8/28 | Media Matters for America


Tags ››› 8/28
  • Beck's "non-political" Black Robe Regiment has close ties to Newt Gingrich

    Blog ››› ››› BEN DIMIERO

    Evidence continues to mount that Glenn Beck's supposedly non-political Black Robe Regiment is, predictably, just a thinly-veiled attempt to boost conservative candidates in the upcoming midterm elections (and beyond).

    As we detailed last week, two Black Robe members indicated that part of the group's mission is to boost voter involvement. And Beck, though he claims he would leave any church that "preach[ed] who to vote for," formed the Black Robe Regiment with the help of James Dobson, who has a long history of using churches to attempt to influence elections.

    Now it appears that members of Beck's Black Robe Regiment -- including David Barton, whom Beck credits with helping form the idea for the group -- are closely tied to former Speaker of the House and putative 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and his "Renewing American Leadership" group.

    As described on their "Who We Are" page, the mission of Renewing American Leadership (ReAL) is to "preserve America's Judeo-Christian heritage by defending and promoting the three pillars of American civilization: freedom, faith, and free markets." They explain that they are "dedicated to educating, organizing, training, and mobilizing people of faith to renew American self-government and America's role in the world."

    In a U.S. News article from last year on the launch of ReAL, Gingrich spokesperson Rick Tyler - who doubles as "Founding Director" of ReAL - describes the group in explicitly political terms, saying that he wants to "prove" to Republican donors that "that mobilizing evangelical voters leads to the best economic policies."

    David Barton - described in the article as having "spearheaded the Republican National Committee's rigorous outreach to pastors in 2004" -- is quoted expressing his hope that the group can help cease the "circular firing squad" between social and economic conservatives.

  • Will Stephen Colbert hold a "Restoring Truthiness" Rally?

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Fans of Comedy Central's resident faux-servative Stephen Colbert have taken to the internets in a drive to organize a "Restoring Truthiness" rally on October 10, 2010 -- that's 101010:

    What: It's time to Restore Truthiness to America!

    When: TBA (Ask Stephen Colbert)

    Where: TBA

    Why: America, we are at a crossroad. Truthiness in this nation is at an all-time low since the inception of the concept was founded by the great American, Stephen Colbert. In its rich history over the past five years, Truthiness has become synonymous with American values such as freedom, honor, and Taco Bell. Recently our nation has suffered a truthiness drain. In fact, untruthiness is as common as measles vaccinations that cause cancer. We as a nation have stopped relying on our emotions and gut. We need to get back to what makes this nation great. Act on impulse not fact. Stop wasting time analyzing and just take what people say on face value. Why think when someone else can think for you. It's superficial. It's quick. It's American. Restore Truthiness now!

    How can you help? Spread the word. Tweet, Facebook Like, Join the Facebook Group, Share, Upvote, Do whatever you have to do. Make this be tomorrow's news!

    The effort, an obvious poke at Fox News' resident rally-vangelist Glenn Beck's 8-28 "Restoring Honor" fringe-fest, even has an official Twitter feed.

    Those not familiar with the tenants of "truthiness" should watch this video for a refresher:

    Early crowd estimates for the "Restoring Truthiness" rally, which hasn't even taken place yet, peg attendance at more than one billion people, a figure confirmed by Fox News and conservative blogs.

  • Flashback: "Humility" one of Beck's 12 values

    Blog ››› ››› KATE CONWAY

    In February of 2009, Glenn Beck introduced "Nine Principles" and "Twelve Values" he promised could "solve any problem." Number five on that list of capital-V Values was "Humility."

    And how has Beck embraced this value?

    With a self-promotional rally on the National Mall loosely disguised as a revival-style gathering on the topic of faith.

    Beck spent months building up the event, encouraging his followers to join him by posting an outrageous promotional video that compared 8-28 to the moon landing, Iwo Jima, the Montgomery bus boycott and the signing of the Declaration of Independence and likened Beck to Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, the Founding Fathers, and the Wright Brothers. Beck asserted that he was going to "reclaim the civil rights movement" and predicted that the rally would be "an American miracle" or a "defibrillator to the heart of America."

  • Glenn Beck's New Black Panther hypocrisy problem

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    Glenn Beck sidekick Stu Burguiere today accused Rev. Al Sharpton of "desecrating the dream" of Martin Luther King, pushing back on criticism that Beck has distorted King's message. Burguiere promoted video -- posted at Beck's new "The Blaze" website -- that he claims shows Sharpton devoting "a good portion" of his 2000 speech honoring King to "praising the New Black Panther Party" and its "shocking racism."

    But this attack is nothing more than a hypocritical smear, given the fact that Beck himself honored a minister at his 8-28 rally this weekend who has worked with and hosted a leader of the New Black Panther Party.

  • Deggans: "Beck's move toward eliminating hatred could start with his own radio and TV appearances"

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    St. Petersburg Times media critic Eric Deggans calls Glenn Beck a "master media manipulator" in a new piece looking at the Fox News host's weekend spectacle.

    Deggans notes that other media outlets were "pushed" to offer Beck significant airtime even though he works for a rival network -- a network that Deggans argues may have "under-covered" the event. He concludes that Beck's admonishment to his followers that "we must get the poison of hatred out of us" could easily be applied to Beck's own radio and television programs.

    Deggans writes:

    But by creating such a massively controversial event on a typically slow news day, Beck also pushed his competitors into a corner. If CNN wanted to serve its brand as an unbiased news source, it had to cover his rally significantly, despite the fact that it also gave significant, complimentary face time to one of its own biggest competitors.

    Indeed, as the rally was unfolding Saturday, C-SPAN (which aired the rally uninterrupted) and CNN covered the rally more than Fox News, which stuck with its originally scheduled programming rather than present continuous coverage. This meant Fox's competitors were spending a lot more time dissecting the massive crowd Beck brought to the Mall, presumably reaching viewers who might be interesting in checking out his show Monday to see more.

    It's a sad development when political considerations keep a news channel from covering an event that was talked about all week and was likely the biggest news event of the day. Often, media critics complain about politically-oriented news channels over-covering events to serve their purposes; in the case of Beck's rally, you could argue Fox News under-covered it for the same reasons -- avoiding criticism for supporting one of its stars by downplaying an event of massive interest to its audience.


    At a moment when ultra-conservative Tea Party activists need to look more mainstream to independent voters before a crucial midterm election, Beck just handed them the blueprint for keeping conservative supporters in the fold while downplaying their most divisive beliefs.

    Of course, Beck being Beck, he also contradicted himself. "We must get the poison of hatred out of us," he said at one point. "We must defend those who disagree with us." But in the past, Beck has called the President of the United States a Marxist, whose health care policy amounts to "reparations," insisting he is a racist who hates white people. He said on Fox News Sunday that "people aren't recognizing [President Obama's] version of Christianity." That sure felt like a veiled reference to persistent, mistaken beliefs that Obama is a Muslim, though Beck has criticized Obama's ties to controversial Chicago preacher Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

    Maybe Beck's move toward eliminating hatred could start with his own radio and TV appearances.