Following the White House's recent criticism of Fox News for its conservative slant, Glenn Beck and other conservative media have fearmongered that the Obama administration will harm Fox News and its supporters -- physically or otherwise -- because of their opposition to its policies. Since September alone, Beck has asked listeners to “pray for protection,” compared Fox News to Jews during the Holocaust, and suggested the White House was pointing missiles at Fox News, and Newt Gingrich asked on Hannity if the administration would subject Fox News commentators to the Chinese “Cultural Revolution” because of their objections.
Beck, conservative media suggest Fox News and opponents are in danger from White House
Beck compares Fox News to Jews during the Holocaust, other news organizations to silent bystanders. On his October 13 radio show, Beck said: “When they're done with Fox, and you decide to speak out on something. The old, 'first they came for the Jews, and I wasn't Jewish.' When you have a question, and you believe that something should be asked, they're a -- totally fine with you right now; they have no problem with you. When they're done with Fox and talk radio, do you really think they're going to leave you alone if you want to ask a tough question? Do you really think that a man who has never had to stand against tough questions and has as much power as he does -- do you really believe after he takes out the number one news network, do you really think that this man is then not going to turn on you? That you and your little organization is going to cause him any hesitation at all not to take you out?” [Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program, 10/13/09]
Beck airs anonymous “concerned parent” with distorted face, voice to attack Obama adviser's reference to Mao. After White House communications director Anita Dunn said during a speech at a Maryland high school that Mao Zedong was one of her “favorite political philosophers,” Beck hosted a “concerned parent” to speak about the comment, but distorted his voice and shaded his face. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 10/19/09]
Gingrich -- who previously quoted Mao -- wonders if Dunn wants to subject Fox commentators to a “Cultural Revolution.” On the October 19 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity asked Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich: “What do you make about the White House's orchestrated, continued attacks on the Fox News Channel, led by Anita Dunn, who has great admiration for, quote, 'one of her philosophers' -- you know, one of the biggest mass-murderers in the history of mankind, Mao? And more importantly, do you view this as an enemies list?” Gingrich replied that he “ha[s] this interesting idea of asking Anita Dunn if this is her idea of a Cultural Revolution, and if she really wishes that she could get Sean Hannity and the other Fox commentators to go to a farm and work the way Mao got sent the intellectuals out,” adding that he believes in a “free society.” [Hannity, 10/19/09]
Rove: "[T]hey're going to come hard at you, and they're going to cut your legs off." On the October 18 edition of Fox News Sunday, Fox News contributor Karl Rove said: "[T]his is an administration that's getting very arrogant and slippery in its dealings with people. And if you dare to oppose them, they're going to come hard at you, and they're going to cut your legs off. ... Fox is asking tough questions. Fox has got on the opinion side of it some very tough critics of the administration. They're conflating the news side and the opinion side in order to -- in order to attack a media outlet. Again, it's undignified for the president of the United States to be doing." Later, Rove said that “it is demeaning the office of the president by taking the president and moving him from a person who ought to be talking to everybody and communicating through every available channel to saying, 'If you oppose me, if you question me, if you're too tough on me, by gosh, me and my people are not going to -- are not going to come on. We're going to penalize you.' And that just is wrong, fundamentally wrong.”
Fox News hosts suggest they're on an “enemies list.” Fox News personalities joined other conservative media figures in fearmongering that the White House has an “enemies list” and that Fox News is -- in Beck's words -- “another enemy” that “warmongers” in the Obama administration would fight with “missiles pointed right at Fox.” Hannity claimed the White House is “promising retribution.” Media figures previously baselessly suggested that people who reportedly claimed to have received unsolicited email from Obama adviser David Axelrod may have been added to a White House “enemies list” after emails they sent that were critical of the Obama administration were purportedly forwarded to email@example.com.
Beck, other conservatives routinely suggest that the White House will retaliate against opposition with violence
Beck: “Just pray for protection, please.” On his radio show, Beck told his listeners he is “fighting for you and ... your children” and asked them to “pray” for “safety” and “protection” :
BECK: You know, I said a year ago -- I said you needed to find your voice. And I said I think you'll -- we're coming to a time when voices like mine will disappear. It would be easy to say, “Yeah. Yeah. Look at -- Van Jones is out.” Which I think is a mistake, because I think it makes him more dangerous, and I'll explain why here in a second.
