Glenn Beck Mocks Obama Daughter; Issues Apology
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UPDATE: Glenn Beck issued the following statement this afternoon on his Web site, apologizing for his mimickry of Malia Obama:
In discussing how President Obama uses children to shield himself from criticism, I broke my own rule about leaving kids out of political debates. The children of public figures should be left on the sidelines. It was a stupid mistake and I apologize--and as a dad I should have known better.
If you wondered how long it would take Glenn Beck to make his simulation of President Obama pouring gasoline on a person look comparatively tame, the answer is about 13 months.
Welcome to the meltdown. It isn't pretty.
Apparently feeling pressure from an investigation by Rep. Anthony Weiner into his promotion of Goldline and ongoing scrutiny from Media Matters and others, Beck uncorked an impressively paranoid conspiracy theory this week. According to Beck, the SEIU, AFL-CIO, Van Jones, Jim Wallis, the White House, Rep. Weiner and Media Matters are engaged in "Alinskyite" plots that seek to "destroy" him, his family, Fox News, Christianity, and the Founding Fathers.
Though all facets of this conspiracy theory are equally absurd, it's worth noting that Beck's call to "leave the families alone" rings especially hollow when viewed in light of the fact that earlier in the same radio show he suggested that Sasha and Malia Obama think "Jews are destroying the world" because they were exposed to Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Later in the week, he mocked 11-year-old Malia for several minutes on his radio show by impersonating her voice and saying things like "Daddy, why do you hate black people?" He proceeded to attack "the level" of Obama's daughters' "education." Despicable -- and entirely in character. While Beck subsequently apologized for his comments mocking Malia Obama, he has yet to address the balance of his attacks against the first family.
Earlier this week, while lauding his supposed Nostradamus-like ability to predict future atrocities, Beck suggested that his detractors merely rely on labeling him crazy, rather than factually debunking his paranoid ranting. Trying to "factually" debunk ideas like a widespread progressive effort to destroy Beck's family and the Founding Fathers is akin to trying to debunk the conspiracy theory that the world is actually controlled by shape-shifting lizard people: It is self-refuting ridiculousness.
Yet, Beck's factual inaccuracies pale in comparison to his recent use of violent rhetoric. Starting with his speeches at Liberty University and the National Rifle Association two weeks ago, Beck's fearmongering about impending violence from progressives has reached a fever pitch.
During a tear-soaked, unhinged commencement speech at Liberty, Beck told graduates that they "have a responsibility" to speak out, or "blood ... will be on our hands." His advice for graduates (as well as his daughter) included "shoot to kill." He also claimed that God installed an "alarm bell" in people that is telling them that "your rights are being taken." If you were wondering which rights these might be, he cleared up any confusion later that night during his speech at the NRA, when Beck agreed with Mao Zedong that "power comes from the barrel of a gun," and then asked the audience, "Why do you think they want to take yours away?"
Since then -- keep in mind we're just talking about the last two weeks here -- Beck:
- informed listeners that "what's coming is horrific. I don't even want to speak it out loud."
- continued his bizarre obsession with administration official Cass Sunstein, who Beck suggested has "frightening similarities" to Joseph Goebbels and who " controls everything" and "will control your every move."
- talked about how the "world is on edge" and told his viewers that "those who survive" will "stand in the truth" and "listen."
- discussed the ongoing controversy over Arizona's immigration law, telling his listeners that "we are being pushed" toward civil war and that Obama is "trying to destroy the country."
- told his listeners that "you have to be prepared to take rocks to the head. You have to be prepared to lose everything."
- responded to criticism from Media Matters and said, "You will have to shoot me in the head. We are not stopping."
- and attacked Jewish Funds for Justice's Simon Greer for putting "the common good" first, which Beck claimed "leads to death camps," adding, "a Jew, of all people, should know this."
While he previously relied on vague hints about what progressives were going to do to people by running " documentaries" supposedly linking Hilter, Stalin, and Mao to progressivism, Beck has now discarded the relative subtlety. On Thursday, Beck continued his recent fearmongering about the "soft revolution" that is supposedly taking place in America (purportedly designed to silence voices like Beck's), and claimed that if the administration "can't get everyone to silence, that's when the arrests come, or that's when they start a hard revolution. That's when they start just shooting people."
Taken as a whole, Beck's recent actions are outrageous and potentially dangerous. Beck claims that he is a Vatican-approved, "wildly important" warrior fighting on behalf of good against forces of "great darkness." He also spends a lot of his time boasting about his purported ability to predict -- with unerring accuracy -- everything that is happening right now. He then transitions into predicting the coming death camps, imprisonments, shootings, and " rivers of blood" as a result of progressive policies.
What, exactly, is Beck trying to do here? Is this the kind of guy the GOP wants to elevate as the heir-apparent to Rush Limbaugh as the leader of the party?
Here's the audio of Beck's comments about Malia Obama; transcript appears below the player: