Misusing "their own words": Beck attacks Soros with distorted quotes


Glenn Beck distorted comments by philanthropist George Soros in order to attack him as a "radical." Before misrepresenting Soros' actual words, Beck claimed he was going "use their own words" to "decide who the real radical is."

Beck distorts his intentions: "We'll use their own words" to "decide who the real radical is"

Beck: "We'll use their own words." On the October 20 edition of Glenn Beck, Beck complained, "They have to paint me as a radical, a danger -- anything. Anything. Smear, discredit, take him out." He then announced: "We'll use their own words and decide who the real radical is. Tonight, George Soros. Who's the real radical? For instance, what does Mr. Spooky himself think about our system as it stands now in America?"

Beck proceeds to distort Soros' words to misrepresent what Soros "think[s] about our system"

Beck: Soros said "our system as it as it stands right now in America" is "broke and needs to be reconstituted." Beck claimed that Soros was referring to "our system as it stands now in America" when Soros said "I believe that basically, the system is broke and needs to be reconstituted." Afterward, Beck said, "Every economy goes through peaks and valleys. Every economy, left alone and restoring virtues and values and honesty and integrity, and the free market system adjusts and rights itself. But that's not what George Soros is talking about. In fact, he just said -- what was the name of that editorial he did? America doesn't need virtues, it needs stimulus? So there's a difference here."

Fact: Soros said the international currency system -- not "our system as it stands now in America" -- is "broke and needs to be reconstituted." As Media Matters has pointed out, Soros' comments, which Beck has previously distorted, come from a 2009 interview with the Financial Times. In those comments, Soros did not say that "our system as it stands now in America" is "broke." Soros was specifically discussing the current system of international currency exchange, which he said was "broke and needs to be reconstituted." Soros was specifically asked, "Does there need to be some sort of new global currency deal?" Soros went on to discuss building on an existing system known as special drawing rights, an international reserve asset administered by the International Monetary Fund and weighted to the relative value of the currencies of four major economies, and which can be exchanged for hard currency on the international currency exchange market.

Beck: Soros advocated "scrapping the free market in favor of failed socialist or Marxist policies." On the October 20 edition of his Fox News show, Beck claimed that Soros "has summed it up like this." He went on to quote Soros:

The trouble is that the winners do not compensate the losers either within states or between states. The welfare state as we know it has become unsustainable, and international income redistribution is practically nonexistent. Total international assistance amounted to $56.5 billion from the U.S. and 74.4 billion worldwide in 2002. Now, I just want you to know, this amount represents only 0.18 percent of global GDP as a result. The gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow.

Beck said that this was "the argument, though, for scrapping the free market in favor of failed socialist or Marxist policies."

Fact: Soros actually wrote that "private enterprise is better at wealth creation than the state." The quote Beck cited appeared in an edited extract of Soros' book The Bubble of American Supremacy that the Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian newspaper, published in February 2004. But in that extract, Soros did not advocate for "scrapping the free market in favor of socialist or Marxist policies." In fact, he actually wrote that "private enterprise is better at wealth creation than the state." He also wrote, "Free competition on a global scale has liberated inventive and entrepreneurial talents and accelerated technological innovations." Soros went on to criticize "market fundamentalists" who he said "ignore the shortcomings" of "global financial markets." Soros discussed the need for "public goods" that "can only be provided by a political process."

He went on to write that the "welfare state cannot be preserved in the form in which it was established after World War II" and that "[c]ountries that have overhauled their social security and employment systems -- the US and UK foremost among them -- have flourished economically, while others that have sought to preserve their systems -- e.g., France and Germany -- have lagged behind."

Beck: Soros advocated that the U.S. "submit to Chinese supremacy" in a "new world order." Beck then aired a portion of the Financial Times interview in which Soros said, "We really need to bring China into the creation of a new world order -- financial world order. ... I think the makings of it are already there, because the G20, in agreeing to peer reviews, effectively is moving in that direction." Beck characterized those comments as Soros saying, "We just need a little push to finish and reconstitute our entire system. Let go of that pesky sovereignty thing. Give me your sovereignty, accept global currency and governance, and submit to Chinese supremacy." Continuing his attack, Beck told Soros, "Tell America to their faces that America is over. That we've -- that we've now -- everything that we've earned needs to be redistributed to poor countries so we can level the playing field for everyone. Make the case."

Fact: Soros said China "has to be part of the process" of reforming the international currency system, which he said would be "in our [American] interests." In the Financial Times interview, Soros did not call for the U.S. to "submit to Chinese supremacy." He discussed what he said was "the need for a new world order that China has to be a part of the process of creating it and they have to buy in." Soros explicitly rejected the notion that bringing China into a new international currency exchange system would lead to a "weakening of the US economy." Soros said that the current exchange system was "not necessarily in our interests" because it leads to a "chronic current account deficit" and that, therefore, "it's in our interests as well to reform the system."

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Glenn Beck
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