Beck's instruction, Fox aggressively promoted secretly recorded ACORN videos. On September 9, Beck -- who has, in recent weeks, repeatedly attacked ACORN -- said that while the media “says they're going to be talking about health care” the next day, he didn't “think so,” later suggesting that a video of Baltimore ACORN employees would instead be the top story. Apparently taking cues from Beck, through 7 p.m. the following day, Fox News devoted at least 17 segments on six programs to airing and discussing portions of the video. Later, Beck complained about other media outlets' lack of coverage of his “huge” “ACORN scandal.”
Beck, Fox on a witch hunt for Obama “czars.” Fox News personalities, following Beck, have led the charge against the Obama administration's advisers, including Jones, Sunstein, John Holdren, and other officials and nominees it has described as “czars” -- often by unearthing and criticizing statements the officials had made in the past rather than critiquing their job performance or credentials for those positions. Sean Hannity, for example, declared that “my job starting tomorrow night is to get rid of every other ['czar'].” On September 3, Beck urged “watchdogs” through his Twitter feed to “find everything you can on Cass Sunstein, Mark Lloyd, and Carol Browner. Do not link before burning to disc.”