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During his two and a half years on the network, Fox News figures were constantly forced to distance themselves from Glenn Beck. Here are the top five examples.
5. NYT: Fox Executives Questioned Beck's Gold Promotion. In December 2009, The New York Times reported:
Joel Cheatwood, the senior vice president of development for Fox News, said the network's legal department had recently sent a letter to Mr. Beck's representatives "seeking clarification" about his work for Goldline.
"They sent back word that he is not a paid spokesman," Mr. Cheatwood said, adding that it would be "problematic without question" if Mr. Beck did have a position as a paid spokesman for a product.
Fox News released a statement outlining its official policy about such issues: "Fox News prohibits any on-air talent from endorsing products or serving as a product spokesperson."
Fox News stressed that it was not aware that Mr. Beck was listed on the Internet as a paid spokesman. But he definitely was, until very recently. On cached editions of the Goldline Web site over the last week to 10 days, a photograph of Mr. Beck was accompanied by an asterisk which led to a line at the bottom of the site that read: "paid spokesman."
Matthew Hiltzik, a spokesman for Mr. Beck, said the host should never have been listed as a "paid spokesman" because he did not receive separate fees beyond the sponsorship for that or any other work he did for the company.
Before he moved onto Fox News, however, Mr. Beck appeared in a video on the Goldline Web site extolling the virtues of gold. And Mr. Beck routinely reads Goldline ads on the radio, a practice Fox said was acceptable under its guidelines. [The New York Times, 12/13/09]
4. Beck's Fox Colleague Van Susteren: Beck "Should Move His Event." In August 2010, Fox's Greta Van Susteren criticized Beck's plans to host a rally in Washington, D.C. on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Van Susteren wrote on her Fox News blog:
On August 28th my colleague Glenn Beck is going to lead an event on the mall in Washington, DC. It is the anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. The event is causing much controversy ...some support and some don't support and some are even furious and upset. Yes he has a First Amendment right to do it...but what about the wisdom of it? Remember...the Muslims in NYC have a First Amendment right to build a mosque but most Americans don't want it...and you have to ask the wisdom of the Muslims to push the issue. Just because you have the right to do something does not mean you should. My view? No mosque at ground zero and Glenn should move his event.
It does not help heal the country on so many fronts if we poke a stick in eyes. [FoxNews.com, GretaWire, 8/17/10, via Media Matters]
3. Kristol: Beck Is "Marginalizing Himself" Through His "Hysteria." Fox News contributor Bill Kristol was publicly critical of Beck's reaction to protests in Egypt:
Now, people are more than entitled to their own opinions of how best to accomplish that democratic end. And it's a sign of health that a political and intellectual movement does not respond to a complicated set of developments with one voice.
But hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He's marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s. [The Weekly Standard, 2/14/11]
In his two and a half years on Fox News, Glenn Beck found time to dream up a seemingly endless number of incomprehensibly intricate, impossibly vague, and comically implausible conspiracy theories to explain what was happening in the world and how everything was connected and nothing happened by accident.
Media Matters offers a run down of the craziest, most convoluted conspiracies of Glenn Beck.
5. Land-Backed U.S. Currency. Beck doesn't like debt. He wrote an entire, crazy book about how debt will destroy the country. And in late 2009 he was very concerned that our debt would cause the U.S. dollar to collapse in the next few years, necessitating the formulation of a new currency. And if that weren't crazy enough, here's Beck's theory for how that new currency will come about: lacking a sufficient supply of gold to back the new currency, the government will instead base it on land, and will use Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to forcibly seize land from U.S. citizens.
But wait! It gets better. In order to control the unruly Americans who would resist having their land taken away, the government would ask China to come in and keep order in exchange for "a piece of our oil, coal, mineral reserves, land."
Beck said the groundwork was already being laid for the Freddie Mac land grab currency flim-flam (it has something to do with climate change), and warned: "Look, America, I hoping that I'm wrong about this, but I can't figure out anything else."
4. The Progressive Time Bomb. At the end of 2009, Beck announced that he had created a "plan" to cure the nation's ills, which he claimed were the product of "a ticking time bomb that they designed about 100 years ago at the beginning of the Progressive movement." According to Beck, the progressive time-bombers of yesteryear had laid out a series of steps that "over time" would produce a "socialist utopia" in the United States.
