Good Morning America welcomed "talk-radio host" Glenn Beck to discuss Islam, didn't mention Beck's history of smears
Diane Sawyer hosted Glenn Beck on Good Morning America for a discussion of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Turkey and the pope's recent comments on Islam. Sawyer identified Beck only as a "television and talk-radio host ... who has said it's time for the world to stop buckling to the pressure of radical Islam." She did not note that Beck is a self-identified conservative who has a history of making derogatory statements about Islam and Muslims.
On the November 28 edition of ABC's Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer interviewed conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck to discuss whether Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Turkey, in the wake of controversial comments the pope made about Islam on September 12, will "heal" tensions or "make matters worse." Sawyer identified Beck simply as a "television and talk-radio host ... who has said it's time for the world to stop buckling to the pressure of radical Islam," without noting that Beck is a self-identified conservative who has a history of making derogatory statements about Islam and Muslims. During the 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."
During his ABC appearance, Beck also criticized Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for having an "apocalyptic view." But Sawyer failed to mention that Beck himself appears to have an "apocalyptic view" of the threat of radical Islam. As Media Matters for America has noted, Beck has previously identified conflicts in the Middle East and India as evidence that "it is the end of days" and later described the conflicts as "World War III and the impending apocalypse." Beck also stated that "whether you like it or not, this is a religious war." As Media Matters also noted, Beck and former CIA officer Robert Baer had a similar discussion on the July 13 edition of Beck's TV show on CNN Headline News, during which Baer said: "We can see this spreading into other countries. We are much closer to Armageddon." As Media Matters further noted, on the July 24 edition of the program, while discussing Iran, Beck said: "I truly believe these mullahs are far worse than Hitler. ... I believe these guys are biblically evil." He concluded: "We have a series starting tomorrow on the coming of the messiah."
From the November 28 edition of ABC's Good Morning America:
SAWYER: Well, as we mentioned, Pope Benedict XVI has touched down in Turkey, the pope's first visit ever to a Muslim country. It has now been two months since he quoted a 14th century scholar who characterized any lure of violence in Islam as evil and inhuman. It set off a firestorm. Will this trip heal, or will it make matters worse? Well, joining me to talk about all this is television and talk-radio host Glenn Beck, who has said that it's time for the rest of the world to stop buckling to the pressure of radical Islam. And also joining us is Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is an Islamic leader in the U.S. working to promote understanding between Muslim and other communities. Just returned from Turkey on Sunday.
SAWYER: All right, let me talk to Glenn Beck, because the Imam Rauf has said this is a group of people. This is not him. This is not all of Islam. This is just a group of people.
BECK: Sure. Sure. It's a -- I believe it's a small portion of Islam that is acting in these ways, but I believe that it is important for all of us to look evil in the eye and crush it. We need to call it by its name, and radicalized Islam is evil. They are -- they're hijacking a beautiful religion and they need to be stopped.
SAWYER: And you don't think there's enough of a reaction from other Islam?
BECK: I think the entire world is in denial. 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, including the good Muslims and that is the vast majority of Islam.
SAWYER: So, let me ask about this. I mean, it's one thing to say that, you know, that we should have all -- everybody should settle down and have a conversation and isolate the intensely overwrought --
BECK: Sure. No, I didn't say isolate. Destroy.
SAWYER: OK, destroy. But, but, if the argument back is, it's perceived by them, the U.S. is occupying an Islamic country and that there is this history of feeling encroached upon, what do you do about that politically?
BECK: I think we need to look at the people that we're really dealing with here. And if you look to the people in Iran, for instance, President Ahmadinejad, he has an apocalyptic view. To say it is all about politics is, I believe, misguided. There is a lot of politics throughout the world that is involved in this, but there is also the apocalyptic view of bringing back the 12th imam and washing and cleansing the earth in blood. These are very, very dangerous people.
SAWYER: You've said you actually think this is bringing us to the brink of World War III. That's exactly where we stand this morning.
BECK: I believe it's Germany, 1938. And the world is in denial because people do not want to think insane thoughts. Well, our adversaries are thinking insane thoughts, and if we don't act now, we are going to repeat the exact mistakes that we made in 1938.
SAWYER: But act all of us collectively to --
BECK: To crush the enemy that is --
SAWYER: But crush how? Crush how?
BECK: I think you need to go in. And if -- for instance, [Moqtada] al-Sadr. Why that man is still walking among us is beyond me. It was through our political correctness of trying to be peacemakers -- and I understand that, and that's great -- but if the man was hiding out in a mosque, you've got to kill him in a mosque. And I know that's politically incorrect, but you've got to target the enemy and call him by name.