But the other thing is -- is I find myself in amazing position. John Podesta just issued a statement about Van Jones and me. There is Soros money now being funneled to stop me. The biggest names, the most powerful people on the planet on the left -- I've told you before, they're not going to go away easy. There were billions of dollars, if not trillions of dollars, at stake. There is -- this is the, you know, if anybody wants to think this as a game about, you know, get him fired and get him fired and slow the White House down because it's a Republican thing, you're sadly mistaken.
This game is for keeps. This is who controls the United States of America and its destiny. Is it you? Or is it a group of elites? I'm fighting for you and me, my children, your children. I would ask you for one thing. Please, keep me in your prayers, keep my staff in your prayers, for safety, for wisdom, please. I'm asking you. Because I -- I just will tell you, as I have before, we have the truth on our side; we also have God on our side. If you believe the founders were divinely inspired, well, with firm reliance on divine providence we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Just pray for protection, please. [The Glenn Beck Program, 9/08/09]
Beck on Imus: “If I'm found dead in the streets, it's either Van Jones or Don Imus.” During an appearance on Fox Business' Imus In the Morning, Beck -- making an apparent reference to his witch hunt against White House advisers including Van Jones -- said, “If I'm found dead in the streets, it's either Van Jones or Don Imus.” [Imus In the Morning, 10/5/09]
Beck invokes civil rights marchers having fire hoses turned on them to spur opposition to health reform. During his Fox News show, Beck said, “America, let me tell you something. If you don't stop this, they will -- as Bill Maher has suggested -- drag you to it. It's exactly what they're trying to do.” Then, showing images of civil rights protesters being blasted with water from fire hoses, he said: “Nobody wants the health care plan, and yet, they're still doing it. We must try. We must now peacefully stand up and stand together -- and I do mean peacefully. I mean, just like these guys did. Can you show -- can you show them? These guys, they were standing up peacefully. Otherwise, they will drag us into their brainiac policies through an emergency. If you don't stand up, they will -- using their Cloward and Piven strategy from the 1960s -- collapse this country and our financial system, and then reboot with their new America.” [Glenn Beck, 10/14/09]
Beck: “I fear a Reichstag moment, a -- God forbid -- another 9-11, something that will turn this machine on.” During an interview with Newsmax.com in which he discussed opposition to Obama's Federal Communication Commission policies, Beck said: “I fear an event. I fear a Reichstag moment, a -- God forbid -- another 9-11, something that will turn this machine on, and power will be seized and voices will be silenced. God help us all.'' [Newsmax.com, 10/7/09]
Beck: They're “out to get” me, “destroy me,” “Sarah Palin me,” to “intimidate you.” On his radio show, Beck said: “It's only a matter of time before they find a way to destroy me. And that's fine. And they're going to try to use me to intimidate you. Because anybody else gets out of line, that'll happen to you, too. Don't think that what happened to Sarah Palin didn't go through my mind when I saw my character on Saturday Night Live, and we all laughed, and my wife said, 'My gosh, they have you down. I mean, that is really -- I mean, even your mannerisms and your moves.' Don't think that I didn't feel like, 'Oh, my gosh, they're going to Sarah Palin me.' That's what they want you to understand. You get out of line, we'll destroy you.” Later, Beck said that he's “tired” of “the thought of someone always constantly out to get you,” and then said he “can't go out in public with [his] family anymore.” [The Glenn Beck Program, 10/1/09]
Savage: Obama administration is “a cornered animal,” and “something horrible could happen.” On his nationally syndicated radio show, Michael Savage said: “I don't know where this ends up. I'll tell you what worries me, is that -- is that you think that [Obama's] finished. That's your mistake. A cornered animal is very, very dangerous. This team -- team Obama -- is very cornered right now, and they're very dangerous -- very dangerous. Cornered animal -- dangerous. They're cornered right now. They've been outsmarted by North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia. They have now been outsmarted by even the Olympic committee. I mean, even they know that the American people are on to them. So now they're in a corner. And don't think that they're quitters and don't think they're going to give up. Something -- something horrible could happen. You understand this? That's what the whole story is.”
Zachary Pleat is an intern at Media Matters for America.