Eventually, Beck IDed the bomb makers: Woodrow Wilson ("One evil S.O.B. bad dude," according to Beck) and Theodore Roosevelt. According to Beck, their secret plan to destroy all that is America eventually led to millions of deaths worldwide at the hands of communist dictators who, unbeknownst to everyone, were secretly following the Wilsonian playbook.
Beck's talk of time bombs and 100-year campaigns to destroy America were part of his broader assault on progressivism, which he famously described as "the cancer in America" that is "eating our Constitution." Not surprisingly, the historical evidence Beck cited to support his claims of perfidy against the Progressive movement often failed to pass muster.
Glenn Beck was quite fond of adding theatrics to his Fox News show to illustrate his outlandish rhetoric. Below are the top five examples of Beck using his Fox News show to play dress-up.
5. Beck Shows His Fox Audience His "Joy Behar" Costume. On November 1, 2010, Beck informed his audience that Fox host Bill O'Reilly bet him $5,000 he wouldn't go on stage at a Halloween event dressed as Joy Behar for Halloween, and so he went to costume shop and asked for a costume for a "snobby, elitist, über-liberal progressive." Beck then showed a video of himself from that event and announced that O'Reilly owed him the money. From the November 1, 2010, edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
In more than two years on Fox News, Glenn Beck inundated his viewers with violent, inflammatory rhetoric. Media Matters presents a selection of his worst offenses.
Glenn Beck leaves behind a dubious ethical legacy: On his Fox show, he would promote companies with which he had a financial relationship, but without disclosing that relationship to his viewers. He also used the program as a forum to nudge viewers toward buying products like gold and a library's worth of books.
Glenn Beck has said he is leaving Fox News in part to "target the youth" and pitch his distinctive brand of right-wing misinformation to a younger demographic. But Beck's long history of misleading his viewers demonstrates why no one should trust him to educate his or her children.
During his time at Fox News, Glenn Beck regularly turned to disreputable sources to back-up his wild and unfounded conspiracy theories. Here are five of Beck's least credible sources.
5. Glenn Beck Cannot Spell. On the August 27, 2009, edition of his show, Glenn Beck took to the chalkboard to review topics supposedly related to President Obama. He was attempting to create an abbreviation that spelled a word. What did he wind up with?
On his show the next day, Beck explained that his misspelling proved that "you can't spell 'oligarch' without the czars."
Beck gave an encore performance on July 8, 2010, when he said his next show would be about the "history of heroes and villains in the textbooks." The chalkboard behind him asked, "Heros or Villians?":
In the past two years, Glenn Beck has repeatedly invoked slavery to attack President Obama, progressives, and progressive policies, among other things. Here is a sampling.
Throughout his career on Fox News, Glenn Beck shamelessly used the platform to promote a variety of his own ventures outside Fox News. Both on his own show and in guest appearances on other shows, Beck promoted his books, tours, subscriber-only Web content, and the Restoring Honor and Restoring Courage rallies.
5. Beck Gets Emotional About George Washington. From the May 7, 2010, edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
In light of Glenn Beck's transition from Fox News, Media Matters for America recalls the 50 worst things Beck has said on Fox.
Glenn Beck has often compared himself to famous historical figures. Below are our top five examples.
5. Ben Franklin.
While discussing illegal immigration on the October 9, 2009, edition of his show, Beck said:
Isn't it odd that here we are, transforming the Constitution that they argued about in 1787, and we're having the same damn argument? It's -- now we have new slaves, illegal immigrants, being used the same by the same people, although conditions are not as bad as they were, but it's the same damn argument.
I know, I know. I'm going to be called a hatemonger for this, you know, conversation that we have, whatever. That's fine.
They also call people like Benjamin Franklin a hatemonger. Oh, and they said that he was crazy. I wonder if they've said that about me yet.
Yes, Benjamin Franklin was crazy. He was the first real abolitionist. Boy, that man stood up every single time, and in our modern day slavery, I will be happy to be called crazy, right along with Benjamin Franklin.
I'll stand right next to him and say, "They should not be counted! I know the game you're playing. They should not be counted. Illegal immigration is modern day slavery. It is for the special interests of politicians, of giant corporations and the unions. Raise the price of my salad, I'd rather have that and sleep at nice."
Glenn Beck frequently pitted his Fox News audience against his foes, telling his viewers that progressives and the media "think you're stupid." Beck also praised his viewers' intelligence while attempting to sell them on his theories, claiming that his audience "will change the course of a nation."