Former Obama administration official Cass Sunstein writes that he received death threats and hate mail at his unlisted home address after Fox News launched a smear campaign against him. After Sunstein's nomination and confirmation in 2009, then-Fox host Glenn Beck attacked him and his work for years, invoking mass murderers, totalitarianism and conspiracy theories in conjunction with his name.
Sunstein served as Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the first Obama administration from September 2009 to August 2012.
As Mother Jones notes, Sunstein writes in his upcoming book, Simpler: The Future of Government, that Beck “developed what appeared to be a kind of an obsession with me.” Sunstein compares Beck's attacks to the “Two Minutes Hate” from the classic novel 1984, where citizens were forced to watch films depicting enemies of the totalitarian party.
Sunstein also notes that he “began to receive a lot of hate mail, including death threats, at my unlisted home address. One of them stated, 'If I were you I would resign immediately. A well-paid individual, who is armed, knows where you live.'”
Another frequent target of Beck's, CUNY professor Frances Fox Piven, also received death threats after he accused her of creating a plan to “intentionally collapse our economic system.” Byron Williams, who planned an attack on the non-profit Tides Foundation, citedGlenn Beck's repeated attacks against the organization as one of the motivations behind his crime.
Personal Attacks On Sunstein
Beck asked “why would you get a gun?” then pointed to pictures of Sunstein and President Obama.
Beck said there were “frightening similarities” between Sunstein and Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister.
Beck accused Sunstein of “taking a page” from the playbook of Woodrow Wilson, who he described as an “evil” “S.O.B.”
Conspiracy Theories About Sunstein
Beck falsely claimed that Sunstein was trying to “control what you see on the Internet.”
Beck told his audience that Sunstein could somehow use the military against American citizens.
Beck created a conspiracy theory in which Sunstein was attempting to make hunting “impossible” by using government regulation.
Beck insisted that Sunstein had “more power” than the Federal Reserve, and compared him to the producer who created an imaginary world in the movie The Truman Show.
Beck claimed that the passage of financial reform gave Sunstein - “the man who controls everything” - the power to “control your every move”
Beck also distorted Sunstein's writing from before he joined the Obama administration, falsely claiming that he said “you must be an organ donor” and “you should not be able to remove rats from your home if it causes them any pain.”
Sunstein Attacks Not Limited To Just Beck
Fox's Sean Hannity claimed that Sunstein wanted to “force sterilizations,” which was untrue.
Rush Limbaugh said Sunstein “want[s] to control the Internet,” but omitted Sunstein's description of that policy as a “bad idea.” Limbaugh also claimed that Sunstein supported “forced neutrality” to make sure you read “garbage.”
Appearing on Beck's show, Fox's Andrew Napolitano said that Sunstein's “potential damage is limitless.”
Fox Business host David Asman accused Sunstein of advocating for the “creation of a Ministry of Truth” and said his ideas “add up to fascism.”
Clear Channel radio host Jim Quinn described Sunstein as a “Nazi.”