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Glenn Beck's Year of Wild Conspiracies, Paranoid Delusions and Cynical Lies

Beck's unbridled ignorance and confidence in his own manipulative half-truths and lies make him the most dangerously effective misinformer of 2009.

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Beck rejoices after America loses bid to host 2016 Olympics

On September 28, White House officials announced that President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama would travel to Copenhagen in order to help the Chicago Olympic Committee present its bid to host the 2016 Olympics. One day later, Beck took to the airwaves, leading the charge in attacking Chicago as a city unfit to host the Olympics. In addition to asking "[w]hose agenda" Obama was "really pushing," Beck complained that the Second City was too violent for the Olympics and said that Chicago was less favorably suited to hold the Olympics than Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, and Tokyo because of the city's history of organized crime:

BECK: Rio de Janeiro is one of the three other cities competing against Chicago for the 2016 games. Madrid and Tokyo are the other two. It's a tough choice, what should we do? What should we do?

Well, in the America that I grew up in, we would use logic. The way the IOC normally does it is do select the city which presents the superior plan. OK, that makes sense. All right, does the best job in organizing. Oh, Chicago is good at community organizing, and organized labor, and organized mafia. Oops. Did I say that out loud?

When the IOC subsequently awarded the games to Rio de Janeiro, Beck giddily begged his followers, "Please let me break this news to you. Oh, it's so sweet." As his sidekick Stu began to make the news, Beck implored his followers to "savor" the moment, claiming, "We can always hope" that Obama is the first head of state to fail to secure an Olympics bid. Beck subsequently claimed to have "no problem" with Chicago hosting the Olympics.

Beck's slavery fetish

During a February appearance on Fox & Friends, Beck said of the economic stimulus plan, "It is slavery." Beck's enslavement to that metaphor nearly rivaled his obsession with Marxists, Leninists, and 1930s Germany for his most ridiculous rhetorical flourish.

According to Beck, slavery was coming at the hands of government, ACORN, SEIU, student loans, the census, Dale and Wade Rathke, politicians, progressives, federal assistance, and debt. And, as one would expect, only the 9-12 protesters could defend freedom from the onslaught of slavery.

Beck leads the charge in misinforming on the news of the day

The Sotomayor nomination

In a May 1 statement on the retirement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter, Obama stated that he considered the "quality of empathy" one of the qualifications he would seek in a nominee. The morning of May 26, Obama announced Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee, and Beck immediately combined the right's willful ignorance of the long list of conservatives citing empathy as a desired quality in a judge with his own brand of racial invective:

BECK: They're just like, "Hey, Hispanic chick lady! You're empathetic?" She says yep. They say, "You're in!" That's the way it really works.

During the confirmation process, Beck would argue that Hitler's empathy led to genocide and allege that Sotomayor is "a Marxist" and evidence of a "hostile takeover" of the country.

Health care reform falsehoods

In a February 9 Bloomberg commentary, long-time health care misinformer and former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey launched the falsehood that a provision in the economic recovery act would allow the federal government to take over health care and "dictate treatments." The following day, McCaughey appeared on Beck's Fox News show to repeat her false claim, and by Feburary 11, Beck had fully adopted the falsehood as his own:

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