Glenn Beck's Incendiary Rhetoric Is Dangerously Close to Having a Body Count
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On his Monday radio show, Glenn Beck highlighted claims that before he started targeting a little-known, left-leaning organization called the Tides Foundation on his Fox News TV show, "nobody knew" what the non-profit was.
Indeed, for more than a year Beck has been portraying the progressive organization as a central player in a larger, nefarious cabal of Marxist/socialist/Nazi Obama-loving outlets determined to destroy democracy in America. Beck has routinely smeared the low-profile entity for being staffed by "thugs" and "bullies" and involved in "the nasty of the nastiest," like indoctrinating schoolchildren and creating a "mass organization to seize power."
As Media Matters reported, the conspiratorial host had mentioned (read: attacked) the little-known progressive organization nearly 30 times on his Fox program alone since it premiered in 2009, including several mentions in the last month. (Beck's the only TV talker who regularly references the foundation, according to our Nexis searches.)
So yes, Beck has done all he can to scare the hell out of people about the Tides Foundation and "turn the light of day" onto an organization that actually facilitates non-profit giving.
And guess what? Everybody in America would have found out about the Tides Foundation last week if Byron Williams had had his way. He's the right-wing, government-hating, gun-toting nut who strapped on his body armor, stocked a pickup truck with guns and ammo, and set off up the California coast to San Francisco in order to start killing employees at the previously obscure Tides Foundation in hopes of sparking a political revolution.
Thankfully, the planned domestic terrorist attack never came to pass because California Highway Patrol officers pulled Williams over for drunk driving on his way to his killing spree. Williams quickly opened fire, wounding two officers during a lengthy shootout. Luckily, Williams wasn't able to act out the ultimate goal of his dark anger -- fueled by the TV news he watched -- about how "Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items," as his mother put it. Williams wasn't able to open fire inside the offices of the Tides Foundation, an organization "nobody knew" about until Glenn Beck started targeting it.
And thankfully, Williams wasn't able to take his place alongside a growing list of domestic, anti-government terrorists, such as the recent Pentagon shooter, the Holocaust Museum gunman, the kamikaze pilot who flew his plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas, and the Pittsburgh cop-killer who set up an ambush because he was convinced Obama was going to take away his guns.
All the vigilante attacks appear to have been fueled by an almost pathological hatred for the U.S. government -- the same open hatred that right-wing bloggers, AM talk radio hosts, and Fox News' lineup of anti-government prophets have been frantically fueling for the last year, pushing doomsday warnings of America's democratic demise under President Obama.
And the sad the sad truth is we're going to see more like Byron Williams. We're going to see more attempts at vigilante violence during the Age of Obama simply because the right-wing media, lead by Beck, continue to gleefully (albeit irresponsibly) stoke dangerous fires with the kind of relentlessly incendiary rhetoric that has no match in terms of modern day, mainstream use in American politics or media.
Just listen to Glenn Beck:
* Progressives "are sucking the blood out of the republic" and are "gonna start getting more and more violent."
* "To the day I die, I am going to be a progressive hunter."
* "[Y]ou will have to shoot me in the forehead before you take away my gun" and "before I acquiesce and be silent."